I’ve been a bit spotty in blogland recently. Here’s the reason why. I have been consumed!! On occasion, I might have been known to go a bit overboard when I read or watch something that ‘gut punches’ me or touches my heart on the deepest level. Well, you are about to see it happen again.
A while ago an author sent me an email asking if I would read and review her book. In the past I’ve always said no (very politely I hope) because I can’t guarantee when or if I’ll get around to reading the book and if the author has sent it, something in me feels obligated to like it – even if I don’t really. So when I got the first email from this author, my immediate thought was to say (very politely I hope) thank you but I must regretfully decline. But then I read the synopsis of the book and I broke the rule I have in my head about this. It ‘caught’ my attention and I wrote back that I would be willing to read this one since it sounded up my alley.
Abandoned as a child and raised in a brothel, Gabriel St. Croix has never known tenderness, friendship, or affection. Although fluent in sex, he knows nothing of love. Lost and alone inside a nightmare world, all he's ever wanted was companionship and a place to belong. Hiding physical and emotional scars behind an icy façade, his only relationship is with a young boy he has spent the last five years protecting from the brutal reality of their environment. But all that is about to change. The boy's family has found him, and they are coming to take him home.
Sarah Munroe blames herself for her brother's disappearance. When he's located, safe and unharmed despite where he has been living, Sarah vows to help the man who rescued and protected him in any way she can. With loving patience she helps Gabriel face his demons and teaches him to trust in friendship and love. But when the past catches up with him, Gabriel must face it on his own.
Becoming a mercenary, pirate and a professional gambler, Gabriel travels to
London, France, and the Barbary Coastin a desperate attempt to find Sarah again and all he knows of love. On the way, however, he will discover the most dangerous journey, and the greatest gamble of all, is within the darkest reaches of his own heart.
I finished this book and was beside myself with enthusiasm. In fact I was so full of enthusiasm that one morning I dallied too long reading and had to get dressed for work very quickly. I was still so focused on the book, it wasn’t until two hours in at work that I realized I’d put my top on backwards. I ignored people at lunch so I could read – me! A person who smiles at rummies on the streets of large cities – my sisters still haven’t let me forget the time I smiled and said hi to one in Toronto and he followed us for two blocks.
I knew very early on that this was going to be A Very Special Book. So I started emailing people. Ana of Book Smugglers emailed me asking me about something. I told her about this book. Very considerately she gave me the opening so I could wax enthusiastic about it. I emailed Katie about how excited I was reading it. Poor Barbara of Happily Forever After sent me an email asking about a problem she was having viewing the blog and I probably caused her eyes to blur replying very little about the blog problem because sadly, I don’t know how to fix whatever is wrong with it – but if anyone knows I would be ever so grateful for the help. Instead, I almost wrote a treatise on how wonderful this book is. I wrote to Robin (aka Janet at DA) about this book because we have commiserated together in the past about how few deep and luscious romance type books there are these days and I had to tell her about this one. I emailed Jane of DA, asking if perhaps she could review it since DA is MUCH bigger than here. And then I emailed a whole bunch more people telling them about this book and asking for help in reading it and spreading the word. But not to worry - you will get yours (unless you block me, this rather obsessed reader, from you email) If you haven’t gotten one yet it’s either because I don’t know your email address or I forgot in my excitement. During one of the flurry of emails Katie asked what makes this one so special. So I’m about to try and explain it. Keep in mind what I say, no matter how eloquent, won’t do it justice.
Gabriel is a young man living in complete despair. Since he was given as a very young boy to a French brothel, he has been used by men and women – terribly so. Hauntingly so. Heartbreakingly so. The only thing that keeps him going, that keeps him there, is the protection he is giving to a young boy, Jamie. He is terrified that the same thing will be done to the Jamie that was done to him. When he finds out the family, a brother and sister, of Jamie have discovered his whereabouts after years of searching for him, Gabriel knows it’s his time to escape – except he has no where to go. The brothel is all he has known. So when young Jamie refuses to go with this family he barely remembers unless his friend Gabriel accompanies him back to
Sarah is an unconventional heroine. Married against her will at a young age to an old rue, she does the unthinkable and leaves him. He later dies but she is ostracized from polite society. But rather than mourn, she is now liberated to live life the way she wants to. Her brother Ross, supports her, rather than trying to get her to conform. He is very leery of the growing closeness he sees between Sarah and Gabriel since he knows what Gabriel was but he is convinced by a family friend Davey to look beyond the surface of what Gabriel once was and try and see what Sarah sees.
Now in most romances this would signal the end of the book, but not so in this case. Instead in Broken Wing, Gabriel leaves with Davey, a privateer, to try and make his fortune so he can support Sarah. What follows is all Gabriel’s story and his descent back into his personal hell but always with Sarah in his heart. My heart ached, and I mean really and truly ACHED during this part for all that Gabriel suffers and all that he goes through.
Ok – that’s all I’m going to say about the story line. Now I’m going to do my attempt at waxing poetically.
Gabriel: You know how I just finished saying that Derek and Kev were on the same number one hero podium? Well – I will always have a special place in my heart for Derek and now Merripen, but Gabriel; he edges them out – just by a tiny tiny bit. He is angry, he is cynical, he is alone, he is bitter, he is innocent, he is lost, he is beautiful, he is virginal in some aspects and he will melt and break your heart. He is Very, Very Special.
Sarah: In many romances where the hero shines, the heroine can take a bit of a back seat. Not so in this case. Not so at all! While much of the book focuses on Gabriel, Sarah is just as important and larger than life as Gabriel. She is the means to Gabriel’s healing. Without her strength, Gabriel wouldn’t become the hero he has. She is compassionate, she is strong, she is caring, she is unconventional, she is intelligent, she is a force to be reckoned with and she is outstanding. She acts just like we always want a heroine to act. She is Very, Very Special.
Ross: He is a loving brother. He wants to protect his sister from harm. He is fair though. He has an intriguing past.
Davey: He is a privateer. He is the voice of reasoning. He is a friend to all who while he holds special feelings towards Sarah, understands when her heart is given to Gabriel. He is guilt ridden over what happens to Gabriel.
Jacques Valmont: He is a true friend to Gabriel when he needs one the most. He is the light to Gabriel’s dark. He is a male slut in a very charming way.
There are other smaller role characters that are just as vivid and compelling.
I don’t want to say too much at the risk of giving away spoilers, but it has a true ‘epic’ feel to it. I want to say it’s more than a romance, but the romance is at the core of it, so I’ll say it’s a romance plus. It’s so wondrously written that it’s almost as if we were there, fighting along side Gabriel and Jacques. There is a storm at sea where we can almost feel the wind blowing and the waves crashing. We can feel Gabriel’s struggle to overcome his tormented past. It’s dark and at times on the violent side. It’s certainly gritty. But oh how you will love it. And it's also a very hero-centric book.
This book comes out the beginning of November and I STRONLY urge everyone who loves a good historical romance to get this one. Heck, even if you aren’t normally a historical reader, I’d be willing to wager you will like this one.
And a special tip of the hat to Misty, who mentioned this book way back in March in a comment which prompted the author to email me which led to this whole quest to get readers to read this book.
And just so you know – this is an advance notice – I will be visiting.
And now for the grade on this one. I can’t imagine this ever happening again – not to say it won’t – but I don’t see it.
6 out of 5
It simply has to get bonus points for causing this massive obsession I now have going to get readers to give this one a try.
So! Who wants to join me in my quest to get readers to read this book?
We've had The Campaign (to read Dreaming of You)
We've had The Rumble with Sybil captain of Team Sebastian and yours truly captain of the Cravenators
We've had The Crusade with Sula, Katie and myself with all our Fellow Crusaders.
Now is the time for the Quest.
(And if you all are thinking 'she is one odd duck, she is' - Sister Lisa agrees with you)
**~~**~~**~~ UPDATE **~~**~~**~~
In my own words of 'smack me on the head', I never once thought of checking to see if she has a website! (and call me stupid). She does and has 3 excerpts. Here is the link. Thanks to Dev for pointing out my lapse in research*g*
And see what happens when I do these kinds of things while being in an overenthusiastic frame of mind? It was Seton - who *sad sigh* hasn't blogged since April, who first mentioned it.
(blogger is messin' with me here!)