This month’s author spotlight is another author who started in romance and moved onto another genre. Probably more readers have read her books as she started writing in 1997. Sadly she left romance behind in 2003 after only seven romances, but she still remains one of my top authors and in my opinion a great writer for April’s Author Spotlight.
The author in question:
I discovered Ms. Proctor when her first book was released in 1997.
Bryony Wentworth's life is shattered when she is convicted of manslaughter and transported to
in 1808. Sentenced to indentured servitude, she is given to Hayden St. John. A hard, embittered man left with an infant son by the death of his gentle wife, Hayden has little but contempt for the muddy, vermin-ridden convict on whom he must rely. But Bryony is a survivor. As they journey through the outback to Hayden's rugged station, Bryony rediscovers her own strength even as Hayden finds his salvation and rebirth in a love as forbidden and dangerous as the land that surrounds them. New South Wales
Against the sweeping panorama of a harsh, gorgeous, and unforgiving land, two hungering souls learn to trust, to love, and to triumph over the danger that will shadow their lives--until destiny and desire become one.
I was captivated by Ms Proctor from the first. Night in
If I had to compare Byronny to another heroine, the closest match I can think of is Rachel Wade from Patricia Gaffney’s To Have and To Hold. Both heroines start off their stories pretty defeated.
I loved this book and I knew after I finished it that this was an author I would be watching out for. And I wasn’t the only one blown away by this debut. Both The Romance Reader who gave it 5 stars and All About Romance who gave it an A and DIK status loved it too.
So when I spotted her next book in 1998:
I couldn’t buy it fast enough. Much to my surprise, it was a Western.
What's a girl to do?! When the mother she never knew bequeaths a boomtown bordello and a too-sexy, too-cynical business partner to convent-bred beauty Gabrielle Antoine, she does what any sensible woman would do--she plays the piano in the parlour while her "girls" entertain their "guests." Determined to send the virtuous Gabrielle scurrying back to New Orleans, her new partner, gambler Jordan Hays, embarks on a mission to open her eyes to the seamier, steamier side of life found on the frontier, shocking her to the core with his fiery kisses and caresses that stir unfamiliar, but far from unpleasant feelings in Gabrielle. Much to everyone's surprise, especially Jordan's, Gabrielle refuses to sell out to the unsavoury rival who operates a string of gambling dens and whorehouses under deplorable conditions and who murdered Gabrielle's mother to get his hands on Celeste's Place, the grandest brothel in Central City, Colorado. Now in danger, Gabrielle finds herself under the protective wing of Jordan, the loner whose heart has been locked away since experiencing unspoken atrocities during the Civil War. But Gabrielle's innocence and determination stir
's long-lost sense of chivalry, while her beauty stirs his slumbering libido. And Gabrielle is swept away by the depth of her passion for the rugged Jordan . The gambler and the ingénue join forces to fend off a hostile takeover and to search for a lost gold mine, falling in love along the way. Jordan
While this one didn’t strike quite the same chord as Night in
Her next book published in 1999,
once again was set in early
The Englishwoman... Accepting a job as governess in the wilds of the Australian Outback is the only way Amanda Davenport can earn passage home to her beloved
and away from this rugged, frightening place she hates. Despite her fears, Amanda finds herself gradually drawn to this wild, primitive land as she rediscovers the joys of laughter and love and the irresistible passions of the heart. England
The Australian... As he struggles to bring up three irrepressible, motherless children on an isolated station plagued by all the dangers of
South Austra in 1865, the last thing Patrick O'Reilly wants is a prudish spinster complicating his life. But it's not too long before he begins to suspect that Miss Davenport is not exactly what she seems. lia
This book was another winner for me and I’ve read it more then once though not for a while and it kept her firmly on my auto-buy list. I’m not the only one who loved this one. TRR gave it a great review as did AAR.
With her next book in 2000:
Candice Proctor once again took a bit of a detour and wrote a Medieval. As I love medievals, when I saw this I was delighted.
A betrothed young noblewoman fiercely loyal to her family and king,
Atticad'Alerion is forced to disguise herself as a courtier and ride bravely into danger to warn her brother Stephen of a political betrayal that could lead to war.
Damion de Jarnac is the black knight, a rogue horseman bound by no code of honor except his own ambition. Working for the aging King Henry II, Damion scouts the hills of
on a dangerous mission to expose the treachery of Philip of France. There he joins forces with a courageous lad—who turns out to be the most intriguing woman he has ever met. But to win the beautiful Brittany Attica's love, Damion must slay the demons of an unforgivable past. And to save his doomed King, he must make a deadly decision that could break his lady's noble heart.
A haunting tale of passion and redemption as one man's quest for glory becomes an unexpected crusade to save his soul...
With some of her books, it’s been a while since I’ve read them, but I did reread The Last Knight a couple of years ago and l loved it just as much as the first time. Again, both TRR and AAR gave it excellent reviews.
And then we come to 2001 and…..
After years of schooling in
England, Jesmond Corbett returns to her family's estate along the coast of . Betrothed since childhood to a wealthy neighbour, Jessie comes home determined to conform to the expectations of her family. But nothing in Jessie's life has prepared her for the mysterious stranger who works in the stables, a man with searing eyes who haunts her dreams and awakens passions she never knew existed. Tasmania
Irishman Lucas Gallagher arrived on the island in chains, a convict sentenced to a lifetime of labour for the English gentry. For four years he has lived a dead man's existence, using every spare moment to plan his escape. But when he meets Jessie, she touches his cold, angry heart. And although their love has no future, he finds himself unable to deny the longings that threaten to destroy what may be his last chance to reach for freedom ....
If you look to the left on my sidebar, you will see that Whispers of Heaven is on my all time top five book list and considering all the books I’ve read, that speaks loud and clear on what I think of this book. I’ve read and reread it a number of times now it’s one of those books calling me to read it again. Now I’m sure it will be shouting at me as will all her other books. In polls of favourite heroines, Jesamond Corbett is always the one I choose. I can’t begin to tell you how much I adore her and how brave I think she is. Whispers of Heaven is one of those rare books I hated to see end and in my head I couldn’t let it end and have a few more adventures of Jessie and her Lucas. This one wasn’t reviewed at
Her next book in 2001,
again takes another detour in it’s setting.
The year is 1863, and in occupied
, a young French widow and confirmed pacifist devotes herself to the sick and injured of a grand city now under the heel of a harsh enemy. Then a bizarre death in one of the city's cemeteries puts Emmanuelle de Beauvais at the center of a murder investigation and under the watchful eye of Yankee provost marshal Zachary Cooper. As much as she despises the man's uniform and the war of which he is a part, Emmanuelle finds the man himself difficult to resist. New Orleans
A career cavalry officer sidelined by a battle wound, Zach Cooper has never been so intrigued by a woman. Even as Emmanuelle veils every truth with layers of lies, Zach finds himself undeniably drawn to her. Torn between passion and duty, Zach must uncover the dark secrets behind a series of murders that threaten to ensnare Emmanuelle in a menacing web...
Unfortunately, this one didn’t work quite as well for me as her previous books. I’ve only read it the once though when it first came out and I feel I need to read it again sometime – to see if it was just the mood I was in when I first read it. And it did still garner a B- at AAR.
And then we come to her final romance book published in 2003
Can life ever be a real adventure without falling in love?
Ever since she can remember, India McKnight has craved adventure and dreamed of lands past the horizon. Following her calling, she becomes a travel writer, vowing never to risk her freedom by falling in love. But when she sails to the exotic and unknown regions of the South Pacific, a rugged man brave enough to be her guide just may be the one who can lay claim to her heart.
Having turned his back on the "civilized" world long ago, Australian Jack Ryder lives in seclusion, hiding from the pain and betrayal buried in his past. When a hardheaded Scotswoman arrives at his hut looking for a guide, he agrees to take her to the
island —despite the challange—just to prove her stubborn theories about native life wrong. But when their journey turns dangerous, their fates become forever entwined. Chased by cannibals and the British army, forced to rely on each other for their very survival, they soon discover that passion and even deeper peril await them...just beyond the sunrise. of Takaku
But the good news is it was a return to the earlier style that I loved – and I loved this book!!
Now as an author, Candice Proctor is still around but these days she is writing as C.S. Harris and is writing a rather intriguing sounding historical mystery series, the
And once again – what can an Author Spotlight be without a chance to win a couple? I have a copy of the wonderful Whispers of Heaven and the delightful The Last Knight.
I will make the draw a week from today, Thursday, April 23.