Sunday, May 23, 2010

Recent Reread

After the Night by Linda Howard

Why this one: Since all my coworkers on my team at work know that I'm a huge fan of romance, some are quite open to reading some that I recommend. I've been looking for books I think will suit them and I thought this book might work for one of them. But before I brought it to her, I started rereading it again myself.

Steam Level: Perfection! A nice, steamy read.


FAITH DEVLIN -- A poor, outcast child in Prescott, Louisiana, she'd always adored the town's golden boy from afar. But he called her white trash that sultry Southern night when his rich, respected father disappeared, along with her pretty Mom. Now Faith wanted to hate Gray Rouillard...not to feel a powerful surge of desire. But she couldn't quench her passion, any more than she could hide the truth about the past she had waited so long to unravel...

GRAY ROUILLARD -- Even when he raised hell, he did it with style. Reckless, charming, and backed by Rouillard money, Gray controlled the town of Prescott - and Devlin was a name he never wanted to hear again. But when he gazed at Faith Devlin, all he saw was a swirl of tangled sheets and her silken flesh beneath him. To care for her was impossible, unthinkable...because Gray Rouillard planned to use all his power to ruin her...

My Thoughts: It's real hard to pin down my favourite Linda Howard book. She's written some pretty amazing books. But whichever one is my current fave, After the Night is right up there with it.

A lot of readers have read this one already since it's one of her older books so instead of going over the storyline, I'll just explain why I love this one so much.

Faith Devlin! I just love the character of Faith. She was raised in one of the trashiest families ever. Her father and older brothers were drunks. Her mother slept around with just about anyone who wanted her and her older sister was headed strongly in the same direction as Renee, her mother. Faith had a younger brother she was almost the sole caretaker for. There is a very painful scene near the beginning of the book which happens in earlier times. Gray, the hero later on in the book, has just learned that his father left town with Renee, Faith's mother and after hearing this, his sister has attempted suicide. Grey is enraged and goes to the shack that Faith and her family live in and with a group of sheriff's men, throws Faith and her family out. As a young Faith has loved Gray her entire life, she is traumatized by this event.

The story then picks up much later when Faith, realizing her mother didn't leave town with Guy all those years ago, travels back to Prescott to confront the place of her childhood trauma and is again thrown out of the hotel room she's staying at by Gray.

Faith is an incredible heroine and my all time favourite. She came from such a bad place and is now a strong young woman who has made a success of her life. She's a lot stronger than she used to be and is able to stand up to Gray even though she still has very strong feelings for him and not let him push her around. Because of the way she was raised, she went in the opposite direction and has a very strong moral code. There is a very compelling attraction between her and Gray and he really puts pressure on her to give into the attraction, but she holds firm, not giving in and allowing him to think her the tramp her mother and sister were. Her strength of character is what makes this book so gripping for me.

Gray! I've seen that a lot of readers don't like his character and I can see why. He's alpha to the max and sometimes he does go beyond to the point of cruelty. There is one scene where he and Faith finally give into their desire for each other and his words to her after are just plain nasty. If Faith wasn't such a strong character herself and able to stand up for herself against him, I wouldn't like him either. But he does have insight into how unfair he has been with Faith in the past, and while Faith doesn't realize it for a while, he does respect her and what she has made of her life.

The love scenes are smokin'. There is one scene that when discussing this books with others who have read it and you say "washroom scene" they immediately know what you are talking about. It's hot and it's funny and it's one of the most memorable sex scenes in romance books. The love scenes are combustible in this book.

The mystery. Faith has come back to town to find out what really happened that night that changed her world only to discover that Guy was never heard from again. She is determined to find out what really happened. In a lot of romantic suspense, one takes a back seat to the other, but in After the Night, both are equally well done.

I think I reread this book once a year - I know it almost off by heart now. But that hasn't lessened my enjoyment of this fabulous book one bit.

Grade: always has been and always will be - 5 out of 5


Chudney Defreitas-Thomas said...

I love Linda Howard! This is one of my favorites because of Faith, but I think that Linda eventually show's you the soft underside to Gray.

Kristie (J) said...

Chudney: Hello! And welcome *g*. She does show the softer side of Gray later in the book doesn't she? Their 'pillow talk' is very tender and I love his reasons for his long hair and earring. His softer side is a big reason why, though I can see why some readers dislike him so much, I don't and quite like him myself. I'm glad Ms. Howard gave him such a strong heroine though :-)

Zita said...

I so agree with you! This is definitely one of my top 5 Linda Howard books. I reread it fairly often, although, to be honest, "Now You See Her" has this one beat by just a smidgen. I have had to replace it 3 times already LOL! And yes, I do buy them in hardcover. Fortunately, as these are books and I do own them I can reread them as often as I want and I am under no obligation to name which one is my favourite! =)

Kristie (J) said...

Zita: And welcome to you too! I do have a number of her books in hardcover - though ATN is paperback - BUT - I have either 2 or 3 copies of it :-)
And Now You See Her is one I have in hardcover. I really enjoy it too and have read it a number of times - but not for a while now though. Hmmmmm - I think it may be time.....

Anonymous said...

I think you really hit the nails on the head here... I just *hated* this one when I started it, but by the end was completely won over. -- willaful

Nicole Mc said...

I have NEVER read a Linda Howard book! Seriously! I will now start with this one!! :)

Michelle said...

3 of my favorites oldies of Ms Howard's are White Out--a short novella, White Lies and of course Mark Chastain in Kill & Tell.

Michelle W "-)

vi said...

Thanks for bringing back the good memories! I adore this book. I agree with everyone about this being one of Howard's best. There is no one quite like a Howard alpha hero.

I don't like how her writing has evolved in the last few years and she has dropped of my auto-buy list. Here's hoping she redeems herself with Veil of Night.

orannia said...

Kristie - your fantastic review is tempting me, because I hate the 'hero wants to ruin the heroine' trope. It's like - pick on the person you're really mad at, not a relative!

*wanders off to see if the library has it*

ReneeW said...

I loved this book. Your review brings back such wonderful memories. I know it's hiding someplace in my keepers and I really want to dig it out now. Definitely one of Howard's best.

Terry Kate said...

An oldie but a goody! I like her early work and romances I have not been reading her more recent books. Not enough romance for me.
I do feel like digging out her titles now to re-read.
Terry Kate
Romance in the Backseat

Kristie (J) said...

Terry Kate: I just can't seem to quit her. I still like the stuff she's putting out now - but not quite in the same way as her older books. I've been rereading a few of her older ones - I'm just finishing up a yearly read of To Die For and they do stand the test of time.

Renee: It's funny isn't it - when someone mentions an old favourite how all of a sudden you have the urge to read it again too. So I say look in that pile and give it another read. It just never gets old.

Orannia: It isn't that Gray wants to ruin Faith - though Faith doesn't realize it - he just doesn't want her return to bring back bad memories for his mother and sister. And he goes about it a rather heavy handed way. But the book is well worth reading for the character of Faith. She's not about to cave into Grey's demands. You have to love that in a heroine.

Vi: Hi!!! Isn't this one yummy? And I bet as soon as I mentioned 'washroom scene' you remembered it. It's a hard scene to forget *g*. Her writing has changed over the years, but I'm still hoping for a return to the books of yesteryear.

Michelle: I've never heard of White Out - and I thought I either owned or read all of her books. I shall have to look into this!!
But White Lies and Kill and Tell are equally good ones.

Nicole Mc: I am shocked - shocked I say that you've never read Linda Howard. She's right up there almost as high as Nora Roberts in the 'must read on of her books' department. And After the Night is one of them. Warning though - Gray can be a bit much at times - but he is oh so delicious.

Willaful: The first part, when it`s in the past, can be painful can`t it. One just aches for Faith. But then that makes her an even better heroine that she hasn`t let this defeat her. And I love at the end when she throws the glass full of tea in Gray`s face.

Tabitha said...

Ah, I love ATN too! I hated Gray for his cruelty with Faith and at the same time I had such hots for him! Faith is one heroine I really admire, who made so much of herself despite being surrounded by many bad apples. Although at times I wish Faith would make Gray suffer more for his treatment towards her...and, YES, the bathroom scene was just HOT. *fan self*

Kristie (J) said...

Tabitha: LOL - I know what you mean about conflicting feelings for Gray. He is one of her more controversial heroes isn`t heÉ (keyboard acting wonky) One is angry at him, yet lustful at the same time. And the washroom scene is such a good one - hot and very funny at the same time - when that woman is trying to get in and he`s holding the door closed so she can`t.

Armenia said...

I have read a lot of Linda Howard books and have managed to miss this one. How did that happen?...well, my gosh, after reading your review I definitely have to find a copy. Thank you so much for the recommendation!

nath said...

I love this book as well, Kristie!! I love Faith and Gray, even though Gray could be a jerk at time ^_^; Faith was just so strong :) and the banter, LOL. This one is definitively a winner and it stays in your mind...

Hey, can I link your review to the Re-Read Challenge post later this week?

Kristie (J) said...

Armenia: It's really great isn't it? - discovering you've missed a book by an author you've enjoyed in the past. Kind of like finding a $10 bill in your winter coat or a chocolate bar in the fridge just when you needed some chocolate. This one is Linda Howard at her finest.

Nath: It really is Faith that makes this book so memorable isn't it? And yes, *g* by all means link this review. Hopefully more readers will then want to read this most excellent book.