Sunday, October 05, 2008

Every once in a while something very special comes along

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 Coast in 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 England, his older brother and sister agree, and Gabriel has a place to go. But he’s not happy. Not unlike Merripen of Seduce Me At Sunrise, Gabriel doesn’t feel worthy. He sees himself a whore and is just waiting for either Ross or Sarah, Jamie’s brother or sister to make a move on him. But Sarah senses there is something worthwhile underneath his hard shell. And slowly, and angrily Gabriel begins telling her about some of his past, expecting her to be horrified and send him away. But instead Sarah is compassionate and understanding. They slowly, over time, fall in love. And it’s beautiful to read. I was close to tears many times.

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.

The Characters

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.

The Story

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!)


Sayuri said...

Ok, color me intruiged.

Is this available via e-book? I would defintely give it a shot if it was.

Kristie (J) said...

Sayuri: I'm not sure if it is or not - since *grin* I'm the opposite. I didn't even look into it. You might try the publisher website or I can send the author an email and ask her since I know that while not for me, for many readers e-books are their format of choice.
I will let you and other e-readers know when if I find out from her.

Amy C said...

I love it when you can FEEL someones emotions while reading a review. I can't tell you how many tingles yours gave me.


I just checked it out on amazon and it shows it's release date for Nov. 1. I'm going to the boookstore Tuesday, if they don't have it, then I'll have em order it for me. My borders doesn't carry many Medallion press books. I can say that i have enjoyed all the books I've read that have been published by them.

Oh, you have made me very impatient to get this one. I haven't heard of it. Thank you for sharing!

Sayuri said...

Kirstie - I jumped to e-book out of necessity rather than desire. I just don't have the space for all the books anymore. That and I get my e-books faster. Instant gratification. No waiting on international shipping! It's hell on my wallet tho...

I'll check the publishers website. I'm joining the quest. That's if I can find a copy to read! And I like it!

Carolyn Crane said...

I had to come and see the cover. More pirates!!!

Rosie said...

6 out of 5! That's high praise indeed. I'm off to link here. I also noted on Amazon that the book is available to ship now even though it is a November release.

The Quest begins...

meljean brook said...

You've sold me :-D

Ana said...

Incredible review Kristie, I am sure you can get your readers to read this book after this amazing review.

You already know that you can count me in! ; )

May The Quest begin!

Shannon said...

Oh wow. You have sold me. I must be part of The Quest. It sounds wonderfully angsty. le sigh. I can't wait to read it! Must now figure out how to get my hands on it...

lynneconnolly said...

Great review, one we all dream of.
It kinda vaguely reminded me of Robin Schone's wonderful "Gabriel's Woman," about a male whore and the woman who redeems him. Plotline is a bit different, though. Gabriel, the beautiful blond, was kept for the men, although he is straight, and Michel des Anges is kept for women, so called because he can make women see angels.
The final love scene in that one made me cry.
I'll have to look for yours, though, it looks very interesting1

Misty G said...

I mentioned this book back in March? Are you sure you have th right Misty? lol. I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've heard of this book, but it sounds wonderful, and will be sure to pick it up! I love a hero like this!

Anonymous said...

I'm sold. What a review!

Stacy~ said...

Wow, considering how much I loved the Crusade, I'm definitely onboard for The Quest. Sounds fabulous :)

KT Grant said...

Now I want this book to the point that I will not think of anything else unless I have it in my hands.
I am all for another crusade/quest :D
Isn't it great when I book makes you jump up and down and want you to spread the love?

CindyS said...

Wow. That'll be all I need to search this one out! I think I have Gabriel's Woman in the TBR pile until then - I hope!


Leslie said...

Amazing review Kristie! This sounds sooo good. Love pirates and I haven't been to the Barbary Coast in a while. : )

Add me to the quest. I will definitely be reading this one.

Katie Reus said...

6 out of 5?? I'm sold ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm in, but durn you, Kristie (and Katiebabs)! I am in the middle of Seduce Me At Sunrise, also due to your rave review.

You know, I have no idea what kind of publicity this author will get from her publisher, but if this is as great as it seems to be, and if we all read it and talk it up, and if it becomes a real sensation... it will make me feel really good about the power of the people in romancelandia!

Kristie (J) said...

Katie: yep - 6 out of 5. It's the bonus point you see - for making me go off the chart in enthusiasm *g*

Leslie: It was a labour of love writing it!! Usually I struggle but this one came easy. I did wince though when I saw it had already taken up 4 pages in Word!

Cindy: It's not out yet - but sometimes us Canadians are lucky in that we get books on the shelves earlier. Though I don't if all Chapters stock a lot of Medallion books so it might take ordering online.

Katie: It's good almost to the point of frightening!! I woke up at 4:00 and couldn't get back to sleep thinking on this book. Ana can confirm this since *g* she was receiving emails.

Stacy: I'll be the first to admit that this one might not be for everyone, it's very dark in spots. But the Joy, the Healing, the Love between Sarah and Gabriel make it all worth it. I hope you like it as much as me - OK - I can't say I merely like it. Have to change that to LOVE it.

Nalini: As an author who writes dark characters *g*, I think you will really enjoy this one too!

Misty: Oops - my bad!! It was Seton who first mentioned it. But *unrepentant grin* if it got your attention enough to try this one, then I'll have to stop thinking 'oops!'

Lynne: Now you have me curious! I do have a Robin Schone book but I forget which one and unbelievably I forgot to add it to my spreadsheet. Hold on and I'll go down to the library to get it. I know exactly where it is.
OK - I'm back! I had two of them!! Gabriel's Woman and The Lover. I shall certainly have to read them now! (and add them to my wonderous spread sheet) Thank YOU for the rec!

Shannon: Oh for sure it is angsty! Wonderfully, beautifully angsty! And welcome to The Quest!

Ana: ROTFL - I did go back to bed after my Very Early Morning emails. And now that I've answered your questions *g* indeed - May the Quest Begin.

Meljean: Since you write such wonderfully complex characters yourself *g* I know you will enjoy this one!!

Rosie: Yep! A 6 out of 5! I was never one of those students who ever got bonus marks so my grades were higher, (well maybe a time or two in either History or English but NEVER in Math!) but I must say - it is nice to give one out :-)

CJ: Delicious no? Pirates! Although the Pirates are bad. The Privateers are good *chuckle*

Sayuri: Oh I can certainly see the advantages of ebooks. There is nothing like instant gratification. But as you are new to this blog, you may not be aware of what I technically disadvantaged person I am. I say this truly and honestly - I've had to have complete strangers show me how to turn my cell phone on. I once spent 3 hours trying to figure out how to work the DVD. The thoughts of trying to 'work' an e-reader terrifies me. And *laughing* the people who say it's not that hard have never met Me.

Kristie (J) said...

"You know, I have no idea what kind of publicity this author will get from her publisher, but if this is as great as it seems to be, and if we all read it and talk it up, and if it becomes a real sensation... it will make me feel really good about the power of the people in romancelandia!"

Jessica: Me too!! And that is certainly part of The Quest. But only because I believe in this book 100% would I do it. I remember a couple of years ago DA had a campaign to promote Nalini's (waving above) first Phys book through bloggers and I love the thought that it might have had a contribution to the success she's having now. And there are so many more bloggers now then there were then. It would be heady to think we have an influence wouldn't it?
And *laughing* I'd maybe feel bad that we are having such an influence - except I don't because they are both wickedly wonderful books and as fellow romance lovers, we just have to let others know!

Bridget Locke said...

I'm in! I saved your email & everything, so when it comes out I'll be out there buying it! :) And once I read it, I will join the crusade! Of course, here's hoping I love it as much as you do. :D

Rosie said...

For anyone wanting to get this book right away... The book is available to order and ship within 24 hours, but I didn't find it actually out in any stores today. Kristie, mine is on it's way. I can hardly wait. The excerpts I've read are excellent. Really.

Ana said...

My copy was just shipped, Kristie! So I will definitely make the November release date!!!! woohoo!!!

Anonymous said...

You are so good at this. I don't buy books with pirates in them, and yet somehow I seem to have ordered a copy...

Alice said...

I am intrigued. Are her books available in libraries?

Kristie (J) said...

Alice: I'm not sure if this is at the library or not. It's her first published book so you won't find any other books by her there. I'm not a library user. I love the fact that you can take them out for free, but they practically have to yank them out of my arms when it comes to returning them and that's just too traumatic.
But from what I understand about libraries and maybe a librarian - like maybe a SuperLibrarian can answer this question. If you request a certain book, oftentimes the library will order it in for you.

Marianne *laughing* He's a privateer - and only for a short time in the book. Most of it takes place on dry land. And it's the book itself that is so inspiring that makes me so good at it. That and what my sisters call my "Draaaammmaaa Queen" tendencies. Sometimes they have the power for good!

Ana!! Definitely WooHoo - and you thought you would have to wait for this one!!!

Rosie *g* Now the nerves begin to kick in as readers start reading this that they will be as consumed as I am.

Bridget: I'm pretty sure that you will love this one!!
And *laughing* you are already a Crusader - that's North and South. This is *still grinning* The Quest.

Kati said...

Kristie - I asked Marisa to get me a copy, and hopefully it'll ship this week. Her publicist came back to Marisa yesterday (on a Sunday!) and said they'd request the book today from the publisher. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Maybe it'll spark me to start back reading historicals, which I've been off of for about three months now.

Thanks for the glowing recommendation! If you loved it, I'm sure I will too!

AnimeJune said...

I want this, I want this, whine whine whine....but I have no monies -_-;;

So many books, so little monies...

azteclady said...

I want too, but I'm sitting on the "no monies" bench with animejune right now. Will get it somehow, closer to release date, I hope.

LesleyW said...

I think everyone knows I am not an historicals fan, but you are persuading me.

I'm going to add this one to my wishlist.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't resist. I ordered it :)

Wendy said...

To answer the library question - this very well could end up in a number of libraries because it got a very favorable review in Publisher's Weekly. In fact, I'm ordering it for work this week.

Alice - if your library doesn't have it, ask your librarian. Given the favorable review in PW, they should be inclined to purchase it!

Kristie - You've strong-armed me. I have to order it, and I'm not sure it will get read in October - but let's shoot for November. 'kay?

Amy C said...

I posted a blog about this book. I hope since amazon is shipping, if my bookstore doesn't have it they can order it for me.

I'm a little cheap when it comes to shipping charges, but if I have to then I have to! :)

Kristie (J) said...

MK: I've been reading a fairly steady stream of historicals lately after a long time away from them and I've read some great ones - Seduce Me At Sunrise and The Price of Desire by Jo Goodman really stand out. But Broken Wing is the best of the group, thought that's not to take away from the great enjoyment of the others!!!
Fingers crossed you love it as much as me :)

AnimieJune & AZ: Well, I'm pondering on things. What really is a quest without a prize? *being mysterious*

LesleyW: I think even none readers will enjoy this one. It doesn't fall into the pattern of most historicals. All the characters are most unique.

Maija: *laughing* I'm always a bit nervous when readers buy books based on a rec I've given. But every so often, the book is SO good, the nerves don't bother me. Such is the case this time :-) I know you will love it.

Wendy: Thanks for the SuperLibrarian help!! I thought what I said might be the case and it's nice when a Pro confirms it *g*. And November is fine *chuckle* as long as you do read it and I don't have to do a 'Wendy, Wendy, Wendy' when next we meet.

AmyC: Thanks for the plug!!!!!! And I hear you about shipping charges. I always wait until I have enough books for the free shipping at Chapters too.

Sarai said...

Okay Kristie you win Sign me up for the quest. I will try to purchase this month with any extra money!!! Once read I will let you know for the review.

Christine said...

I responded to your email yesterday, but wanted to leave my public mark here stating that I WILL be buying and reading this novel as soon as I can. Who can resist a recommendation like yours? =)

Brie said...

Wow. So I'm anxious to get my hands on this book, to say the least. With a glowing review like that, how could I not be? I hope I love it just as much as you did.

Julia said...

WOW! I don't read lot of historical romance, but there are some exception that I do read.

May have to check this book out and see what the rave all about *grin*. I'm going to pass this to my friend who love a good Pirates story :)

Chantal said...


I'm going to read this.

In all honestly though, I read the blurb at the authors website, and it sounds very boring. If not for the hype from you, and me promising Amy I'd read it with her, I'd not give this book a second glance.
I hope to be won over :)

KT Grant said...

I just got back from Barnes and Noble and to my surprise there was two copies of Broken Wing! :D

A.M. Lau said...

It's lovely to hear that you've been bowled over by a book. I'm definitely putting this on my to-buy list when I get back to the States!

Kara said...

You've sold me on this one!! I can't wait to get my hands on it.

I just checked Amazon and they don't have it ready in e-book for the Kindle yet - but I have no problems buying the paperback!!

Kristie (J) said...

Sarai: I'm getting more and more nervous with each person who plans on reading - but I'm honestly convinced that most will adore the love story between Gabriel and Sarah!!

Christine: And you, not a 'natural' reader of historicals *grin* I hope Broken Wing shows that there are some great ones out there and maybe you will try a Lisa Kleypas historical *g*

Brie: :-) A glowing book deserves a glowing review. I'm reading this one over again and getting just as much a rush the second time as I did the first time!

Julia: There's always exceptions *laughing* I don't read many vampire books for example, but I'm loving the Laura Adrian books. So hopefully this one with do for you a seldom read historical reader as the Adrian ones do for me, a seldom reading vampire reader.

Senaca: Uh oh!!! Now my tail is really on the line!! Would it help if I said this one is also very sexy???? I didn't even really touch on that aspect of the book - but this one is VERY sexy in a very emotional kind of way ;-)

Katie: And *laughing* I'm still waiting for you to post your thoughts on it!!

Amy: *g* Ahhh - something to look forward to when you return home there be!!!

Kara: LOL - when I finished this one, I hugged it!! Really! I hugged it. 'Cause I couldn't hug Gabriel and Sarah. And it's so much easier hugging a paper book than an ereader - just in case you have the same kind of reaction as I did!!

Carolyn Crane said...

I can't wait to read it!

Anonymous said...

Kristie! I can comment :D LOL.

I'm still waiting for my copy of Broken Wing to arrive in the mail but as soon as it does I will be reading it.

KT Grant said...

I posted my thoughts in a past above, as long as MO FO blogger doesn't erase it. sigh :(

Kristie (J) said...

CJ: Fingers crossed you love it as much as me!! But I don't really worry :-) Cause it IS that good

Barbara: Yea!!!! Did you do anything different? 'Cause I didn't. Maybe blogger was acting out on your end - or maybe it was just hungry and once it ate Katie's first post on her thoughts so far, it was happy :-)

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm glad to read that my mention of this book has led to a bonafide Kristie-driven "Quest". The author cannot be in better hands in Blogland.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sadly out of touch that I just found out about your quest. I'm sold! This sounds right up my alley.

Kristie (J) said...

Devon: *g* Better late than never - this book hasn't been out all that long and I'm thinking that you won't be disappointed :-)