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Always a Stranger Kindle Edition

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Length: 238 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Details

  • File Size: 1075 KB
  • Print Length: 238 pages
  • Publisher: eKensington (May 15, 2014)
  • Publication Date: May 15, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GYLVWCE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,937 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Amara Royce writes historical romances that combine her passion for 19th-century literature and history with her addiction to happily ever afters.

She earned a PhD in English, specializing in 19th-century British literature, from Lehigh University and a Master's degree in English from Villanova University, and she now teaches English literature and composition at a community college in Pennsylvania.

When she isn't writing, she's either grading papers or reveling in her own happily ever after with her remarkably patient family.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patty McKenna Van Hulle on July 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
East meets West in this romance of forbidden passions & love between an enslaved heroine & a Lord of honor & love!

Hanako Sumaki is a rare gift of womanhood that should be treasured, but in London at the Great Exhibition, she is treated as a freak of nature & an oddity. She is a Asian woman who is held in the struggling hold of the evil & money grubby hands of Mr. Broek, the owner of the Jade Gardens. Hanako & her young sister, Takara, had been left at the mercy of Mr. Broek after their Father's death. Hanako knows over 20 languages, is the mother hen of all the Jade Gardens' women who are basically slaves, a performer of Asian entertainment, a translator & protector of her sister, but she has outlasted her usefulness & is going to be sold as a man's toy. She will do it all, so that she can take her sister with her & protect her from Mr. Broek's perverse hands.

Skyler Roderick was a happy 2nd son & engineering student abroad, when he learned that he was the new Earl of Richmond, after the tragic death of both his father & older brother. Syke was never to be the heir, but he accepts all the responsibilities, like being the new Royal Commissioner of the Great Exhibition. His boss is the Duke of Carleton & the Duke wants all corruptions rooted out of the Exhibition, so Syke is inspecting all exhibits, performers, checking all contracts & looking anything out of place.

As Syke is investigating, he sees this red shimmer of silk reveal this exotic Far East flower & is mesmerized by her. Hanako looks into the chaos of the Exhibition & sees this proud & golden Lord & is entranced by all the emotions flowing thru her, but knows he is trouble.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I was intrigued by the premise: a Victorian-era setting against the Great Exhibition of 1851 in which a titled Lord involves himself with a Japanese Fan Dancer and the intrigue that comes with both the uniqueness of the relationship and the secrets held by Hanako. Royce presents a world that feels very real and is easy to imagine the wonders, as if seeing them for the first time as Londoner’s did. The Victorian era was beginning to exert influence on social and societal customs and with Albert’s insatiable fascination with new technologies and scientific advancement, a new era of industrial, scientific and exploratory discoveries are being integrated into the public eye. A scant ten years before Albert’s death and Victoria’s subsequent retirement from public life, the mood and curiosity of the public was insatiable.

Lord Skyler Ridgemont is in service to the crown, seeing to the contractual needs and intricacies of performances, and tying up the loose ends. While he is intrigued by the unique presence and approach of the Japanese woman, Hanako, he feels a connection that surprises him. Hanako finds him uniquely different, her vacillation between reticence and proper behavior mixing with a very forward display not acceptable in polite society at that time.

The story has several different sub-plot points that need to be worked through: the interracial relationship, Hanako’s inability to find a solid behavioral pattern that would not bring shame on Skyler, even as she won’t be accepted, and Hanako’s big secret. Each unfolds slowly, with plenty of back and forth and diversions of setting and place that help the reader to enjoy the scenery.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I thought the idea of a book set against the backdrop of the Victorian Great Exhibition involving an English Earl and a Japanese Entertainer at the Exhibit was unique and I wanted to read it. The story grabbed me from the beginning with the exotic fan dance scene and the mystery of Hana's circumstances.

This one is not listed as a sequel to my knowledge, but in truth it is a follow-up/parallel story to Never Too Late about Skyler's cousin. The two books have connections, but this one can definitely be read as a standalone story.

The story opens with Skyler, the new Earl of Ridgemont being named a Royal Commissioner for the Great Exhibition with his duties being to make sure the exhibitors are all on the up and up. He receives word that one of the Asian acts does not appear to have been contracted so he goes to investigate. He arrives in time to observe a beautiful mysterious woman perform a breath-taking fan dance. Across the space between them, he feels a strong connection when their gazes meet. When he goes to the backstage area to question her about her act and her manager, she has disappeared and in her place is a boy with a smudged face and tattered clothes without the ability to speak English.

Hanako Sumaki is concerned about the arrival of this observant, yet kind Englishman who seems very interested in her act. Because of the nature of her master's shady business, she cannot afford for him to learn anything more. He is persistent, but not in the way of most men who want her. He seems genuinely concerned each time they meet and it drives her to confide more than she wishes to him and desire to be near him though that can go nowhere.

Skyler can't figure out the woman who has bewitched him.
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