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Libertine's Kiss (Hqn) Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When William de Veres turns up at Elizabeth’s home late one night, she asks no questions, but instead takes him in, tends his wounds, and gives him one glorious night of passion. William never knew that Elizabeth’s act of charity cost her greatly. Once Cromwell’s men discover that Elizabeth gave aid to one of Charles’ cavaliers, they seize her family’s estates, thus forcing Elizabeth into an unwanted marriage in order to survive. As a widow, Elizabeth arrives in the Merry Monarch’s court hoping to convince the king to restore her lands. William, now Earl Rivers and the court’s official poet, knows he must help his old friend. He knows exactly how to repackage Elizabeth so that she can capture the king’s attention, but what this infamous libertine doesn’t expect is that he will fall in love with his new creation instead. Fueled by sizzling sensuality and sharp wit, James’ refreshingly different historical deftly re-creates the glittering, colorful court of Charles II while also delivering an unforgettable love story. --John Charles --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Fueled by sizzling sensuality and sharp wit James' refreshingly different historical deftly re-creates the glittering, colorful court of Charles II while also delivering an unforgettable love story.-- John Charles 
--Booklist starred review *

This angsty historical is heartrendingly beautiful, featuring beautiful language and a fantastic setting with a smart heroine and a deeply tortured, flawed hero who turns out wonderfully.
--Lynn Spenser
--AAR Desert Isle Keeper

Readers will find this poignant love story enthralling and unforgettable.
-- Kathe Robin
--Romantic Times Top Pick
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Product Details

  • Series: Hqn
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373775059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373775057
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,771,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend it to all readers of historical romance!
bookworm2bookworm
I greatly enjoyed this book for its rich, evocative setting, well rounded characters--and thank goodness for a story set in an unusual time period.
A. Bergeron
The rich details enhanced the sensual love story and the characters are authentic and compelling.
BevPet

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A. Bergeron on July 21, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In twenty-first century terms, William de Veres would probably be labeled an alcoholic and a sex addict. Fortunately for him, he inhabits the seventeenth century where he is known to Charles II's court as a libertine. In Libertine's Kiss, Judith James has turned him into a romance hero.

And damn, if she doesn't make it work.

Deep inside, William is actually a romantic, idealistic man, but he hides it beneath a veneer of cynicism. He shows his true self to only one person, Elizabeth Walters. As children, they spent an idyllic year and a half acting as each other's escape from the harsh realities of their world. They pretend to be characters from Spenser's "Faerie Queene" while William teaches Elizabeth to defend herself from bullies. Their friendship comes to a poignant end when William is sent away to school.

Years pass before they see each other again, and on that occasion, William does not recognize his childhood friend. Taking him in one night, when he arrives, wounded, on her doorstep, she heals his physical wounds and offers him comfort of a more baser sort. In the morning, she sends him on, and as a result of this one night, she loses all her properties.

William, it turns out, is a proponent of Charles II, at this point in exile in Europe, and he is hunted by Cromwell's men. They miss William but arrest Elizabeth, who stands trial and pays a heavy price.

The pair do not find each other again until Cromwell is overthrown, and Elizabeth goes to King Charles' court to petition for the restoration of her lands. William has progressed from the "tax collector," a highway man whose proceeds go maintaining the exiled king's lifestyle, to court poet, whose pointed verses insult the king as often as they flatter.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By bookworm2bookworm on July 25, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I truly thought that Judith James could not write a better book than her "BROKEN WING" one, but I was so wrong. This is one of those books, that you CAN NOT put down and then do something else. A reader is compelled to finish it in one heart renching swoop...unless this particular reader is so darn lucky to have her husband point to a TV screen and catch an IFC movie with Johnny Depp as he plays "THE LIBERTINE" ([...])! So, I put the book to the side, and watched this tragic story of 2nd Earl of Rochester, to which the character of William is based.

I finished the book early this morning, and I have to agree with A. Bergeron in her review of the character of William. I would add one thing to her review. Will would make our Rock Stars blush!

We follow his life first as a young boy, then as a cavalier, and finally as a courtier in Charles II's Court. Have you ever read a story that you could literally HEAR the voice of the protagonist? I mean, REALY hear it? Really feel what they feel? To the point that you're going through their emotions? It is a rare thing for me, and I must say that Judith James has done an excellent job of taking me to this point! I FELT William. I HEARD William (Toby Stephens [...]).

Oh, and what a wonderful character Lizzy was. I was there with her on that tree, when she first meets Will, and I was there with her when she sits on the bed with Charlie and with her as she tries so hard to except her love of Will as Lord Rivers.

I have so much more to say about it, but I dare not to, as I might give away too much. And I would hate to do that to you. This story is meant to be savored and enjoyed. I highly recommend it to all readers of historical romance! The period in which this story develops is just facinating.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By romancecritic on August 30, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't typically like to summarize the plot ... I find that ruins a lot of the romance for me ... This is a book about childhood sweethearts who find themselves again after 16 years.
As readers, we find ourselves in the England of the middle 1600s - times of instability, war, and later of over indulgence, whether it be drink, sex, gaming it does not matter ... the more the better. Perhaps that was people's peaceful revolt to the Puritan rule - I don't really know. But that is where we are, trying to put Charles back on the throne and Cromwell off of it. This, however, is just the setting, not the point of the story.

Our hero is emotionally scarred, cynical, and unwilling to trust anyone with his love because of his disturbing childhood experiences. He has been let down by father and mother and even his own expectations of the rule of King Charles (who he helps, finding funds for him so he can indulge in sex and drink and recapture his throne). He is a man who has turned to drink and interminable sexual encounters to dull the pain of molestation. Yet, he is a poet, a cynical one, but a poet none-the-less, making him truly romantic at heart (if the right person can be found to reach that organ).

Our heroine is his long lost childhood friend and love - the girl with whom he fantasized and played and laughed and almost shared his hell. She is a dreamer and a romantic, but a woman of practicality and strong constitution. She too is lonely. And although she has suffered her own personal hell, by the hands of her dead husband, she has not turned jaded. She still, being the dreamer that she is, holds on to her beliefs of love and happiness.

As the story plays out, the two characters find themselves again and develop more intimated bonds than those in their childhood.
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