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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 13, 2010
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Before Reese went to war he and Elizabeth were in love. But soon after he left, she married another man. He is heart-broken and furious and never forgives her. Eight years later, he returns home from war to fulfill a promise to his dying father. Elizabeth is now a widow with a young son. When Elizabeth turns to Reese for help, he must deal with his anger and put the well-being of her and her son before vengeance on the woman who broke his heart.

That is basically what the summary of the book on the back says (in my own words). Sounds very interesting right? Well unfortunately it doesn't quite meet the promise. Reese is just too full of anger in my opinion. He was physically scarred by the war, but apparently it left no mental scars - he is far more hurt by Elizabeth's marriage to another man EIGHT YEARS AGO!!! He still hasn't gotten over it - it just seemed odd he had held on to the anger that long. And Elizabeth was sort of a wishy washy heroine whose one saving grace was that he loved her son (in my opinion).

Here's how I think the summary should have read. *********CAUTION THERE MAY BE SPOILERS BELOW**********

Before Reese went to war, he and Elizabeth were in love. They had an 'understanding' because her father refused to agree to the marriage. Instead of staying and pleading his case, Reese decides to go to war (keep in mind it was voluntary on his part). However, before he leaves he sleeps with her and never stops to find out if there are any consequences; just ups and leaves and expects Elizabeth to wait on him. Of course, upon finding herself in trouble, Elizabeth turns to her father who orders her to marry another man. With few altneratives Elizabeth does, presumably after much turmoil. What ensures next is years of torture for both Elizabeth and her son. When Reese returns home he is still carrying a grudge against Elizabeth. When she shows up on his doorstep, sick and terrified, he lets her in. However, Reese doesn't have the best intentions - he means to make her his mistress. How could Elizabeth not fall in love with this new and improved Reese?

*********************************END SPOILERS********************

Honestly, I found both Elizabeth and Reese disappointing. And like other reviewers, I found it sad that so many people thought Elizabeth had something to be guilty about. Should she have told Reese the truth - yes! However, keep in mind it wasn't like he was down the road or in the next county. It isn't like letter would have gotten to him the next day. Honestly, it was very disconcerting that his aunt continued to berate Elizabeth - like a woman in that day and age would have had any choice in what happened.

I enjoyed Royal's story more than this one, but this book was still decent. I enjoyed seeing more of Rule, the youngest brother. Also, the secondary romance was very interesting. I think I would have much rather read the story of Travis and Anna than Elizabeth and Reese. Still, if you read the first one and plan to read the third, you might as well pick this up or borrow it from the library. If you can get over the urge to cosh Reese and smack some spine into Elizabeth, you will find a few hours of pleasant, if not original or wildly enjoyable, distraction.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 17, 2010
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
as a lifelong Romance Reader, I will admit, "agony" romances have never appealed to me. Why would anyone want to read through 300 pages of hate, anger and revenge so you can maybe get "rewarded" with 20-30 pages of happily ever after at the very end? This books has misery in spades. After the first two chapters I was ready for counseling, not to mention the characters need for some-LOL! Totally skipworthy. Zero stars.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 28, 2010
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Not really spoilers, but kind of.

Hero and heroine love each other, but heroine is pressured into marrying another man. Hero is heartbroken, and heroine is trapped in a miserable and abusive marriage. She has a child, but (shocker!) it is the hero's! Vows to carry secret to grave. Wicked husband dies, but heroine and son are threatened by wicked brother-in-law -- flees to hero. Marriage of convenience, tying up all loose ends.

This book essentially hits every single trope in the genre. Nothing is a surprise -- if anything, I kept hoping that Martin might manage to do one thing or another differently, but no. Nothing. Everything was predictable, right down to every reaction, fight, and love scene.

Kat Martin is a decent writer -- this isn't poorly written, but it's just uninteresting, which is a real let-down from what was written on the back. There are a lot of writers in the genre right now that can take a very tired plotline like this and turn it into something exciting and fun -- Liz Carlyle, Elizabeth Hoyt, even Eloisa James -- but Martin just isn't one of them. She needs plot twists to help her books, and unfortunately this just didn't have any. All of the characters are stock and painfully predictable (particularly the son, Jared, who was so painfully one-dimensional. he does nothing but stand quietly in corners and be shy, unless he *sees a horse*. because he *loves horses*. *just like his real father*. good grief). Elizabeth, our heroine, is a limp noodle who dithers, whines, and whimpers about her mistakes. Reese, our hero, grinds his teeth, scowls, and then does everything possible to try and sleep with Elizabeth. Also, if I'd read one more line about how scarred Elizabeth was about sex (certainly understandable, with a husband like that) but that Reese "knew" that her "passionate nature" would overcome it, I would've been sick. I was no fan of Elizabeth, but Reese spent a good portion of this book trying to pressure her far past her comfort zone. A little more patience on his part might've been helpful. The abused widow is familiar territory in a romance novel, but Martin needed to temper her hero a bit.

Some subplots that occur in the later half of the book are interesting, but the core couple are a snooze-fest. There are much better romances to read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon January 11, 2010
Reese and Elizabeth were young lovers, separated by her meddling and ambitious parent. They part on bad terms, due to misunderstandings and parental desire for a "better match". Years later, they meet again. She's a widow with a son in tow and he's an injured and retired military officer. In her time of troubles, she comes to him for help. He's angry, and though rather unwilling, he does rescue her and her son. In time, they find the love is still there and they live happily ever after...once the misunderstandings have all been clear up and forgiven.

In the first few pages, I knew, SPOILERS AHEAD**** Jared was Reese's son and the main character would marry for convenience to protect her and their son. Elizabeth is a crying wimp with a swooning habit. That, I could overlook because she is a product of that time period, but the storyline holds no freshness, at all.

It's an old, tired theme, written many times over. I like a little "freshness" in the plot. I certainly, could not author a book. I have little imagination, so I do understand it must be difficult to "keep it fresh", but Martin could have better developed her characters. If she had chosen to do this, we could have gotten to know them as unique people in a very common predicament (in romance novels). Developed characters can be interesting in their own right.

In no way, is this book badly written. Kat Martin is a good writer, she just chose to write boring material for this book. I'm in agreement with another reviewer. If you're new to romance novels, you may like this or you may not have a problem rereading the same, old storyline. Overall, I found this book, well written, but boring.

I think a better spin on this storyline is Nan Ryan's "You Belong to My Heart". It's out of print, but available used on Amazon.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2010
This book started out great. I was VERY excited when I read the excerpt and ran to the book store and purchased it on the day it was released, but unfortunately, the beginning was the best part. There were two side stories that took up too much time in the story and Ms. Martin would have done better to devote more time to building the tension between the two main characters. Very little time was devoted to exploring the depth of Reese's emotions. The sex scenes were unimaginative --- very common, typical stuff. This is a decent read if you're new to the genre, but boring if not. If you want a good Kat Martin novel, read Heartless, Creole Fires, or Savannah Heat. Many of her novels begin to sound the same though after a while with the same phraseology, i.e. "wanted her in his bed", "Dear God", "claim her in some way". One final note, I didn't think it was very gentlemanly when Thomas "kissed and told" Reese about his relationship with Annabelle.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 14, 2010
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is mediocre for so many reasons that it is hard for me to select a few to include in this review so I will restrict my comments to my bigget beefs.

The book did not deliver on the white hot passion promised by Resse's initial response to seeing Elizabeth again. In one scene, he burns with hatred, in the next he is having his servant show her to her room.

Given the force of the negative emotion Reese directed at Elizabeth, that character would have had no reason to seek sancutary with him in her time of need. Her early decision to turn to him and his deliverance of protection were compleltly illogical and did not bode well for the rest of the book.

There were too many characters(setting up for future books, no doubt), too many story lines, too many mysteries, too much passionless sex (between the primary AND a secondary couple)and too much focus on the past and the child Jared.

Conversely, there was not enough showing us how and why the couple fell in love in the first place or even why Elizabeth's father was so opposed to Reese. He was the son of a Duke with his own means, for heaven sake, not the local trashman. The idea that her loving father would rather risk scandal and making his daughter a social outcast(he told her future husband that she was pregnant. What if he had rejected her because of it? What if the story had gotten out? If he told his brother, you can guarantee that he told others as well) than have her marry the father of her unborn child who was from an aristocratic family? That's just silly.

The heroine was too much of a victim and did not have much of a personality. Reese and Elizabeth had no chemistry. The writer did not show any love between these two. Sex? Yes. Love? No.

The writer used inappropriate modern figures of speak. Phrases like "Keep me posted", "Travis is seeing Anna" and "We've ruled him out as a suspect" have no place in an historical romance.

Lastly, this book was marred by the of sloppiness the writer AND the editor. We are told early in the book that Travis lost the lower part of his left arm in the war. Yet in a scene with Anna, the writer describes how he "reached and caught her SHOULDERS and she felt the heat of his HANDS as if THEY burned right through her clothes".

This blunder is indicative of the multi-tiered poor effort that went into this book. Not good.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 8, 2010
As always there may be spoilers in this review.

Reese's Bride is Martin's second installment in her new trilogy, and for the most part it is an okay written book. This review is my personal take on how she approached this story, and her main characters.

My major concern with this book, and why I rated it 1 star, is because Martin uses domestic violence as a plot device and I really believed that in doing so she devalued the heroine, showed the hero to be a selfish jerk, and trivialized the issue of abuse.

We have a heroine who is true to the time period-young, a bit weak, and lived under her fathers strict control. After discovering she was pregnant, with her military fiance (Reese) in some part of the Empire, she succumbs to her fathers bullying to marry a titled Lord. Again this is true to the time period, and a great set up for a romance between the jilted fiance and said heroine.

The events thereafter is what jarred me about this book.

1. The heroine suffers abuse at the hands of the husband (sexual, physical and emotional), who dies. She is then slowly poisoned and is sexually harrassed by brother in law who is trying to control her son (heir to the title). Suddenly the heroine stops being a real person, and Kat Martin turns her into a Tess of the Dubervilles-like typecast of the tragic female.

2. The hero, is comtemptuous of her at first (that I understand). However as time passes, he gets to know all of this and yet *still* treats her poorly for the book, and goes after her lustfully for the remainder ,till the last when he realizes that he is in love. Now this is the modus operandi for most romance novels, however *knowing the heroine suffered abuse I really expected a more compassionate hero*. I can still remember the part of the book when she described the 5 inch scar where her bone broke through her skin from being pushed on a dresser. (eeek) Even after that he still acted selfishly when faced with a crisis.

3. Finally the old 'I love you enough to sleep with you but I hate you during the day' is a horrible plot device that is getting old. After Reese discovers a secret Elizabeth was keeping from him, he fell into that trap (again knowing what he did about her past, and her experience with her dead husband, what did he expect her to do? I wish he would just get over himself)

All in all, I would recommend reading it for the trilogy, however, I really wanted to share my views on the story line.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2010
This story is almost insulting! Primarily, it is a rather dull and insensitive story. It almost didn't need to happen, since there was no good reason for the girl (and her wealthy moron father)not to pursue a marriage to Reese who was a Duke's son right when she got pregnant! There is also a very distasteful and disturbing underlining justification that the girl might deserve to get abused by her first loser husband- (as penance)just because she was pressured to make/agree to a lousy decision by her idiot father, after stupid Reese didn't use 'birth control' correctly. The two are NOT very likeable characters. She spends the entire time crying (Kat Martin must be depressed, have PMS, menopause or all three). Reese is fixated on his injured leg, riding his horse and being deprived of his son. Well, if he didn't go off to adventure and war...he wouldn't have the first two problems and he could have brought up his son!!! The storyline has other tedious plots with boring meetings and characters we don't care about. Except for a good laugh when the writing is so messy the 'suspected' spy has an arm which he lost during the war, but grows on the spot when he gets an erection ( I couldn't stop laughing). It is actually amazing with these flat characters that the sex is pretty good. Your choice to see if it's enough to read the book!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2010
There are so many terrible things wrong with this book, but let's boil it down to one:

The hero's brother is a duke. This duke is married to a woman WHO WORKS IN A MILLINERY SHOP.

In London. In 1855.

Are you KIDDING me? A Duchess working behind the counter, making hats for a living? Never happen. Not in 1855, not even in ultraliberal 2010. It's ridiculous. I feel insulted that Ms. Martin could believe I would buy this codswallop.

In the 19th century, British society would have had no problem welcoming a penniless Duke, but no amount of wealth would have gained entree for someone who worked in trade, let alone served behind a shop counter and waited on customers. Ye gods.

Since Ms. Martin has, according to the jacket copy, "more than forty historical and contemporary romance novels" to her credit, I cannot understand why she makes blunders like this in her book. She calls a 19th century bodyguard a "security man". The dialogue assigned to these Victorian characters is colloquial 21st century American. My only conclusions are that Ms. Martin no longer gives a damn about historical accuracy, or that she holds her audience in utter contempt. If the latter, rest assured that the compliment is returned.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2010
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Reese's Bride is the second of Kat Martin's Trilogy. In this book Reese returns from the war injured. Although he prefers the city he promised his father he would manage the estate. Also at home is the woman who seven years ago promised to marry him and then broke his heart by marrying an Earl. In seven years he has never stopped thinking about her. But is it really hate he feels?

Elizabeth has never stopped thinking about Reese but it is love and regret that fills her heart. For seven years while he was at war she was in an abusive relationship.

This plot has all the elements of an exciting story filled sexual tension. However it lacks drama. The characters are endearing nad I am sure I will what to read the other two books in the series. But I felt the danger wasn't sharp enough. The victory of love isn't quite so sweet if the hate isn't bitter. Can you feel their fear if the evil villians are almost lazy? While the book was an enjoyable read I wish it would have had mre of an edge
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