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Splendor Mass Market Paperback – December 15, 1997

3.7 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In the tradition of Kathleen Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers, Splendor is classic romance at its best. Comprising a rich tapestry of characters, Brenda Joyce's novel brings to life the intrigue-filled parlors of Regency England and the hauntingly beautiful cities of war-torn Russia. Bluestocking Carolyn Browne, daughter of a bookseller, is both brilliant and daring: by day she sells books; by night she masquerades as a gentleman to collect fodder for the scandalous gossip column she writes for a London newspaper. When the dashing Russian Prince Nicholas Sverayov arrives in London on a mission, Carolyn plots to expose the notorious rake. But she underestimates Sverayov, and finds herself deeply attracted to him. Sverayov, though, is unable to commit to Carolyn because although he and his wife are estranged, his daughter and country must come first. Carolyn has always lived by her principles and finds she must compromise if she is meant to be with this dashing, courageous hero.

Review

"This novel mesmerizes and holds a reader's attention from first page to last. Brenda Joyce is a grand mistress at building tension to a crescendo as she constructs a fascinating plot peopled with intriguing characters to intensify the whole reading experience. SPLENDOR is splendid and gives those seeking a vivid and more powerful romance with an undercurrent of sensuality just what they desire."
--RT Book Reviews (Top Pick!)
 
"A complex narrative, lots of historical detail and a heroic era--the Napoleonic wars.... Carolyn Browne ... is a heroine readers will root for."
--Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 486 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; First Edition edition (December 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312963912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312963910
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,120,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Set in Regency London and war-torn Russia in 1812, this is the story of a British commoner and a Russian prince. Carolyn Browne is the daughter of a common bookseller and a woman who left her noble heritage for love. Years later, her mother dead, Carolyn lives above the bookshop with her father. To make money and have her laughs on London society, she writes a gossip column under a man's pen name, exposing the hypocrisy of the upper crust. But then she meets Prince Nicholas Sverayov, a colonel in the Russian army and friend of the tzar. He has come to London forge an alliance between his country and England. He is married to a beautiful princess, who he has not slept with for 5 years because she cheated on him. He never loved her and each has gone their separate ways in the bedroom. They have a young 6-year old daughter who Nickolas is not sure is even his.

This story, while well told, raised several problems for me and those are reflected in the low reviews. The hero started to look rather unheroic when, as an older, experienced married man, he seduces the 18 year old virgin--a woman he has no intention of marrying (not that he could). The heroine was also a problem for me. She came across as stupid, though she is supposedly an intellectual. She also comes across as self-righteous. I don't like heroines that are stupid and self-righteous. Disguised as a young man (to sneak into society's galas and gather her gossip, she doesn't even wonder why a much older, worldly Russian prince, known for his conquests with women, would spend an evening with an 18 year old boy? Please. Then, when as a female, that same Russian prince turns his attention on her, she thinks she can outsmart the rake. Please. For all her speeches about morality, she is the one who asks the married prince to kiss her.
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By A Customer on December 4, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought that this book started with an interesthing begining: A woman dressing up as a man so that she can get the scoop on what was going on in the ton, to use in her well known satirical articles in the news paper.The author uses exotic settings and characters, a Russian prince, a books sellers daughter. Two very different types of people some how comming together and finding love with one another. This book unfortuately sort of stretches out to much becoming monotoness and boring. I guess you could say it gets a flat tire near the end. I was very dissapointed, reading the back of the book I thought that I had found a treasure, but instead I came up with a chest full of hot air.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book many years ago and liked it a lot, so maybe it is different because I grew up, but I was kind of let down. I loved the story and the historical time, but I was so disappointed by the characters and this concept that the guy always has to be this powerful and gorgeous guy etc. and the female somewhat independent, but falling fast in love with him. I like Brenda Joyce, but ..., or maybe it is just me and I am simply too demanding.
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By A Customer on March 3, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The synopsis on the back cover offered so much promise for this story. Unfortunately, it fell way short of its potential. In truth, I could not like the main characters. They annoyed me (especially the heroine). I tend to like strong intelligent women and found her weak. I would never have made such foolish choices, and it went beyond love straight into stupidity.
Others seemed to like this book, but I could not erase the annoyance I felt with the selfish hero and weak heroine. There is a difference between laying down your pride and foolishness. I prefer women with a little more self esteem and wisdom.
In addition, I would not recommend this book to impressionable teenage minds. I don't like the way she ignored the advice of her father regarding this married man. It reminded me of a willful selfish and stubborn teenager, who thinks she knows everything. These are not traits that endear me to any character. I found her lacking. Of course, she was not all bad-- but just not good enough.
I am afraid that I cannot recommend this book. This is one of the worst romance novels I have read this year.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Actually, I did not think this book was as bad as some think, but neither did I think it was as good as others think. My opinion only. It was recommended to me by another reader who loved it. The heroine was a bit too flighty for my tastes. I prefer strong, intelligent heroines, or at least a good reason for vacillating. However, I've read The Conqueror and detested that book, and I think that Ms Joyce has certainly drawn much finer characters and created a believable, intriguing plot in Splendor. My suggestion is to read the book for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is my first book by Brenda Joyce but it will not be my last. and I am very glad that I do not read reviews before I decide what to read becuz some of the reviews here were surprisingly not as favorable as I felt the book was. I thought Nicholas and Caroline were a true tortured couple that kept fighting to survive their love. When I realized what short time had passed from when they first met to the end of the book it is hard to encompass all the difficulties they lived and loved through. I thought both Nicholas and Caroline were beautifully written and their love story a heartfelt one indeed. I will now buy more of Brenda Joyes's novels!!
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