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Stroke of Genius Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Bryan has a great handle on the material and her characters, creating a charming, colorful story with an intricate, fast-paced story line.Publishers Weekly on Distracting the Duchess

“Wickedly witty writing and wonderfully entertaining characters are the key ingredients in Bryan's sinfully sexy historical romance." —Booklist

“An author to watch.”—Michelle Buonfiglio, LifetimeTV.com

“This arresting tale [is] thrilling, inspiring and sensual all at the same time. I won't forget this author's name. " —Barbara Vey, Publishers Weekly Beyond Her Book blog

“Bryan's delicious and witty romance has engaging characters whose fast-paced adventures will truly delight."—RT BookReviews on Vexing the Viscount

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Also known as Diana Groe and Mia Marlowe, Bryan is the winner of the 2009 Romantic Times K.I.S.S. Award, as well as a finalist for Book Buyers Best and Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence. She learned much of what she knows about writing from singing. A classically trained soprano, she gleaned the elements of storytelling while performing operatic roles. She describes her light-hearted stories as Gilbert & Sullivan . . . with sex! Emily’s books have been translated into German, Dutch, Italian, Russian and Spanish. She regularly receives fan mail from around the globe. Emily and her husband have lived in nine different states, but she now makes her home in the heart of New England.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Leisure Books (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0843963611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843963618
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,877,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Writers start as readers.

I discovered early that a book was a whole world. As a child, I sneaked books into bed. I nearly ruined my eyes reading by the thin strip of light shafting in the crack of my bedroom door. When I was in middle school, even though I didn't like our creepy basement, I volunteered to take the bedroom down there so I could keep my light on without my parents' knowledge. One summer, I stayed up till 2 or 3 every night reading the complete works of Mark Twain, Shakespeare's plays and every Ann of Green Gables book I could get my hands on. Stories of adventure, laughter, pain or triumph'I willingly traded a full night's sleep for time spent with my literary friends.

In 2001, I started writing my own stories. In May 2006, my debut novel, MAIDENSONG, was published by Leisure Books under my real name, Diana Groe. ERINSONG followed in November 2006 and SILK DREAMS in July 2007. These are epic, dramatic tales'full of passion and angst in exotic settings.

When I wrote DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS, its light-hearted and frankly sexier style was such a departure from the first three books, my editor suggested a different penname. Emily Bryan was born. Light or dark, serious or silly'we need equal portions of laughter and tears to stay balanced. I hope you make room on your bookshelves for both my incarnations.

Just don't be mad if I keep you up some night.

After all, don't you deserve happily ever after?

Happy Reading,


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really liked this book. I grew to really like the main characters after a little initial uncertainty; and the dialogue was witty enough, and the love scenes steamy enough, to make this a hard-to-put-down, really enjoyable read. Emily Bryan is becoming a favorite of mine.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is yet another historical romance whose historical accuracy is very poor. If that doesn't bother you then the rest of the book is probably perfectly entertaining - a story of an illegitimate sculptor who, when working on a sculpture of the latest heiress (an American), finds her rather more interesting than he had expected. However, if, like me, setting a book in a particular historical time means that it ought to be congruent with that time, this book was very disappointing. I couldn't separate my knowledge of behaviour then with what was going on in the story and it all felt terribly inauthentic.

The romance between Crispin Hawke and Grace Makepeace was also rather wooden to this reader. Grace's 21st Century behaviour with Crispin meant that the romance progressed rather faster than might have occurred during that time, but I didn't feel that the author ever really showed a genuine connection of minds between the two. She had to use some rather awkward plot devices too - such as Grace being invited to a house party in the country and consequently Crispin being also invited so that he can continue with the sculpture. Really? Would anyone apart from Grace's mother care that it would be delayed a week if Crispin didn't come?

The very end of the book picked up a little as we learned more about Crispin's family. However the impression gained from this book overall is a passable story but set in the wrong historical era for the characters' behaviour.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2010
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was anxious to read this after I read Vexing the Viscount. I had really enjoyed that book, but I didn't feel a connection with this book like I did in the other one. Crispin Hawke, a self-made phenom of a sculptor and Grace Makepeace, tall Bostonian whose mother is looking for a titled husband for her, meet when he is to sculpt her and the sparks fly. I'm not going to go into the details of the story, just say that I didn't feel the heart in this book that I did in other books. Grace seemed just a little hard-hearted to me, even though I don't really think she was. It was a mystery to me why I didn't really like this book that much. It should have worked, but, ultimately it didn't. It seemed to rely a little too much on sex and I have to say, Grace's French maid and her escapades with Crispin's valet bordered on skanky, in my opinion.
Maybe I would have a different feeling if I read this at another time. There were things I did like--the little snippets of Crispin's early life and his dealings with Olympia were interesting and I could see why he was the way he was. I really didn't care for his name--Crispin. Just not romance hero enough for me. Again, just my opinion. But, I did like him. My problem was more with Grace. Just didn't cotton to her for much of the book and that ruined my pleasure in this book. Throw in her oversexed maid and it adds up to a book I didn't enjoy that much.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Grace Makepeace arrives from Boston for her first London season. In order for her daughter to attend the Ton's top galas, Grace's mom asks renowned artist Crispin Hawke to sculptor her offspring's hands while Grace prefers other lessons from the rake. He already drew her, his scandalous style having "met" her in his dreams.

Crispin is the prototype of the arrogant aristocrat while Grace is the brash Bostonian. However, his intellectual conceit means nothing to Grace who rips his skin for being so haughty. As they clash and argue, he sculpts and she writes her version of Pygmalian, they fall in love. However, each wonders why total opposites although strongly attracted to one another repel each other.

This amusing historical romance is a classic gender war tale of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object; as the attracted opposites battle one another. Meanwhile their devoted servants Wyckham and Claudette also fall in love but their loyalty to their respective employers tested. Fans will enjoy the love between the Charles and the Thames as Grace proves Crispin the genius is a dope when it comes to love.

Harriet Klausner
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