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Through the Smoke [Kindle Edition]

Brenda Novak
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

A shocking betrayal…

Riches. Power. An ancient heritage of pride. The Earl of Druridge wanted only for an heir. So when he learned that his wife was carrying another man’s child, he was filled with a thirst for vengeance.

But he wasn’t the one who caused Katherine’s death. Or was he? To his horror, he remembers nothing of that dreadful night, when their last shocking confrontation ended in scorching flame and cold blood.

A forbidden love…

Rachel McTavish, the beautiful daughter of a coal miner, knows something about the fire that took Lady Katherine’s life. In secret, the strong-willed girl strikes a bargain with the desperate earl: he must send his physician to help her dying mother or he may go to the scaffold—and the devil. The earl agrees, but Rachel is still unsure that her revelation will be enough to save him when so many wish him dead.

Passionately drawn to the nobleman, despite all the doubt and mystery that shrouds him, Rachel wonders if he can really be a murderer. Or if he is the only man who will ever own her heart…

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Novak (Home to Whiskey Creek) delivers a pulse-pounding tale of a disgraced earl and the shopkeeper he falls for, set against the backdrop of labor organizing in 1840 England. Truman Stanhope, Lord Druridge, is accused of killing his wife, who was pregnant with another man's child. Villager Rachel McTavish comes to Truman seeking aid for her ailing mother. Truman believes Rachel knows who set the fire that killed his wife. While Rachel admits that her father was approached to do the deed, she claims he had an attack of conscience. Could the murderer be Wythe, Truman's sneaky cousin—even though Wythe saved him from the same fire? And what part will missing paintings play in the proceedings? Truman is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, even as he falls for Rachel, while she must dodge powerful enemies who distrust all nobles and those who associate with them. This compelling tale delivers many surprising twists on its way to a solid conclusion. Agent: Dan Raines, Creative Trust Literary Group. (Oct.)


"Novak's dark and brooding tale of love, passion, and obsession will curl your toes and warm your heart!" —Sabrina Jeffries, New York Times bestselling author

"Novak sets out to create an unforgettable romance in Through the Smoke and succeeds with flying colors. Readers will find her story oozing with passion, captivating and next to impossible to put down...a phenomenal ending." —RT Book Reviews, 4 stars

"Through the Smoke swept me off my feet! [T]his is a true honest-to-goodness sweeping historical romance that was a joy to read." —Harlequin Junkie, Top Pick

"Novak has drawn us into a maze of peril that page by page draws us closer and closer to what we hope will be a happy ending. But, clearly Novak wants to keep us guessing till the very end. Once again Novak has a cast of great characters [and] a compelling storyline … as we have come to expect." —Fresh Fiction

Product Details

  • File Size: 2279 KB
  • Print Length: 315 pages
  • Publisher: Montlake Romance (October 15, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,988 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Neither Believable Nor Entertaining November 3, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm not a stickler for total historical accuracy because I can't pretend to know more about England in the 1800s than what I read in (primarily) romance novels that take place during the era. However, I do expect an author to at least write within the realm of the believable. Unfortunately, I was unable to suspend disbelief as I read much of this novel.

In this book, the hero is the Earl of Druridge, whose wife died after a suspicious fire in his home. He is bent on clearing his name, though he himself isn't exactly sure of his own innocence. Rachel MacTavish is the daughter of a deceased miner who worked for Druridge. He mistakenly believes that she holds the truth about the fire.

This story might have worked if there were some sexual tension that led up to the two falling for each other. Instead, Rachel is practically raped by the earl (she is semi-conscious through it, and the author would have us believe she enjoys the experience, but I wasn't sold). What follows is a series of events that simply breaks all the boundaries and rules of the time period. The earl doesn't just move Rachel into his home; he moves her into his dead wife's suite, dresses her in his dead wife's clothes, and gives her the run of his household. I suppose he's supposed to be a tortured hero, but he just came across as weak, ineffectual, and clueless at times. So much so that I don't think the mystery of the fire is much of mystery to readers for very long.

If you expect historical accuracy in your historicals, and if you expect romance in your romances, I'd pass on this one.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good Romance AND Mystery novel September 16, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Rachel McTavish is a small town bookseller's daughter, and ordinarily would not come into contact with the nobility, but Rachel has something the Earl of Druridge desperately needs, information about his wife's death. Now Rachel's mother is desperately ill, and the earl offer's her a trade- information for a doctor's care for her mother.

I thought this was going to be a romance novel with a little mystery thrown in, but the mystery and romance parts came out more or less equally weighted. Rachel isn't the typical heroine, and this isn't a typical setting, and some of the other characters were unusual as well. Rachel's father and brother were both miners in the Earl's coal mine, and the Earl is generally hated for low pay and dangerous work conditions. When Rachel begins to associate with the earl, the town turns on her. She begins to realize that there is something going on at the mine, and someone doesn't want her to talk to the Earl about it. But if the Earl cannot prove that his wife was murdered by someone else, he will have to marry a powerful lord's daughter to keep his wife's family from having him prosecuted and possibly hanged.

While the end was fairly predictable (it is a romance novel after all) the plot was very well written, and there were plenty of twists and turns along the way. There were exciting fight and rescue scenes and plenty of suspense. Some of the villains turned out not to be quite so bad, and some of the "nice" characters proved fickle in the end. This is not a typical romance but it was a good read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great gothic mystery! October 23, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Ok so this is a Brenda Novak book...then I will read it! But it's a far departure from her whiskey creek series that I adore but don't let the historical genre deter you.
The Earl of Druridge wants an heir, but his wife hasn't given him one...but now she's pregnant and she's claiming its his. But he knows its not...then there's a mysterious fire and her death...what?!? Just the synopsis grabbed me into this story! From there the pages keep turning because you must find out what happened with the Earl and the forbidden Rachel who knows more than she says.
Brenda Novak grabs your attention from the first page and you will not be able to put this book down!!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little too pat but still a lovely historical romance September 7, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The story opens in January 1838 with Truman Stanhope, Earl of Druridge, rushing to his home after receiving a letter from his wife that she is pregnant. Unfortunately, Stanhope well knows that the child is not his so he is determined to divorce Katherine. Only somehow she dies, his house is set on fire and he is rescued just barely by his cousin Wyeth.

The next chapter moves 2 years and a month forward to February 1840 and we are in the small village of Cresswell, England where Rachel McTavish and her mother have a bookstore. Rachel also has a much younger brother. The Earl of Druridge comes in the store to see her. He has heard she had some information about the fire/murder that occurred two years before. Stanhope has no memory of the events and fears that Scotland Yard or even the local police might eventually arrest him as the culprit.

I enjoyed for the most part how the events in the story unfolded but felt two things were a bit too cliche: Early on it is mentioned that most of the men and a few women and children work the coal mine that belongs to the Earl. Conditions there are horrible but yet this very smart intelligent Earl doesn't know anything about it?

Secondly, I think it is cliched to have an Early matched up with a commoner especially in those historical times. Too many romance writers use this plot device and it is, in my opinion, overdone.

That all being said, the story was fun!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars book that u can't out down
Loved the historical setting, great development of characters and plot.I will read more of brenda novaks books.better than nora Roberts.
Published 2 days ago by Shakrat
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
Loved it! I fell in love with the characters! Suspenseful and great storyline. I look forward to reading more from Brenda Novak
Published 11 days ago by Brooklyn Krone
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story and character deelopment
I enjoyed this book even though I usually don't read many suspense novels. There were many plotlines and the characters were interesting.
Published 19 days ago by rkgeorg
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
I enjoyed this novel. It is written in the best traditions of Historical Romance. The story is gripping and keeps you intrigued until the very end. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Luba Briginets
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story
I really liked the book and it's story. There were a lot of characters that had involvement in the whole story line.
Published 2 months ago by Amanda
3.0 out of 5 stars Historical Romance
I don't read much of the romance genre, but the historical backbone of this novel was enticing. A very pleasant surprise. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Scott Fortune
5.0 out of 5 stars another good book
I recommend this book. It is a book that is full of intrigue and keeps you wondering "what next". I really enjoyed this book.
Published 3 months ago by blouie35
5.0 out of 5 stars Super good!!!
this was one of Brenda's better books. I have read a lot of her work but this one was hard to put down. I really like the mystery of the story.
Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This is the type of book you can't put down a gripping tale with love able
characters and you will be totally engrossed till the end.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick, fun read!
I enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, and I enjoyed the storyline. This is not the type of book I normally read, so I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did. Read more
Published 3 months ago by April Turner
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More About the Author

Brenda Novak Bio

It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak's career as a bestselling author--she caught her day-care provider drugging her children with cough syrup to get them to sleep all day. That was when Brenda decided she needed to quit her job as a loan officer and help make a living from home.

"When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book," Brenda says. But she sold that book, and the rest is history. Her novels have made the New York Times, USA Today and Borders/Waldenbooks bestseller lists and won many awards, including three Rita nominations, the Book Buyer's Best, the Book Seller's Best and the National Reader's Choice Award.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are proud parents of five children--three girls and two boys. When she's not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fund-raiser for diabetes research--an online auction held on her Web site ( every May. Brenda has raised over $1.6 million to date.

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