- File Size: 1069 KB
- Print Length: 253 pages
- Publisher: ORCHARD HILL BOOKS (December 7, 2013)
- Publication Date: December 7, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00AT4NPTA
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #838,057 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Dark Whisky Road Kindle Edition
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Jen Black has done that admirably in Victorian Beauty, which succeeds on a number of levels, where others have failed abysmally. Read the plot synopses elsewhere--I`m more interested in the author's skills at making what could have been a hackneyed tale come alive again, fresh and fun to read. First, her writing is smooth, economical and, in quite a few places, graceful and evocative. There was never one of those moments, on the first page or elsewhere, where I had to sigh, hoping the writing would improve as I turned the pages. It was good from the beginning--what a relief! Second, Ms. Black's setting--the North of England--is one she knows, so now I know it as well, or at least that small part of it. Her descriptions are elegant, imparting exactly what's needed to lead the reader fully into the scene, and then move on. That's a neat trick which many authors have failed to master. Most important, however, are her characters, Melanie Grey and Lord Jarrow. Melanie is neither a beauty nor a typical Victorian noblewoman, but most fortunate for the discerning reader, she is not a "feisty" heroine saddled with the ridiculous trappings of the 21st century. She's vulnerable, to be sure, and she has her moments of fear and weakness, but she leavens those with an endearing nosiness--this woman will pry into things in a heartbeat!--a rather endearing refusal to be obsequious to anyone, including her employer, and a bit of rock-solid strength when she needs it. Jarrow has his moments of brooding, but for reasons that become clear only much later in the book, and are quite a revelation. He may be tall, dark, and moderately handsome, but I don't hold that against him--no one will eventually fall in love with a troll. The interactions between these two provide the requisite sparks, conflicting outlooks on the world and how it works, and an intriguing two steps forward, one step back pas de deux that makes an historical romance so entertaining--when it's done right, as it is here.
Ms. Black consistently writes outside the mold, the formula, the whatever-it-is of historical romance, which makes for a much more enjoyable read. Her style, to include the sometimes wry, sometimes quotidian, and almost always refreshing take on her characters and the period she portrays, is a breath of fresh air. There's a lot of junk out there, folks, so spend your time and money wisely. This is a book I can recommend without reservation, and I don't usually like historical romances. However, the author has delivered a crisp, polished, and well-paced novel with more than a couple of characters worth getting to know.
The heroine is a widow. Her marriage had been a nightmare -- her husband had been several years older than she and a vicious brute. He had the tendency to drink and would abuse her. The night of his death he had thrown a lamp filled with hot oil at her, burning away some of her hair and scarring one side of her face. He suffered some sort of attack and died. She was taken in to recover by a good friend. The man's son made sure she would get nothing. She had applied for and been hired as housekeeper at a house in a rural area.
The hero is a widower. His wife had fallen from her horse and died. As a result the hero's young daughter wasn't allowed to have a horse of her own.
The pair have a time adjusting to each other. She can't seem to remember she is a servant and he has only agreed to let her stay for a six months trial period. He slowly discovered he is attracted to her and barely noticed her scars.
There are a couple of surprises for both -- when he was wounded she found out he was involved in smuggling whiskey, and she confessed to him who she was. Her social rank was much above his.
The abuse she had suffered made her reluctant to trust men. He had to put an end to the memories of his first wife. At first she was written as a charming woman, but later she came off as being greedy and a spendthrift. Not quite the saint her husband was remembering.
The book kept my interest long enough to finish it but I won't read it again.
She had a difficult time trusting men due to her awful, aged husband and he has trouble getting past his first wife's death. They also had a difficult time being employee - employer. Then they find they are attracted to each other but because of their stations in life, it's impossible to act on anything. The characters were interesting and the descriptions of the area left me feeling as though I was there.
Melanie Grey is not only physically scarred, she is also fleeing the nightmares of her recent past, which is why this lady of noble birth dons a disguise of sorts and takes the position of housekeeper at Gavington, a property in Northumberland.
Adam, Lord Jarrow, master of Gavington, is a broody sort, still apparently struggling with grief after the death of his wife six years previously. At least that is the excuse for his continued isolation on his country estate, but as Melanie gets to know her new master she has reason to believe he may have other reasons for shunning company.
With an engaging cast of characters and a fun – if somewhat predictable – plot, Dark Whiskey Road is an easy, entertaining read. Good dialogue, well-crafted prose and a good eye for those historical details that give the reader the illusion of being elsewhere, combine into making this a book I can definitely recommend!
I enjoyed the smuggling theme of the novel. The characters were quite defined although to my mind there wasn't a lot of chemistry between the male and female lead. The "chemistry" just wasn't there IMO.
It's certainly a well written novel but didn't stand out in the genre of historical romance, suspense, mystery.
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" Jen Black writes with a crisp, refreshing style and elegant descriptions which take her reader right into the...Read more