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The Hawk and the Dove Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1988
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Although I was not really impressed with this book, there are still elements of her genius present. She is good at Presenting historical elements within each novel, however I found her characters to be a little superficial and disjointed.
Ms Henley has mastered the art of angst, but with this book I felt that when it mattered most she sort of fizzled. Not to mention the fact that her delving into the realm of the evil Bess... I think the characters should not have been so close to the queen. I would have much preferred that they were on the out skirts of royal life.
So, what am I disgusted with? The sex? Nope. The violence? Nope. The ridiculous heroine? Yes. Her. I don't think I've read a heroine before who reaches this level of immaturity, inappropriateness, and inconsistency. She is a 21st century spoiled brat, doing things that a modern, temper-tantrum-throwing, petulant teenager would do. The author has absolutely no regard for the customs, behavior, or attitudes of the time period. And some of the stupid things this girl does are so bizarrely unnecessary and entirely unconnected to the plot that I was wondering if the author got paid by the word. I have to give an example of this because it's just too hard not to. So the heroine shows up at Queen Elizabeth's birthday celebration dressed as the Greek goddess Diana, in a mid-thigh-length toga with one shoulder and breast completely exposed; she then presents the queen with a gift, turns around, walks out of the hall, slips into an alcove, removes her wig, puts on a cloak and goes back to her room. Really!?!?! I still have no idea why. The author simply says, over and over, that the heroine wants to humiliate the queen because the queen is apparently too entitled, controlling, and bitchy--kind of like a . . . well, a queen, maybe? That never would have happened. Ever. And that pales in comparison with the heroine's prime motivation throughout the story. Her husband marries her by proxy and then sends her to live on one of his remote estates, never having met her. And so she's going to seduce him, learn his secrets, and then destroy him. Really? To what end? Anyone from that era would know that destroying her own husband would have left her nowhere, with nothing and no one. This heroine is brazen and crass, and the author allows her to behave like an immature "mean girl", and there are never any social consequences. It's the most bizarre "historical" romance I've ever read. It reads like a book conceived when a group of teenage girls got together for a romance-novel-writing brainstorm session.
I will never be able to un-read this book, so all I can hope for is that the writing of this review will aid in the purge. “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!”
Shane had promised his father he would marry, and to stave off Queen Bess' jealousy and because he did not really want a wife, he had his solicitor find a country lass who had some land in Ireland he wanted and married her by proxy. Little did he know his new wife was the red-haired Irish vixen, Sara Bishop, referred to by her jealous half siblings as "Sabre Wilde" after her dead father and his sword. Shane planned to have his brother Matthew take Sara to one of his estates and dump her there, never wishing to meet her. Ah, but Sara--as Sabre--has a different plan. She intends to go to Court and seduce her husband and become his mistress, making him her love slave and having her revenge.
You have to love this heroine. She is fiercely independent, courageous, feisty and smart. Just the woman to tame a wild man like Shane Hawkhurst. And Shane is a man worthy of taming. Both have Irish blood running through their veins--at a time when Queen Elizabeth feared the rebellious Irish. So the sparks fly continuously. It's one of the things Henley does so well--excellent characters and a plot with great twists and turns!
Henley's love scenes are unique and fit the people and the story, so very well done, very sexy and not contrived. It is so worth it to dive into one of her complex, winsome tales.
In addition to wonderful characters, a great plot and interesting history, she has included some great one-liners. One of my favorites was: "...to be Irish is to know the world will break your heart before you are thirty." So true.
Get this one; you won't regret it!
Keep writing Virginia!