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Seven Nights to Forever Paperback – November 2, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
A scorned husband finds love in the arms of an elegant courtesan in this passionate and touching Regency. Respectable country gentlewoman Rose Marlowe supports her brother and repays her dead father's substantial debts by working seven sensual nights a month in an exclusive brothel. Wealthy merchant James Archer, locked into a terrible marriage as the price of his younger sister's entry into high society, seeks satisfaction in her arms. As their seven nights speed by, Collins (Her Ladyship's Companion) builds a skillful and sensitive portrait of their journey to passion and love. James's villainous wife is shallowly portrayed, but his surprisingly mature sister, Rebecca, and, especially, the bisexual prostitute Timothy Ashton, Rose's close friend, deserve their own turns in the spotlight. Though the setting is not particularly specific or rich in period detail, the sizzling central romance is exceptionally good and will entirely satisfy fans of sensual historicals. (Nov.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In her second novel after Her Ladyship’s Companion (2009), Collins uses the conventions of the Regency genre to bring together two exploited people. After her father dies, leaving her with a mound of debt, a younger brother, and no marketable skills, Rose Marlowe goes to London one week a month to work as a prostitute at an exclusive brothel. Pushed into a loveless marriage by his father, who uses him to get connections to the peerage, James Archer succumbs to visiting a brothel and meets Rose. Without sparing them or the reader all of the roadblocks in their way, Collins traces their relationship from the awkward first meetings to their sense that they were meant to be together. Rose and James, however, are nothing if not realistic and practical. Collins adeptly makes readers not only like the lovers, but also feel sympathetic about their plight, while using gentle erotica to spice their ultimately satisfying courtship. --Pat Henshaw
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James' father forced him to marry Amelia who despised him, insulted him, and flaunted her lovers in his face. James' younger sister Rebecca will be coming out - her first season. The deal was that Amelia, with her title and connections, would sponsor Rebecca to help her find a titled husband. James has endured loneliness for three years, being married to Amelia. He goes to Madame Rubicon's brothel wanting a woman who is kind and who desires him. He meets Rose and sees her every night. For the first time in years James is happy.
Rose's father died eight years ago, leaving massive debts due to gambling. She became a mistress to earn money to pay off the debts and send her younger brother Dash to expensive schools. After her patron abused her, she joined Madame Rubicon's brothel where she works one week a month. This allows her to provide Dash with an expensive lifestyle. When Dash was ten, she didn't tell him about their father's debts. Now Dash is eighteen, and she doesn't tell him she has been working as a prostitute because he will think less of her. Of course she has to work even more now because Dash runs up large gambling debts.
The overall plot is predictable. We have the above setup, and we know they will fall in love, be happy at the end, and the rich guy will support her so she no longer has to be with other men. This is romance so having a predictable plot is ok. What is not ok is all the stuff that happens while they get to know each other and how they get to the happy ending. This was the problem. She "makes up reasons" to worry about things, to feel bad about herself, to leave him, and to plan to stop seeing him. For example page 234: They are in love and spending time together. All of a sudden she thinks about his younger sister and then thinks to herself "she was not the type of woman a decent gentleman ever wanted to introduce to his sister...he would never be proud to have her on his arm." Therefore she packs up and leaves him. He catches up to her and asks why. She won't tell him why. Another example page 248: They know they love each other. She decides never to see him again because "He had found his way into her heart." She takes action so that he won't see her and can't find her. Please give me interesting conversation and believable conflicts. This book doesn't have that. She just makes things up to cause conflicts.
The best part of the book is the character James. I had such sympathy and care for him. He's kind and caring to both Rose and his sister. He adores Rose and wants to take care of her. What's not to like? Rose make poor/stupid decisions by not telling Dash the truth about his dad and her. Rose makes poor/stupid decisions in her actions with James. The sex scenes are fine but would have been better with a better story.
Story length: 313 pages. Swearing language: mild, including religious swear words. Sexual language: moderate. Number of sex scenes: 11. Estimated number of sex scene pages: 18. Setting: 1819 London and rural areas nearby. Copyright: 2010. Genre: regency romance.
Rose and James are both characters who come from backgrounds filled with abuse and pain. I thought the dovetailing of their situations - each stuck where they are out of devotion to a younger sibling - worked perfectly. It created a beautiful chemistry between them, and believable understanding despite Rose's occupation as a prostitute. They both grew as the story progressed, inspired by each other but independent as well.
I thought it was well written, and I look forward to reading another by Evangeline Collins.
So you can be forgiven for asking why I have not given this book 5 stars. There are several reasons for this. The first reason is that the ending fizzled out and the way things were settled was too pat. I don't mind if a historical romance doesn't stick to fact or reality - I can live with a little divergence from the truth, and I do like my happy-ever-after endings. However, the ease with which James was going to get a divorce did not sit with the era. It would have taken years and would have meant incredible disgrace for James, especially as he was not aristocracy and able to get away with it easily. I would have liked to see more angsting about that from James and Rose, which would have added an additional layer to their story.
The other aspect I felt uncomfortable about was James. He really is a darling, and as one of the other reviewers said, when he all he asks for in the whorehouse is a woman to be kind...that is heart breaking. At the same time, he feels a tad weak, especially when you consider the power he would have had in his own house. And I think what is missing is information about his wife. If we had more information about her, and why and what she was thinking, we might have a better understanding of James' behaviour.
Al that being said, this is a lovely romance that I whole heartedly recommend. However, the inconsistencies ensures it is not a keeper for me.
Most recent customer reviews
Seven Nights to Forever is an unfortunate case of a novel that starts well, rockets up for a while, and then crashes down in a...Read more
RRAH's THOUGHTS AND PONDERINGS:
How do you take prostitution and infidelity and turn it into a...Read more
Very sweet historical romance. I usually like my heroes a little rougher than James was but he was so sweet to Rose and they were PERFECT for each other.