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Sweet Release: Kenleigh-Blakewell Family Saga, Book 1 (Volume 1) Paperback – February 1, 2013
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"A stunning debut novel that captures hearts and imaginations from page one, Sweet Release delivers a sensuous tale of lust, betrayal, redemption and freedom." ---RT Book Reviews --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
USA Today best-selling author Pamela Clare began her writing career as an investigative journalist and eventually became the first woman editor of two different newspapers. Along the way, she won numerous state and national honors, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service and Colorado Society of Professional Journalist's Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award. A single mother with two grown sons, she writes historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.
Untamed (MacKinnon's Rangers series #2)
Defiant (MacKinnon's Rangers series #3)
Upon A Winter's Night (MacKinnon's Rangers series #3.5)
Sweet Release (Kenleigh-Blakewell Family Saga #1)
Carnal Gift (Kenleigh-Blakewell Family Saga #2)
Ride the Fire ( (Kenleigh-Blakewell Family Saga #3)
Her romantic suspense titles include:
I-Team Series --
Extreme Exposure (I-Team #1)
Heaven Can't Wait (I-Team #1.5)
Hard Evidence (I-Team #2)
Unlawful Contact (I-Team #3
Naked Edge (I-Team #4)
Breaking Point (I-Team #5)
Skin Deep (I-Team #5.5)
First Strike ( (I-Team #5.9)
Striking Distance ( (I-Team #6)
She lives in her home state of Colorado in the shadow of the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
Top customer reviews
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The chemistry and love between these two was extremely sexy but also really touching. Cassie and Alec's romance was full of passion, and the things they say and do for each other moved me emotionally. Their's was no easy road without obstacles but they endure, and protect, and love each other throughout the entire ordeal. I caught myself with tears in my eyes a couple of times for the heartbreak they go through and the faith they have in each other.
There were many characters in this book most of whom were great except of course for the villain, Geoffrey, and one of Cassie's bondswomen, Elly, who I couldn't stand. This is book 1 in the Blakewell/Kenleigh Family Trilogy, and I'm so looking forward to "Carnal Gift" next. Just a beautiful and heartfelt love story with a well thought out and engaging plot. I was extremely impressed with Ms. Clare's writing and would recommend this book to one and all =)
Mistaken identity with devastating results!
Alec Kenleigh is assaulted on the streets of London and his next conscious thought is in the colonies. He's now a "bonded convict," purchased by Catherine (Cassie) Blakewell for her Virginia plantation near Williamsburg. Her purchase was more a sentimental rescue as Alec was near death. As he begins his recovery, no one believes his story that he's not the convicted rapist, Cole Braden. Meanwhile, Alec's family believes he's been murdered as his brother, Philip, has identified a body as being Alec.
About the setting
My most favorite historical romances are those set in America as they allow for more expansive storylines. This story starts in the year 1730 so while it's in the colonies, they are still under British rule with many of the societal restrictions and customs though the ownership of slaves is unique to America. Even Alec comments on how abhorrent a practice it is, an affront to English gentry. Cassie's family owns slaves and it's honestly acknowledged that their plantation couldn't afford to run without unpaid labor. Life at Blakewell Neck is honestly portrayed with all the boils of the period, though Cassie's father had very liberal ideals that created a somewhat better lifestyle than most.
What I enjoyed
Alec's dilemma was interesting and believable, making for some challenging situations as it's no easy matter to verify his identity when it's tied to another continent. Cassie's situation was also intriguing given that women had no rights in that era. There's a strong cast of secondary characters that add flavor to the story, including an irritating but evil fop out to win Cassie's heart (and her property). There's lots of tension, duplicity and romance that kept me in the story and things progress rather rapidly. I especially liked Alec and Cassie's steamy romance.
If you're interested in reading this book, do yourself a favor and get the audio version just to indulge in the delightful performance of Kaleo Griffith. I fell for his voice when listening to Clare's Surrender and he's just as skilled here. He handles a huge cast expertly, though Cassie sounds a little raspy at times but Alec was a huge hit.
The bottom line
This is an extremely interesting story that is expertly narrated. If you're a fan of American historical romance, this should be part of your collection. There are so few set in the pre-civil war era and that historical context adds even more value to the reading experience. The romance works (there are several of them in play) and I'm definitely continuing the series.
(I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)
In 1730, Alec Kenleigh owns a shipbuilding company in London. His ne'er-do-well younger brother Philip is an alcoholic up to all sorts of mischief. When Alec decides to withhold money until Philip gets his act together, Philip threatens that he'll regret it.
Months later, Cassie Blackwell lives in eighteenth century Virginia but has a modern sensibility about the role of women. She's feisty and strong, and secretly runs a huge tobacco plantation because her father is incapacitated by dementia. When it's time to buy slaves off the boat, her heart goes out to a badly beaten Englishman convict, and she decides to buy him (basically saving his life). His reported crime? Ravishment of women, aka rape.
Turns out the suspected convict is Alec Kenleigh. Someone wanted him out of the picture and swapped his identity with a dead prisoner. But nobody in America believes his story. He will have to serve 14 years as an indentured servant unless he can prove his real identity.
Cassie starts to question his reported crimes when she witnesses Alec's strong work ethic and kindness toward her young brother. She's under great pressure to hide her father's infirmity -- no way a woman could be CEO of the estate back then -- and her pressure only builds with the growing attraction she feels toward Alec. As an unmarried woman, she would risk everything by having sex with him.
Alec, unfortunately, can't get Cassie out of his head. He doesn't want to ruin her reputation but all he can think about is bedding her. The Virginia summer isn't the only part of the story that's steamy!
Pamela Clare is masterful at creating strong heroines and honorable heroes, and Cassie and Alec definitely fit the bill. Alec is slightly pompous but quite lovable. I enjoyed learning about the tobacco farms and the morays of that time. I felt sickened reading about slaves, particularly how the villainous Crichton family treated them. Geoffrey Crichthon is an odious man who lusts for Cassie but will never deserve her sweet attention, and he vows to make Alec pay for that.
There are elements of suspense and imprisonment (yay!) and interesting characters like the Native American healer Takotah. At times I had trouble keeping the bondsmen, bondswomen, and slaves apart, and there are some plot elements that were a little clunky (like the identity of Alec's betrayer and Alec's slowness in appreciating Cassie's wishes about where to live). But this was a page turner that I devoured, and I can't wait for Carnal Gift, book two in the series.