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The Willing Widow Paperback – May 8, 2014
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About the Author
Ursula LeCoeur is the nom de plume of mother-daughter writing team, Mary and Helen, who set their romances, the Love in New Orleans Series, in 1880s Louisiana, during the Gilded Age in the most romantic American city. The two authors share a love of history, Southern cuisine, and the unique traditions of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. They enliven this region and time vividly with men and women who love passionately and are willing to risk all to live happily ever after. Helen’s first book, In the Hope of Rising Again, is available on Amazon.com.
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Personally, I'm native of New Orleans living in the early summer of 2014, this story placed me in a time warp of New Orleans late summer 1878. It brought me into the Mansions on St. Charles Avenue (seriously, for the first time). And into the view of the character's lives: love, entitlement, sex, dark secrets, humor, drinking, lust. Much overheated-ness.
Many of the scenes begin with a decision to be made: A sherry or a brandy or a liter of the Collin's own whiskey from Ireland? The author's have done their homework on an accurate portal to the historical elite society, The build up of a scene of tense relations and then out of nowhere, humor.
When I was reading, I got caught up with the lives and the mysteries. Politics, reeling embezzlement and the actual reeling of a murderer. My how things haven't changed from then until now, 2014.
The Widow: Miss Renee and the Gentlemen in question: William the dashing man of everyone's hopes, or perhaps only a widow's. Romance with increasingly higher temperatures as the book takes you into its world.
The minor character: Maureen --in partial sonnets-- on occasion briefly steals the day's limelight in the right amount of connectives. Intelligent, strong, and learning quickly from her mentor, Miss Renee.
A fast-moving-train of mysteries keep you until the end. But there is no train --only mansions, and (a few streets over) shot-gun cottages. The book begins with many unsolved mysteries. Here are a few tiny captions working diligently off to the side of the main story, that thickens the whole. I shy away from the main, and quote small glimpses:
"Perhaps he could pass the chore onto Maureen. Hell maybe a bit of serious work was just the thing she needed to dislodge that rouge Vespasian from her brain." page 162
"A woman stood at the central pillar, a painted wooden pole embedded in the earth that reached tall into the night sky. She pronounced the night and asked the "Gede" to visit them." page 194.
"... when he looked up again he saw it wasn't she. The woman he had taken for Maureen was a negro woman in a white cotton shawl, who seemed to laugh at him as she caught his eye. Was he seeing things?" page 192
By the end of the story, I cried some. Well my eyes watered. After reflection on the complete story, I felt the character: Maureen Collins was not the average minor character and could make the world near her reel toward her whims, or well thought out decisions. I compare her to the brilliantly strong Anne Rice character: Mona Mayfair, from the Novel, Lasher.
I suggest you read The Willing Widow before you read the forth-coming. There is an excerpt in the back of the book for Ursula LeCoeur's waiting to be released second of the series: When a Lady Loves. And damn --it's lead character: Maureen Collins.
In The Willing Widow, Ursula LeCouer unveils her unique vision of the images and feelings associated with this oft-written-about city, which by many other hands ends up seeming cliche' or mundane when stripped of their exaggerated romanticisms. She turns them into something gritty, earthy, and utterly irresistable. The opera scene alone--when Renee and William attend the French version of Le Mariage de Figaro-- sealed the deal for me! A great book- Can't wait to see what she does next!!!
Most recent customer reviews
It was sad, touching of a story...After Renee lost her husband she is shunned by some of his family..Read more
This book had me hooked before I read the first chapter, and did not let me go until I knew how it ended!Read more