Review: The Bequest by Candice Proctor

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Ivy Books
Hero: Jordan Hays
Heroine: Gabrielle Antoine
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 28, 1998
Started On: August 1, 2010
Finished On: August 1, 2010

When Gabrielle Antoine who was brought up in a convent since she was five years old receives word of an inheritance that a woman she has never heard of has left for her, Gabrielle decides to travel Central City, Colorado by herself and find out more about the woman and what has been left for her. Though her best friend Julia St. Etienne tries to warn her that what she may find may not be to her liking, Gabrielle who has always yearned to find out who her mother and father were and where she belonged to does not pay heed to her friend’s gentle warning.

Upon her arrival at Celeste’s Palace, Gabrielle finds out that the woman Celeste DuBois who had bequeathed her half the proceedings from the sale of Celeste’s Palace, is actually her mother and that Celeste’s Palace is a whorehouse which she had managed with her partner Jordan Hays. The shocking revelations that come one after the other definitely shatters whatever illusions that Gabrielle may have harbored about her parents.

At first, knowing that her mother had been alive all along sends a sharp punch of betrayal through her but as she starts spending time with the enigmatic and compelling Jordan who stirs all her senses something fierce, Gabrielle has to admit that her mother made the wiser choice by shielding her from the cruel ways of life in a whorehouse.

Gabrielle is at first more than ready to get rid of the whorehouse and say good riddance to what she has stumbled upon, but her sense of integrity refuses to allow her to sell a whorehouse and use the profit to start up a school for girls, a dream that as a teacher Gabrielle has always harbored within her. And when she comes to find out that her mother was killed and that everyone suspected Doug Slaughter, a man who ran all sorts of establishments through out the county who had wanted to buy Celeste’s Palace from her mother, Gabrielle decides to dig her feet in and refuse to sell the place to a man of such vile character.

Jordan wants nothing more than to be left alone with the dark memories of all that he had lost in his life. The haunting nightmares of how his wife and unborn babe died at the hands of drunken soldiers is a constant reminder to Jordan that he is a man who has nothing left to give to a woman or anyone else. But the daughter of his business partner who has taken residence at their establishment tempts him beyond reason and Jordan fights it with everything in his being, knowing that an innocent like Gabrielle would be devastated if he were to love her and leave like Jordan is used to doing.

But little by little, as Jordan and Gabrielle spend time together, it becomes a battle worth losing when all Jordan wants to do is to lose himself in the arms of the woman who bewitches him so. For Gabrielle who is determined to change the establishment into a girls school and provide the women at Celeste’s Palace with better jobs, it is an uphill battle all the way when Doug fights dirty every step of the way just so he can get his hands on the property.

The story of how the sweetly innocent and undeniably sensual Gabrielle captures the unwilling heart of the lithe and handsome Jordan who thinks of himself as the soulless one is a sweet and taut one. And the fraught danger that lurks deep within the shadows at every turn makes this book a quick page-turner.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=3.5/5]

Caliber Seal: FAVORABLE READ!

Review: The Marriage Bed by Stephanie Mittman

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Spencer Williamson
Heroine: Olivia Williamson
Sensuality: 2.5
Date of Publication: April 1, 1996
Started On: July 31, 2010
Finished On: August 1, 2010

The Marriage Bed is a story that is a bit more complex than your average romance. Filled with details of family life with characters who are less  than perfect, this is a story that was totally different from what I expected when I started on the book.

Olivia and Spencer were neighbors when they were growing up. Spencer had been best of friends with Olivia’s brother Remy and Olivia doesn’t remember a time when she has not loved Spencer. When Spencer married Kirsten, Olivia had been devastated and vowed that she would never love another man. Kirsten had borne him two children Peter and Margaret, and an epidemic of diphtheria had taken away all those whom he had held close to his heart. From the moment he had buried those who were more precious to him than life itself, Spencer had promised himself that he would never love again.

However life and its practicalities demanded that he take a wife and Remy convinces Spencer that Olivia would make him a most suitable wife. Olivia may run his household like a well oiled machine and cater for his every need but Spencer vows that Olivia would never hold a candle to what Kirsten and his children meant to him. Though Olivia knows that Spencer had closed off his heart when his family died, the hope that with time Spencer would come around and learn to love her is what keeps Olivia going. And the one thing that Olivia craves more than anything else is to carry Spencer’s children in her womb and bring them into this world so that the pain that lingers in Spencer’s eyes may ease just a little.

With Olivia’s naivete on what goes on in the bedroom, it is easy for Spencer to continue deceiving Olivia without actually performing the act which could bear him sons and daughters. Two years on, Olivia is devastated by the fact that she is barren and that she would never be able to give Spencer the children Olivia is sure he needs. Little does she know that Spencer had been keeping the most vital part of their marriage a shame.

Desperate for a family, Olivia badgers Spencer until he agrees to open up his home for the children of Olivia’s sister who had died recently. Olivia is overjoyed by the thought of having young ones around her for whom she would bestow upon all the love she holds in her heart. But things hardly go according to plan when the children arrive. Neil is the only one who is taken with the idea of living with her Aunt Olivia and Uncle Spencer whilst Louisa who is the eldest and looks after the little one Josephina resents the living arrangements with every fiber of her being.

However the less than perfect family somehow strive on and it is when Olivia comes to know just how much Spencer has been withholding from her in their marriage that things turn around. Right about then, an accident that nearly takes away the woman Spencer had unwittingly fallen in love with though he had tried unsuccessfully not to, makes Spencer want to turn their lives around and love and worship the ground his beautiful wife walks on.

But the sense of betrayal that Olivia feels is too strong for her to just forgive, forget and move on. Olivia takes the kids and moves into her brother’s home and tries to live without Spencer who is continually underfoot now professing his love and adoration for her. Spencer has his work cut out for him to convince Olivia that he had wronged her immensely and that he would do everything within his power to have Olivia and the kids back in his life, and that he would continue to show it to her every day of his life.

Whereas romances always feature a hero women would love to dream about and sigh upon, Spencer is far from the idyllic hero. Going bald at his head and with his less than perfect body, Spencer is not the type of hero romance books are made out of. But what makes it all better is the story of how this less than average hero fights everything within him at first to keep Olivia as far away from his as possible making both of them miserable in the process and later how he devotes himself to winning the love of his life back into his arms and into his life once again.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=3.5/5]

Caliber Seal: FAVORABLE READ!