Read with: Amazon Kindle
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Ivy Books
Hero(s): Benjamin James Dare, Bernard T. Barret, Thomas John Price
Heroine(s): Juliette March, Clara Kaus, Zoe Wilder
Date of Publication: August 31, 2011
Started On: August 23, 2010
Finished On: August 24, 2010
As I mentioned in a previous review of mine, Maggie Osborne certainly doesn’t write your conventional romances. Rather, she takes the story a step further and takes the reader on a ride that he or she would not forget anytime soon.
This story is certainly different from the rest of the books by Ms. Osborne I have read. Featuring 3 heroes and 3 heroines, at first I was in the mind that this story would not work out with the constant juggle between the characters. But I should have trusted Ms. Osborne to use the charm she so effortlessly wields to captivate us on a journey that surely did not give me even a minute to be bored.
Juliette March, a heiress who is quite wealthy on her own right who lives with her Aunt Kibble in the small county of Linda Vista is rescued from impending spinsterhood when she meets, falls in love and marries the debonair seductive smooth talker Jean Jacques Villette. When Jean claims that his money is tied up and he needs some cash in order to purchase a home for Juliette and himself in Oregon, Juliette who has misgivings about setting foot outside of the county where she grew up in, gives a chunk of her inheritance to Jean, who had rode out nine months ago, not to be heard from again. An impeccable lady through and through, Juliette who is pretty much scared of experiencing anything that is beyond her control and anything new, decides to set off on her own to find what happened to her beloved husband.
Clara Kaus is not your typical dainty heroine. Big shouldered, big breasted and big hipped with curves in all the right places, Clara longs to feel a man cherish her and treat her like a delicacy. So she is more than enthralled when Jean who stops over at her inn and claims to have fallen head over heels in love with her and treats her the way she wants to be treated. The next thing she knows, she is married to him, and has given Jean all her savings to buy them a place in Seattle so that they could settle down and start a new life for both of them. Clara was starting to get worried because she hadn’t heard from Jean since he left a couple of months ago. Since the sale of the inn was now final, Clara was determined to travel to Seattle by herself and track down her husband.
It was by chance that on the last day of Clara’s stay at her inn, she encounters Juliette who stops over at the inn in the first leg of the journey she was taking to hunt down her husband. When Juliette eyes the ring on Clara’s finger, a ring identical to the wedding ring that was on her finger, Clara and Juliette both come to realize that they have been had for real by a smooth talker. Though Clara is quick to anger and swears that she would get her money back from the good for nothing man she married, Juliette doesn’t want to believe that what took place between Jean and her could have just been about money. Jealousy is swift to rise between these two women, who are as different from another as night and day. Both wanting to find Jean equally as much, its Clara’s idea that they travel together the rest of the way.
Zoe Wilder comes from the coal mining town of Newcastle. Having grown up with six brothers, constantly struggling for privacy, the the thing that Zoe remembers most about living in Newcastle is the Owner’s Day Parade that takes place annually. Zoe had been five or six when she had realized that the elegantly dressed men and women in the carriage parade looked at the people lining the lanes of Newcastle with a mixture of superiority and contempt. Zoe had sworn that she would drag herself out of Newcastle and find something better for her when she grew up. Now living in Seattle working for an uncle, Zoe reveled in the freedom that her life had brought about. Meeting Jean Jacques Villette, right after she was awarded quite a large sum of money for rescuing the grandson of one of the affluent families in the area, seemed like a godsend. To meet a man who didn’t have a black layer of grime under his fingernails who claimed to fall head over heels in love with her and who effectively seduced her into saying yes to marriage, Zoe was happier than she had ever been. That is until, on her visit to Newcastle, her mom poses disbelief upon hearing that her newly wedded husband had left her to hunt for gold in Yukon, leaving Zoe to fend off for herself. However Zoe refuses to doubt in her husband, though she longs for any sort of news from him.
When Juliette and Clara deduce that Jean was on his way to Yukon to hunt for gold, Clara decides that the best course of action would be to confirm his departure to Yukon by checking whether he bought year long supplies to Yukon. It is inside one of these supply shops that Clara and Juliette encounter Zoe and find out that Zoe too had married Jean Jacques Villette and wore the same type of ring that Clara and Juliette wore. Three women so different from one another, each jealous of the love that Jean had showered on the other two, tempers fly and words are exchanged between the three. Zoe feels so immensely betrayed by the fact that Jean had made her feel ashamed of her roots and family back in Newcastle, swears that she would shoot the good for nothing man they all had married. Each having their own reason to hunt down Jean, the three of them decide to make their way to Yukon, knowing that it was going to be a long and arduous journey.
On their journey, Juliette meets quietly intense Benjamin James Dare who lost his wife to illness. Ben wants to feel alive again and thus the journey to Yukon as a prospector to find gold. Strongly drawn towards a woman who puts propriety above everything else, Ben is surprised by the intense emotions that Juliette evokes in him. Juliette in turn is scandalized to feel the hot rush of emotion she feels every time Ben comes to find her. Though Juliette fights everything within her to prevent herself from falling in love with the most wonderful man she had ever met whilst married to another, it is inevitable that love would follow the intense connection between two people so well suited for each other. The first time Ben and Juliette come together is intense, hot and quite a different scene of seduction from the ones you usually come across. I found myself seduced right along with these two and enjoyed every minute of their encounters.
Clara encounters larger than life Bernard T. Barret (Bear) and feels an intense tug towards the broad shouldered massive man who is a gentle giant in Clara’s opinion. Bear is captivated by Clara’s lush figure and loses the arm wrestling competition aboard the ship that sails them towards Yukon. Constantly being ridiculed after the encounter by other shipmates, Bear feels at times exasperated and more aroused than he has ever been with a woman in like forever. Growing up with a mother whose profession was whoring, Bear always felt that no proper woman would want his company once they find out his background. Equally strong personalities make for a real strong connection and in the end their encounter together nearly destroys Bear’s cabin up in the mountains. It was everything and more of what I envisioned for these two.
Zoe meets Thomas John Price (Tom), one of her brother Jake’s best friends from Newcastle. Tom has made a life for himself outside of Newcastle, building his own supply company and was comfortably well off. Zoe is surprised to encounter Tom and find that she is strangely drawn to a man from Newcastle, something she had sworn never to do. Tom had always known that Zoe would grow up to be a beauty, but the woman whom he encounters on the shores of Yukon just takes his breath away. Before long, whether Zoe wants it or likes it or not, Tom is courting her and the tender and beautiful way in these two come together is certainly a moment worth savoring in this book.
What all these three ladies have in common in the new relationships that they forge during the journey is the fact that they refuse to tell anyone that they are married to the same man and had come to Yukon to hunt down Jean. But in the end, when the truth does come out, the new men in their lives feel so betrayed by the fact that they had been duped into bedding married women, and that they hadn’t been able to trust them ends their relationships effectively. And finding at the last minute that Jean had sailed from Yukon on the same ship that they had traveled into Yukon, Juliette, Clare and Zoe know that its the end of a journey for the three of them who have come to care for one another and consider one another as the best of friends.
The ending seemed a bit trivial for me, when these 3 ladies continue their journey to Jean’s hometown and encounter the fact that Jean had died after succumbing to illness. It was funny to realize that the three of them weren’t alone in being duped by a man who was so skilled at what he did. With three beautiful children and a wife at home, Jean had traveled all over, marrying women and collecting money from them. Letters written to the three of them, each stating individually what had drawn Jean to them, I guess was the ending that a novel of this type deserved, though I would have felt better if Jean had been alive and the three of them had got to give a piece of their minds to a man who had cheated them out of so much.
In the end, its all happily ever afters for the three of them. It was fun, deeply sensual ride with this book and I definitely recommend this book as I do for the other books by Ms. Osborne that I have read so far.
Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!