Review: September Moon by Candice Proctor

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Ivy Books
Hero: Patrick O’Reilly
Heroine: Amanda Davenport
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 5, 1999
Started On: September 24, 2010
Finished On: September 25, 2010

Like the book Whispers of Heaven which I reviewed earlier, this story too is set in Australia during the 1800’s.

Amanda Davenport finds herself in the raw primitive land of Australia, left with a feeling of hopelessness when her employer dies from a bout of illness leaving her destitute with nowhere to turn to. Amanda, the daughter of a brilliant scholar back in England had been hired by Frances Blake who had been a botanist to act as his secretary, a post that few women were thought capable of handling back then. However, growing up alone with a brilliant scholar because her mother had died when she had been a mere baby, Amanda had ended up more educated than even most men, because that had been Amanda’s way of vying for the attention of a father who was more mindful of his students and the academics than his only daughter. When her father had died 5 years earlier leaving her with little means to look after herself, Amanda had been forced to seek employment and hence her current predicament where Amanda is forced to find a job in order to survive and earn enough money to return back to her beloved England.

Experiencing the fact that the post of a secretary would be hard to attain, Amanda ends up agreeing to be the governess of Patrick O’Reilly’s 3 children. The one fact that deters her is the fact that the O’Reilly’s live so far in the outback that the land was considered primitive and harsh, and for someone like Amanda who misses the gentle surroundings of England, the mere thought of roughing it out in the outback is a daunting thought in itself. But in the end, her hopeless situation has her agreeing to be the governess of Hannah, Liam and Missy aged between 11 and 6 years old for a period of 1 year after which she would have the means to return back to her home.

When Patrick O’Reilly sets eyes on the tightly buttoned up English woman his sister Hetty had once again hired as a governess for his children, all Patrick senses is a woman who forces down her emotions to the extent that she appears to have a perpetual straight line where her lips should be. But even her buttoned up figure dressed in the ugliest garbs Patrick had ever seen does little to hide her dainty figure and her impressive gray eyes which seems to stare down haughtily at him, a sign classic of the English women.

Patrick, the grandson of an Irish ex-convict had learnt the hard way that dainty women such as Miss Amanda rarely survived in the primitive land to which his heart belonged, and that they would leave sooner or later. Patrick’s mother who had been English had abandoned their family and then he had gone ahead and married Katherine, an English woman whose father had made his fortune in India and had come to invest it in Australia. A 19 year old Patrick had been helplessly ensnared with an 18 year old determined Katherine and in the end her pregnancy had ended up in their marriage. Patrick who dreams of nothing more than owning his own land and having his own flock of sheep and cattle one day couldn’t have been more different from Katherine who had wanted to return to England with her husband in tow and live her life there.

Patrick had tried so hard to please Katherine and ease her longing to be back home. But in the end, Katherine too had walked out when Missy had just been 6 months old. So it was safe to say that Patrick wants nothing to do with Amanda who sets his senses afire and when he sees an answering fire of need reflected in her eyes, it is not long before these two are forced to acknowledge the intense connection between them, reluctant though each may be to do so due to their own reasons.

Amanda had been burned once and is twice shy of letting her baser emotions take over. What Patrick manages to do to her senses with his wickedly dimpled smile that brings a twinkle to his sky-blue eyes complete with his work hardened sinewy body is incomparable to anything she had ever experienced before. Amanda doesn’t welcome the emotions that are invading her body in Patrick’s presence, feelings she has ruthlessly tamped down on for the past 10 years of her life. Propriety and genteel behavior are the two things she steadfastly holds onto, because she is afraid that she would end up surrendering her heart, body and soul to the devilishly handsome man and the primitive land which he calls home.

What I like most about Ms. Proctor’s novels is the fact that she doesn’t provide magical solutions to each problem that comes up within the story. Amanda doesn’t just one day wake up and realize that she loves her harsh surroundings, nor does Patrick’s 3 children take to her like a newborn babe does to milk. Rather Amanda has to work her way and win their affections, and she comes to love them as her own in time. Patrick, a man who is wary of trusting a woman to do right by him doesn’t blindly trust Amanda to stay with him when he knows just how much she  yearns to be back in England. In the end, a love as fierce and binding as the rough Australian outback is what helps them through the dangers and hurdles they have to cross to embrace their happily ever after.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books

[xrr rating=3.75/5]

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Review: Whispers of Heaven by Candice Proctor

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Ivy Books
Hero: Lucas Gallagher
Heroine: Jesmond Corbett (Jessie)
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication:  July 3, 2001
Started On: September 23, 2010
Finished On: September 24, 2010

This story is set in Tasmania in the Australian continent in the 1800’s, a time during which this picturesque island witnessed the most shudderingly brutal excesses of the British convict system according to the Author’s note at the end of the book. I have read a couple of books set in Australia during this time period some of which I have reviewed previously.

Jesmond Corbett (Jessie) returns to her beloved home known as Corbetts Castle  in Tasmania after spending two years studying Geology at the Ladies Academy of Science in London. Engaged since childhood to marry Harrison Winthrop Tate, childhood friend and the only son of their closest neighbors, Jessie is glad to come home even though the thought that her robust and energetic father who had died 3 weeks after she had left to London and wouldn’t be there to welcome her with open arms saddens her.

Anselm and Beatrice Corbett had had 6 children, 3 girls and 3 boys out of which the youngest of each were the only ones who were alive. Whilst Cecil and Reid Corbett had both died horrific deaths, one at the hands of the merciless sea that surrounds the island and the other at the hands of the rogue Aborigines, the sisters Jane and Catherine Corbett had succumbed to the effects of Scarlet fever. Beatrice who was strictly British and upheld the iron control on her emotions that the British were famous for had always let the fact be known that she had adored the 4 children who had died more than Warrick and Jessie, both of whom had always been a trifle wild and harder to bend to the rules of the society.

Jessie knows that no matter how hard she tries to please her mother by molding herself into something she is not her mother Beatrice would never be completely happy or satisfied with her efforts. And when upon her return she lays eyes on Lucas Gallagher, an Irish convict who sets her pulse racing with the danger and wildness that seems an integral part of him, Jessie instinctively knows that Lucas answers some deep calling within her that yearns to be set free.

Lucas is a man hell bent on escaping the harsh life he had had to endure as a convict up until now. Lucas is a man far too proud to ever accept the fact that he is not his own master and the thought that he would practically die as a slave in the wilderness of Tasmania makes him more determined that he would escape or die trying. But when he lays eyes on the beautiful Jesmond Corbett, a woman who is forbidden to him on so many levels within the society he was forced to live in changes everything.

No matter how hard Jessie or Lucas tries to deny the intense connection between them, they find themselves helpless in the need to be with one another. Lucas tries his damnedest to say no to what his heart clamors for when Jessie looks at him with those beautiful blue eyes of hers, but one forbidden kiss flares every need that he has ruthlessly tamped down til now.

Once Jessie had tasted passion in Lucas’s arms, she knows that there is no going back and that marriage to Harrison who was as rigid in his views on the proper behavior of genteel women in the society as Beatrice would mean a slow death for the passionate and vibrant woman that she is. But then again, there is always a heady price one has to pay for indulging in the forbidden desires of the heart and both Lucas and Jessie would have to love and trust one another beyond anything comparable in order to triumph over all obstacles in their way, to embrace a love as fierce as the wilderness that surrounds them.

A story so beautifully written that you cannot help but be ensnared by the magic it slowly weaves on you, Candice Proctor surely knows her stuff with the beautiful characters she creates. I am just sad that she doesn’t write romances of this kind anymore because she is so good at creating the most beautiful love stories and Night in Eden is a testament to her glaringly obvious talent in this regard.

Favorite Quotes

His hand moved over her breast in a rough, agonizing caress, tanned, scarred fingers against black satin that they watched together. “Do you?” he said, his hand still roving her breast, his face taut. “Do you understand that when I say I want to touch you, I mean I want to touch all of you – all those secret places where you’ve never been touched before, where you’ve probably never even dreamed of being touched. It means I want to lay you down on the grass with your skirts rucked up about your waist and your flesh bare beneath my hands.” His fingers found her nipple through the cloth of her dress, and the pleasure was so piercing, she almost cried out with it. He saw, and his lips curled into a fierce smile. “And when I say I want you, Miss Jesmond Corbett of Castle Corbett, it means I want to bury myself deep inside of you, I want to take you, hard and rough and hungry. Here. Now. Because I am a hard man, and my life is rough, and you have no idea of the hunger that burns inside me.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books

[xrr rating=3.75/5]

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Short & Sweet Review: Dark Torment by Karen Robards

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Dominic Gallagher
Heroine: Sarah Markham
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 15, 2001
Started On: April 3, 2010
Finished On: April 5, 2010

I have been thinking about changing the format of my book reviews for quite sometime. So I think I will  give it a go with this review.

Storyline: This story takes place in Australia in the 1800’s, a time when convicts from Europe were shipped to Australia and made to work as slaves in the country. Dominic Gallagher is brought to Australia on such a ship to be sold to Sarah Markham’s father to work on his lands as a slave.

The first meet: Sarah and Dominic first meet on board the ship on which Dominic is brought to Australia. Sarah happens to walk onto the ship to fetch her father since her stepsister Liza was feeling poorly to hasten the journey back home and comes across Dominic been whipped within an inch of his life. Sarah puts a stop to this and pleads her father to buy him back onto their lands.

Time period: The time period in which the story takes place is such that convicts were treated as lepers and no association with them apart from them being put  to work was to take place. Due to the various ill treatments that these convicts suffer with different owners an uprising from the convicts take place during the time period of the story. One such convict who is on the run nearly manages to have his way with Sarah and its Dominic who rescues her from her fate, which makes them even in Dominic’s opinion.

Awareness between the two characters: Ms. Robards has done a splendid job in creating great vibes of attraction between the two. Dominic doesn’t understand why he is so attracted to bossy and prim Sarah who looks most of the time like a lad with her no nonsense looks and posture. And Sarah doesn’t understand why she suddenly feels the urge to look beautiful, wear pretty clothes and be in the vicinity of Dominic.

The turning point: The tremendous attraction between Sarah and Dominic comes to a conclusion on the night of Liza’s coming out party. Sarah gives her body and soul to Dominic that night. However as soon as the deed was done, the shame of having been with a convict returns with full force and Sarah rejects Dominic to the point that the air is fraught with tension whenever these two meet after wards. Then Dominic goes missing and Sarah thinks that he ran away but what actually happens make Dominic thinks that Sarah betrayed him.

How the relationship grows: Dominic kidnaps Sarah and it is during their journey in the hot wilderness that these two actually learn to love and trust one another, though none of it comes easy to either of them.

Ending: A happily ever after with an epilogue that shows life between Dominic and Sarah with a few good twists in the end. Loved the epilogue as I usually do.

Likes: The storyline is a bit different from your usual historical romances such that the hero doesn’t always have the upper hand by being filthy rich and being able to do whatever he pleases with his wealth and status.

Dislikes: None really. At the beginning I got a bit peeved at Sarah because she turns hot and cold with Dominic, but then thinking about the situation and the time period and how everything turns out in the end, it wasn’t much of a problem.

Recommended for: Readers who love Ms. Robard’s novels as well as those who love a good historical.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

[xrr rating=3.75/5]

Caliber Seal: GOOD READ!