I've been neglecting contemporary reads and this was just what I needed. I like that its adult but that new adult aged readers will super identify with it to. I will admit that the title is a mouthful! I wouldn't have chosen it but it does totally suit the story. And there is something totally perfect about the cover. It suits the atmosp Check out more reviews Perspective of a Writer It suits the atmosphere of the setting while reflecting the message of female empowerment. The Premise Natalie Tan is just like many girls who have a dream. They are a little impatient to get on with it and don't understand when it doesn't happen instantly for them.
We go on this journey with her as she faces her past at the death of her mother and returns home to the neighborhood she grew up in. Long forgotten times resurface and she realizes the past isn't quite as she'd been telling herself. I loved that she admitted this and allowed her attitude to change. Natalie has a connection to her grandmother's restaurant that her mentally ill mother was overwhelmed by.
I really loved how we learned of the history between these generations and what it did for Natalie! And she obtained a mentor who could help her make her dream a reality. We don't all have to follow one path to success. The idea of a recipe book of healing is such a neat one. I loved how this played out in the story. At first I wondered at how easily everything came about but I loved the mystery that Natalie had to work out. It was so connected to her own history that I felt like everything came full circle in a lovely way. Exploring this Chinatown neighborhood was fun.
Her friendship with the woman who watched over her mother was so sweet to me. That friendship is a highlight in the book. I especially loved all of the food references and clear passion for cooking. I did find the read didn't have smooth transitions. The words used were a little overwrought for the tone of the story. And there was a lot of telling. In short the writing was a little rough. For a debut book its fine. The important thing was we get a real feel for Natalie and her situation.
Why she was estranged from her mother. Why she wants a restaurant.truthreporchobo.cf/blue-ice.php
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Her feeling of disconnection to her grandmother. Her discontent with the neighborhood. The only pause I had was the romance. I liked the idea of Daniel. He's described quite well and felt more like a real man than most romances show. But the lightness of the romance is more suited to an open end. A bell tinkling and a smile. A recommended read for those who love family connections of all sorts from parents, to found family, to neighborhood friends. Seriously Natalie loves food and especially the food of her heritage. She shares recipes and techniques and its gorgeous foodie love.
Natalie is from a family of women each strong in their own ways. She didn't really understand this when we start the book and its an amazing journey. The bits of magic are worked seamlessly into the story and make a heartfelt story fun and the climax powerful. Natalie felt a bit lost after the fallout with her mother. She'd failed herself in many ways or at least that is how she saw it for a long time. Women will really identify with her growth.
This is farther down the list than normal for me, but there were so many good things that this is like a cherry on top. I love how Roselle Lim showed us what it means to be a part of Chinatown. Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune is an ownvoice Chinese read full of family, food, neighborhood and magic. Natalie is a girl who has a dream and is able to achieve it once she faces her past and returns home to reconnect with the women who have passed from her life.
It has not influenced my opinions. Read my special perspective under the typewriter on my reviews Please like this review if you enjoyed it! Her mother suffered from agoraphobia, and Natalie learns how much the people in the community had helped her. Natalie loves to cook and provides the reader with many recipes , but does she have the talent and the strength of her late grandmother to reopen the family restaurant which closed many years ago?
This book had so many things I liked: vividly drawn characters, a likable protagonist, a bit of magic realism, and an evocative Chinatown setting. I hope that Roselle Lim will write another book about Natalie, her community, her restaurant, and her new love. Highly recommended. Just something to know going in. Full review TK! I read an early copy of this and enjoyed the way magic and reality met and were woven together to create a truly delicious book that will be a gourmand's delight.
I look forward to reading the finished version as I reckon it's going to be even more amazing. Sometimes you read a book that makes you cry, that's so deeply personal to your lived experience that it crushes your heart and fills it up at the same time.
This book has everything my Chinese diaspora heart could ever want. A strong Chinese heroine who harbors a deep appreciation for her immigrant parents and grandparents; the use of food to bring love and people together; magic in both life, and that which exists beyond our world Sometimes you read a book that makes you cry, that's so deeply personal to your lived experience that it crushes your heart and fills it up at the same time. A strong Chinese heroine who harbors a deep appreciation for her immigrant parents and grandparents; the use of food to bring love and people together; magic in both life, and that which exists beyond our world.
I can't wait to cry again when it comes out. That's how special this book is. Everyone, prepare to preorder the heck out of this book when the link is up!! Mar 25, Mlpmom Book Reviewer rated it really liked it Shelves: blog-tour , kindle-books , arc-book-read. Lim's debut novel is indeed every bit as magical, emotional, and heart warming as it claims to be. Full of grieving, moving on, finding oneself, and a community coming together to help their own, it truly is one you don't want to miss out on and will leave a lasting impression. Realistically told with issues that anyone can relate to, it truly was beautifully told as it slowly unfolded and family issues and secrets were revealed and one woman learned to move on, become someone she was always mean Lim's debut novel is indeed every bit as magical, emotional, and heart warming as it claims to be.
Realistically told with issues that anyone can relate to, it truly was beautifully told as it slowly unfolded and family issues and secrets were revealed and one woman learned to move on, become someone she was always meant to be and to learn how to grow and most of all, forgive.
Jun 01, Sophia rated it it was amazing Shelves: new-release-challenge , coyer-summer , general-fiction , books-n-tunes-challenge , net-galley-reads. The idea of exploring the world beyond the dragon gate of San Francisco's Chinatown through a heartwarming story of loss, love, and a dying neighborhood's hope seemed like just the thing. I read this book knowing it was a debut novel and shook my head with surprise because it felt rich in background, setting, situation, and characters in a way that one doesn't normally experience in a first book.
Natalie has been kicking about around the world for the last seven years carrying around hurt pride t The idea of exploring the world beyond the dragon gate of San Francisco's Chinatown through a heartwarming story of loss, love, and a dying neighborhood's hope seemed like just the thing. Natalie has been kicking about around the world for the last seven years carrying around hurt pride that she failed culinary school and never had her mother's approval to be a chef and have her own restaurant, bitterness over the abandonment of her father before she was even born and leaving her to look after a mother with agoraphobia.
But, the call comes from back in her old San Francisco Chinatown neighborhood that tells her that she waited too long to resolve the gulf between her and her mother. Those words spoken in anger will remain her last to her dead mother. Natalie arrives home to find a dying neighborhood of shops, people who claim to have been her mother's friends and wish to grieve with her and the legacy of her grandmother's restaurant below the apartment she shared with her mother. A fortunetelling reveals that she must help the neighbors for her dream of reopening her grandmother's restaurant to be successful.
Natalie's great at running when life gets tough and now she has come full circle and must stick to it for once. The set up for this one grabbed my emotions from the outset. Natalie is at a low point when the book begins and now she must face her old home where memories of her life with her mother and their family break up occurred, her childhood resentment when she thought neighbors left them on their own, her fear that she's not good enough to open her courageous grandmother's restaurant and serve her dishes, and that her issues with her father's abandonment clouding her ability to stay with a relationship long.
The book seems to flow along at a gentle pace with daily events and a seemingly easy time for Natalie to go about restoring and righting things. Of course, she hit a snag and it tore through all the good track she had laid down and that was when it got interesting. A little mystery and drama entered the picture and shook things up a bit. I appreciated how the author handled Miranda's agoraphobia and how Natalie perceived her mother's illness. I like seeing characters who struggle with such disorders and illness portrayed with complexity and not just labeled by their illness. There was magic in the recipes and magic in how the neighborhood's good fortune was directly tied to the state of her grandmother's restaurant.
There is also a mystery in how to make it all work out because something is missing and Natalie has to find out what even while she is engaging in a sweet side romance.
He almost skipped two grades in middle school.
This one is definitely for lovers of culture, close-knit friends and family, and food- yes the food. Recipes are sprinkled throughout this book and I was left salivating as the descriptions of cooking and results were written so well. The writing style was both lavish on description and a feast for the senses in beautiful prose without losing an easy comfortable feeling. All in all, it was a lovely uplifting story of restoration, a bit of magic and the work it takes to feed good relationships and dreams.
Good Fortune - Vacation Home in Port Saint Joe
I can definitely recommend this one for those looking for a great summer read. My thanks to Berkley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. Apr 01, Anna rated it liked it Shelves: poc-main-character , asian-authors , contemporary , culture , ghosts , own-voices , arcs. I had high hopes for this, and sadly ended up disappointed.
Overall, this felt like a wholesome Lifetime movie with a heavy dose of magical realism, and steeped in Chinese culture and cuisine. She left home when she was 21 and has been estranged from her mother ever since. Natalie wanted to attend culinary school, but her mother strongly opposed it. In Asian cultures, filial piety is really important and the two n I had high hopes for this, and sadly ended up disappointed. In Asian cultures, filial piety is really important and the two never reconciled their differences, even after seven years. Over the course of those seven years, Natalie has worked in kitchens all around the world.
She now temporarily lives in Canada when she spots a bird that indicates her mother has passed. She heads to the airport and takes the next flight home. San Francisco's Chinatown has an intense sense of community, yet Natalie resents that very same community for not helping while she grew up with her mother who had many struggles of her own. Natalie's mother's agoraphobia intensified after her husband jilted her and her mother, Natalie's grandmother, died on the street in front of their building. When Natalie returns, she starts to spot the ever-encroaching results of gentrification on her community.
The businesses she grew up with are struggling to stay afloat and a realtor keeps pushing them to sell so that condominiums can replace the shops. They were suffering, but would never ask for help. Her grandmother used to own a renowned restaurant that is the closed-off downstairs portion of their building.
- Just Passing By: A Young Soldier’s World War Two Story.
- Mushroom Cloud.
- Sisters of Fortune: America’s Caton Sisters at Home and Abroad by Jehanne Wake.
- Good Fortune!
Her mother Miranda had a strained relationships with her own mother, so Natalie knows very little about her as she passed before she was born. I associated every dish with a moment of my life. Nothing transported me faster and more vividly. Lim's style of writing is very flowery, detailed, and full of metaphor, while although feeling too much at times, also gave a great sense of ambience.
The imagery was definitely a strong point! Throughout there are recipes given and details of all of the food, it felt as if I were eating it myself I wish! Then I bit into the wu gok, a fried taro puff with a wispy, crunchy shell and a dripping shrimp and pork filling. The powdery creaminess of the dish made this my favorite of the bunch. We learn so much about what is expected in Chinese culture and how they affect the characters' actions. To my people, superstitions were more real than depression or anxiety. Instead of therapists, we saw doctors, herbalists, feng shui consultants, and acupuncturists.
We would rather believe in spirits, luck, ghosts, and demons than the discipline of psychology. Perhaps it wasn't that my grandmother had refused to see my mother's condition, but rather than she could not see it. It helped buoy my enjoyment after I struggled with some parts in the middle. They each felt like they had so much personality and I found them really endearing, Celia in particular.
It has been there for me all my life. Food comforts, heals, and is the only lover I will ever take. I'm really happy we're seeing more of this! Roselle Lim is Filipino-Chinese. It was very instalove-y. It was just so cheesy and instantaneous without really getting to know the love interest at all. All I know about him are his job, his parents have a great marriage and moved out to be closer to his sister and her wife and kids. And that he loves her food she compares it to pornography I mean, I know about my barista that I frequent or my dentist.
It had taken me a few more meetings, but I was coming to a similar conclusion. Their first few meetings they barely spoke a word she just cooked for him and this was their first date. I eyerolled so hard during much of the romance. I think it would have been better if it was completely cut out. Or, you know, developed more. We get to know so many more of the other characters better I loved Celia, old Wu, and the brothers! I wish the same time and effort could have been spent on the love interest. Natalie's tears turn into crystals, her skin actually steams when she sees her love interest eating, there are literal fireworks when they kiss I liked the magic surrounding the food, but these other instances just felt weird.
The birds found me no matter where I was in the world. It added to the atmosphere, sure, but there is such a thing as balance. I mean, it came down to the point where the reader knew every outfit change of all the characters. I like fashion, but it felt overdone and too wordy. And hungry. It does have a stunning cover, though! Release date: June 11, Any quotes used subject to change upon publication.
View all 6 comments. Jan 13, Jenna Friebel rated it it was amazing Shelves: adult , romance , favorites , edelweiss-netgalley. Lovely and heartwarming and charming and magical. Jun 08, Toya rated it it was amazing Shelves: edelweiss. My heart is still bursting at the seams after reading this incredible debut novel by Roselle Lim. I can't think about it without giggling. I love it when books show the silly side of historical figures! The book dedicates almost equal attention to the sisters' love life and their financial strategies, although unsurprisingly, I didn't enjoy the examination of their ability as speculators as much as the rest of the book.
It was really slow going and I didn't understand most of it, except that their wealth was so immense that I have difficulty grasping it. The accounts of the political machinations that formed part of the historical backdrop to the sisters' lives were also long-winded and very, very boring for someone like me who has little knowledge of 19th century British and American politics.
The historical setting is instead interestingly and clearly presented. The sisters lived in a really interesting era and met personally an incredible array of important historical figures, from George Washington to Queen Victoria. Given their status as wives of British peers it is however unclear to me how the author can state that they remained fierce republican women throughout their lives: while I have no doubts they were proud to be Americans and to have been raised as citizens rather than subjects, Marianne's status as lady-in-waiting to the queen of Britain strikes me as being distinctly at odds with a "proud republican heritage".
Financial and political sections aside, this book is everything you could possibly want in a biography if you're in love with Jane Austen's novels: there are balls, beautiful ephemeral white gowns, hooped skirts, feathers, diamonds, mean gossip whispered behind a fan, town houses, country houses, spa towns, hunting expeditions, and lots and lots of money. However, what is also emphasized is the sisters' attachment to each other and to their family: their lives are reconstructed mainly with the help of the hundreds of letters which they sent each other and their American relatives, and which show the strength of their love for their beloved mother and grandfather in spite of 15 years of separation.
I really wish there were half stars!
This was four and a half stars. I rounded up because it is one of the very best non-fiction works I have ever read. I gave it four and a half because towards the end, it loses focus on the women and concentrates on the political and financial upheavals of England, Europe and America. Granted these things are important and I didn't mind the extra history lesson, but the true glory of the book is the women and their stories.
It is not an easy, breezy read; alth I really wish there were half stars! It is not an easy, breezy read; although at times it reads more like historical fiction than non. But it is most certainly an enjoyable, intelligent read full of details that are always backed up with evidence. I never got that feeling here.
Yes, Wake has admiration for the subjects she presents, but the true depth of love and admiration come from their contemporaries accounts of them. And Wake presents not only the good, but the envious bad as well especially on the part of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte. Jehanne how do you pronounce that?! Wake's research is phenomenal.
The rich history drawn out by Wake and described in ways that seem fully tangible is completely supported by the letters written by the main characters and numerous supporting characters. I can't help wondering how many years it must have taken her to find it all, organize it and then write about it in such a present, thoughtful way.
If history had always been presented this way, I would have pursued higher degrees in it! I like immensely the way Wake described their childhood and made it clear that all four women were influeced in unusual ways for their time, which helped to make them the incredible women they came to be. I do wonder, however, how really "loyal" these 'Republic American heiresses' and granddaughters of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the longest living signer of the Declaration of Independence, whose life-long influence of his family is blatant, could marry into a world that their home country had vehemently fought to expel.
It seems to me that they were not as loyal to America as they simply were to one another and the family they left behind. I can clearly see though that they did lead their lives in a "take it as it comes" way and their desire to go to England orginated in the declining health of Marianne and a desire to visit with their father's family, not in a desire to seek titled husbands. Che sera sera. The people are strong and the history is rich and colorful. I learned way more than I bargained for when I choose to read it, which frankly, makes it even better!!
Jan 07, Stacey rated it really liked it Shelves: history-bio. I've had this book in my To Be Read pile for some time. I finally picked it up and I'm so glad that I did! I had not realized that this had been going on as far back as the founding of the U. The Caton sister's grandfather, Charles Carrollton, was one of this nation's Founding Fathers as well as an early proponent of eduction for women.
His earned wealth allowed his granddaughters to grow up to be very independent and well educated women, 3 of whom ended up spending most of their adult lives living in Europe and moving about in high society as a result of their wealth and connections. The Duke of Wellington and his family not only became close friends of the Caton sisters, but family as well. Initially, it took me a little while to get into this book, but once hooked, I couldn't put it down.
The author has a writing style that is easy to follow and the interesting lives these 4 sisters lead, makes me wish that I hadn't waited so long to read it. I highly reccommend this book to people interested in U. And I'd also recommend this to anyone looking to learn more about the history of the state of Maryland. Aug 10, Caroline rated it it was amazing Shelves: american-history , british-history. I thoroughly enjoyed this book - I could scarcely put it down, which is an achievement indeed for a non-fiction book.
It documents the lives of the first of what later became known as the 'dollar princesses', American heiresses who came to England to marry into the titled nobility. Although that's perhaps unfair to the Carroll sisters, as that was never their aim, as it was with later woman such as Jennie Churchill, for example. They were born into a wealthy 'aristocratic' Maryland family - their I thoroughly enjoyed this book - I could scarcely put it down, which is an achievement indeed for a non-fiction book.
They were born into a wealthy 'aristocratic' Maryland family - their grandfather was one of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, indeed the last surviving Signer - and they inherited great wealth. Their family was unusual for the time in encouraging the girls to a great deal of independence, both in deed and in thought, and they all fought to keep control of their own lands, investments and finances until the end of their lives. Marianne was the great love of the Duke of Wellington and eventually married his older brother; Louisa became the Duchess of Leeds; Bess was a great mover and shaker in the early stock markets; Emily was the homebody, the only one to settle in Maryland and have children.
This book really brings their thoughts and feelings to live through their letters, and it's a wonderful read, really warm and engaging. You really come to care about the sisters, almost to know them, and I was sad to come to the end of this book. I will look forward to reading more from this historian. View 2 comments. Sep 10, Jenny Yates rated it it was ok. This is a biography of the four Caton sisters, granddaughters of Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
The four women lived at an exciting time, at the beginnings of the republic. They were wealthy and well-connected, and managed to retain ownership of their money at a time when that was rare for women. And three of them also spent half their lives in England, and were woven into the many political disputes of the early 19th century there. The problem is the abundance of detail. Certainly you can admire the amount of research the author did, but too often the book meanders into tangential explanations of uninteresting things.
Lots of parties, lots of peripheral characters. Then when they marry, the political machinations began to get a little tedious. In power, out of power, back and forth. They still seemed rather like cardboard cutouts. Mar 14, Diane rated it it was ok. While I greatly anticipated enjoying this book, I found it dull and dry. Reading five pages felt like reading I did not want to stop reading but there are too many good history books to be read to waste my time reading a bad one. Jan 05, Melissa Eisenmeier added it. This was a well-written book about four sisters who lived through the War of In stock at my online store.
Enjoyed the story, disappointed in the writing. Shelves: biographies , reviewed-books , historical-women. Marianne, Bess, Louisa, and Emily were all wealthy American heiresses raised to be educated, politically and financially savvy, fashionable, and fiercely independent, and all of them wound up marrying English aristocrats in some cases several in succession. Meanwhile, Louisa married the son of a duke and eventually became Duchess of Leeds and Bess married a baron. However, both political and social attitudes changed for the worst after the Panic of and the subsequent defaulting of several states on their debt, which dramatically affected British banks as well as American banks.
Things got so bad it looked like a third Anglo-American war might break out, and because of this climate, the US return of the fully restored HMS Resolute had an incredibly dramatic impact. I also found it interesting that, while the rights of women at the time were restricted on both sides of the Atlantic, English women seemed to have even fewer rights to their own property than American women.
Hence Bess who was the last of the sisters to marry managed accounts that actually belonged to Marianne and Louisa. And when Bess did marry in her late forties, she put all her American assets in one trust and all her British in another and then specified that they were for her sole and separate use, which had the practical effect of allowing her to retain the same amount of control over it that she would have had if she had remained single. But overall, a good read. Oct 04, Jock Mcclees rated it it was amazing Shelves: american-history , world-history , biography. If you are from Maryland and like history, you will probably find this fascinating.
The book gives great insights into life of the upper class during the time just before, during and after the American Revolution. It also gives a very interesting view into how women of means navigated society at the time despite having few rights. It focuses on the Carroll family which was one of the wealthiest family's in the country. As the book talks about their different homes I realized that a lot of the his If you are from Maryland and like history, you will probably find this fascinating. As the book talks about their different homes I realized that a lot of the historic houses in Baltimore and Annapolis were owned by one member or another of the Carroll family.
There were 4 Caton sisters yes, that is how Catonsville got its name who were granddaughters of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Three of the four ended up moving to England and marrying various nobles there and having a close relationship and possibly an affair with the Duke of Wellington who defeated Napoleon. So the book not only gives insights into US history and what was going on at the time, even greater insight into a lot of the prime movers in early Maryland history, but a glimpse into the life of the aristocracy of Regency era England.
They were hard partiers, staying up until 3 or 5 am or dawn and then sleeping until 1 PM. It was also really interesting to see how the financial world worked during that time period.
The book went into detail about the machinations the sisters had to go to to keep control of their money when usually it went to the husband. Also how they invested. Apparently they were quite savvy and because of all the parties they went to with movers and shakers, they got insider information that would be illegal today but allowed them to grow their money.
Some but apparently not the sisters were ruined by certain speculations. One random tidbit is that at the beginning of the book when Bonaparte was still in power in France, the Empire style of dress was popular and Betsy Patterson Bonaparte from Baltimore brought the style back to the US and scandalized everyone since the dresses were somewhat see through.
Everyone started wearing this minimal type of dress although not apparently in see through versions. At the end of the book, with Victorian styles now fashionable, the young women thought the Empire style comical and dated. Funny that modern styles are much more like the styles of than later. Speaking of Victoria, it turns out that the sisters were friends with her and Marianne was a lady in waiting to her at times both when she was a princess and later when she became queen.
He landed on one knee with his sword thrust into an invisible body. His sandy hair, almost blond from the sun, hung loose about his bronzed shoulders, and his stomach rippled with muscle as, tossing and catching twirling the sword, he strode toward her. Dear Lord, how I want him. She whimpered as he laid her down in the bed of moss and violets carpeting the earth beneath the tree. Silencing her murmured protest with a lush kiss, he covered her body with his own. Very enjoyable read. Four and a half stars! Well, it turns out I really liked this book.
I have to say that the ending did a lot to satisfy my need for more romance and add an extra half star to my overall rating. This was an emotional, well-written book with depth and rich background. The characters were very likable, even though Hope was a courtesan and I usually have little love for them, and Robert was a strong, decisive, honorable and tortured hero, the kind I love to read about. Those two got married against their will by the King's Well, it turns out I really liked this book. Those two got married against their will by the King's orders and though the attraction was there from the first time, it took them a lot of time for the trust and caring to develop.
I really appreciated that, since I always dislike plots that confuse lust with love and have the heroes unable to fight their attraction and jumping to bed before they're on a first name basis. The slow development of their feelings made their relationship seem all the more realistic and interesting. The whole story is deeply emotional, and we really get to know those two people and come to care for them.
So, when the sweet ending came, it was almost swoon worthy. On the other hand, it took way too long to get those two together. Almost one half of the book was spent just to lay the background and build the main characters, time that made the story seem too slow in the beginning. Also, for the most part, this seemed more like a historical novel than a romance per se; the focus seems to rest on the hero's past and its import in his present, rather than the romance. That alone was a bit disconcerting for me. Still, I enjoyed reading it and never felt the urge to skim though it which I sometimes do with more average novels.
Readers who like their historical romances filled with rich period details, will probably appreciate this one. I'm definitely going to give Ms James another try and if the next book's about the young boy we saw in the end, I'll be sure to pick it up. ARC received by NetGalley The King's Courtesan was kindly provided to me by Netgalley for Harlequin.
Hope Matthews is the courtesan to King Charles; however, that will be ending soon as the King has agreed to marry the Queen of Spain and it would not be in his best interest to continue to keep his courtesan around. Knowing this, Hope asks Charles for a little place of her own so that she can leave court with her dignity intact.
Charles, failing to understand how she could be willing to leave so quietly, decides to make a deal with Robert Nichols and forces him into marriage with Hope in order to still keep her close by. Naturally, the two are unable to get along at first, especially since Hope thought it was all a joke rather than a real marriage. As the two grow closer and love develops between them, Robert is forced to make a choice between his wife and an old vendetta that has eaten at him since he was a child. Not my favorite romance novel but nonetheless enjoyable. Interested in more of my reviews?
Visit my blog! View 1 comment. You can also read this review at Reflections on Reading Romance Rating: 3. James did not disappoint! I loved the historical setting, which is depicted fairly accurately, as far as I can tell You can also read this review at Reflections on Reading Romance Rating: 3. I loved the historical setting, which is depicted fairly accurately, as far as I can tell through my limited recollection of the Restoration and a few searches on the internet.
By marrying Hope, Robert will retain possession of his family lands, Cressly. Unfortunately for Hope, Charles never informs her of his plan, and he actually tricks her into marriage with Robert. For me, the historical context is the highlight of this novel. In spite of his many faults, he is quite personable, which I enjoyed immensely and believe to be a rather accurate depiction of the king. James manages to incorporate much of the history seamlessly.
I did enjoy the characters of Robert and Hope, but I felt a bit distanced from their romance, partly because the two are apart so frequently in the novel. At times it felt as though Hope spent most of her days winning the household staff over rather than her husband, because he was away so often. Unfortunately, the subplot surrounding his long-sought revenge is at times more interesting than his marriage to Hope.
Hope, we are told, is a charming, beautiful woman, who despite her past still manages to convey a sense of innocence, and therein lies my main difficulty with this novel. I felt that in order to make her a likeable character, Ms. This in of itself makes her a sympathetic character, so minimizing her sexual experience seems unnecessary. However, the writing was smooth and well-executed, and I found the novel to be a compelling read. I received this book for review from the Publisher through NetGalley.
Just read the blurb. I'll wait. Lady libertine, judgmental lord. Both are pawns of a great man , but married to their dreams of independence, their clash is inevitable. Do you see that? It has it all. A debauched woman, a tortured man, and a King who wants what he wants and has the power to make it happen. It has the marriage of convenience and an inbuilt threat to the lovers to be. It has the premise of a life time. And it's all wasted. How rare is it to find a believable reason for a country gentleman to marry a whore? Yet here it is.
A libertine King without anyone holding him back has the power and the will to make his common whore a noblewoman. He exercises that power and makes a deal with a minor baronet who isn't in the position to refuse his sovereign. Can you imagine it? Two very different people brought together on a monarch's whim and forced to live together in a pretend marriage. And let's not forget the household staff. Here, James actually surprises positively. Captain Nichols' loyal servants don't make it easy for their new mistress to slip into that role.
It's just another way to keep up the pretence and show how alone Hope and Robert are in this mess. The antagonism makes the sparks fly. And again, it's lost. What we have here is a collection of occasionally lovely moments without a real thread to hold them together.
If I skip read the weaker parts, squint, and tilt my head just so I can almost see a great story under there, but only if I try very hard. All the good is buried under characterisations I can't agree with and inconsistencies that tear apart what little plot there was. As for the plot, it feels congested. I can see the reasoning for all the twists but shoddy pacing destroys what little sense I saw there. Still, I didn't hate it. The premise saved a lot. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Nov 18, Maqluba rated it it was ok Shelves: historical , uptight-hero , icky-factor. So I had a lot of reserves going into this book because I normally don't like my historical heroines to be 'experienced' so I was hesitant about reading a book where the she was a courtesan. So I guess if you're in that boat then I'd say don't bother with this one, but if you're okay with that then you might like this more than I did cuz that was still the biggest problem for me after finishing it.
The author tried to make her less prostitute-y by telling us she's only been with 3 men faithfully So I had a lot of reserves going into this book because I normally don't like my historical heroines to be 'experienced' so I was hesitant about reading a book where the she was a courtesan.
Again, I'm not a fan of mistress-type books so that didn't help. The fact that she lived in a grand house with servants and clothes and nice things made her more mistress-y to me than like a girlfriend-type. She was obviously in it for the money and not for love or companionship, she could have taken what she had and moved on but she wanted the higher status, she wanted to be seen and known so she's the only one to blame for her position.
I had compassion for her in the prologue because she was cruelly initiated into this lifestyle but then she tells us what happens after and I basically lost the pity for her. I dont understand hide spoiler ] The hero was haunted by his memories and so he was dark and dreary for a little bit but he was also stodgy and wound tight but around the heroine he lets loose. His actions made sense, but then confused me, but then made sense, but then confused me again.
I don't know what it was but he never felt truly haunted to me and he never felt truly stodgy so I think I just needed more angst in that department. I didn't hate it but I didn't like the characters so even though the storyline was good and the love between them was nicely written I just didn't like the characters so that makes it just "okay" which here I'd say is 2.
You don't need to read the first one to read this but you will be spoiled if you plan on ever reading the first one. As a child, Hope had dreams of love and her very own knight in shining armor to sweep her off her feet. Those dreams died the day her mother forced her sell her virginity to the highest bidder.
Since then, Hope has done the best she could with her lot in life. She is a mistress to King Charles, but now that he is getting married, her days at court are numbered. Charles isn't willing to give up his lover, so he tricks her into marrying Robert. He offers the country gentleman a title and more land to become her husband. Charles figures that after a few months, Hope can come back and they can resume their affair with her as a noblewoman.
Robert accepts once he realizes that refusal would put his family home into the hands of his greatest enemy. Hope has no idea that she is being married off until the deed is already done. It's hard not sympathize with poor Hope. She's never been able to live down a past that was not of her own making. She's been betrayed by anyone she has ever loved. And she is treated like dirt by just about everyone. But she has managed to hold on to a good heart and a determination to make a life for herself.
It is hard to watch Charles break her heart, followed by Robert's cool distain. Even his servants act as though she is beneath them. Yet, as Robert gets to know her, he can't help but want her Robert has issues of his own. He's a man driven by revenge and it's apparent early on that he'll have to choose between that and happiness before all is said and done. Those issues notwithstanding, I really enjoyed watching Hope and Robert fall in love. It was surprisingly sweet.
The love scenes were sexy, though not as sweltering as I might have expected with a courtesan as the heroine. The plot progression is a bit predictable, but it was still an enjoyable ride to the inevitable conclusion. This book is a follow up to Libertine's Kiss and we get a peek at the backstory from that novel. But this is read easily as a stand-alone. I loved it so much that I've been counting the days 'till the release of The King's Courtesan. To be honest I think this book is responsible for my Netgalley addiction. Because I've been checking the website everyday for the last 5 months in hope of seeing The King's Courtesan up for request.
As you can imagine I might have stumbled on a few other books in the process This review was originally posted on Book Lovers Inc Judith James won me over last year with a fantastic Libertine's Kiss. But back to the book! Captain Robert Nichols was first introduced in Libertine's Kiss.
I felt pretty bad for him and I wanted him to get his HEA after all. He's a reasonable man well most of the time , a no-nonsense kind of man. He's also driven by revenge.
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His only goal in life is to finally be able to get his revenge. Robert is haunted by the past and he can't let go. One thing I love about this book is that it's set in a time period that is not often depicted in books. I learned a lot about this historical period while reading Judith James' books. Robert was on the wrong side of the war now he has to deal with the consequences. And in this case the consequences are pretty bittersweet. He is ordered to marry the King's Courtesan, Hope. Hope Matthews is a courtesan. She could have ended up a street-whore but she has wits and she's very courageous.
She turned her situation into something very positive. Right now she's the king's mistress I absolutely adored the scenes between Hope and Charles.
Their relationship is based on friendship and honesty. Well to be completely honest, I just loved Charles, he's a fascinating king. I loved how he could change from a very nice and easy person to his ruthless King's persona in a second. He already fascinated me in Libertine's Kiss and I'm glad we got to see him a bit more.
Charles is soon to be married, he can't have an unmarried mistress at Court. He doesn't want to part with Hope so he engineers a way to have her at Court Charles really is a wicked man, he's very manipulative and won't stop at anything to get what he wants. Hope and Robert's relationship starts off. They were both manipulated in a wedding they didn't want. Robert has to accept that his 'wife' will be the King's mistress. He'll be officially cuckold in front of the whole Court. Hope on the other end feels like she's been cast off. All she wanted was to be free Judith James made me root for them, I wanted them to fall for each other.
I wanted them to fight their demons and finally be happy. I was scared I wouldn't like the whole 'courtesan' thing but it turn out very well. I loved how they fought and how passionate they were. An added bonus is that we get to see the main characters from Libertine's Kiss once again. It was a very good surprise. Court Intrigues, War, Revenge those are a few of the things our heroes will have to overcome to finally get their HEA. Judith James gives us a story about how love can heal the scars from the past. If you love Historical romances with a bit of Court intrigues then this is for you.
One of the main appeal of this book is how it makes you learn so much about this historical period. I will be impatiently awaiting Judith James' next book! I might have worried, but this is Judith James who writes such wonderful, multidimensional characters. And I just adore the setting and time period. But the fact that he fought for Cromwell was more that it was expedient then the fact that he followed their beliefs.
His lands had been stolen and he wanted them back. He is a good and honourable man and I liked him a lot. What a wonderfully written character she is. She first meets Robert when she is young and quite literally falls into his lap during a march of the soldiers. The book then moves forward in time to when Charles II has taken the crown and Hope as one of his mistresses. All she wants from Charles is her freedom to live her life the way she wants to. Charles thinks once the newness of marriage wears off, he will want Hope back again and Robert will be a compliant cuckold.
Once they get past their initial misunderstandings, they begin to truly care about the other and fall in love. And now it hangs over their head — what do they do when the King wants her back And while Hope is more of a stand out character, Robert is no slouch himself. The setting is also such an attraction for me with this book. There are so few in this setting and I know so little, that a few times while reading, I went back and did a bit of research on the time.
As history was one of my favourite subjects in school, I simply loved that I had this reaction. I love everything about Ms. James writing, her characters, her settings, her detail to history, you name it and I give it a thumbs up. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Cover rant coming! Let's get this over with, shall we.
The cover has some lovely colors, and some sumptuous clothing. Nice layout. However, what's with the Grace Kelly outfit the woman has on? This outfit is so Edith Head. It could have been worn in Rear Window. This outfit is not something any self-respecting restoration woman would wear. Not even to bed!
So, then I looked at the guy - ah, a lace shirt. That's sort of restoration. Wait a minute!
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It's open down the front! Didn't me Warning! Didn't men slip those shirts over their heads because shirts didn't open in the front? I may be wrong, but I think I'm right. Nice try with the lace though, you almost fooled me. And, one more little tiny nit-picking thing. What's with the finger on the red lips? I think I know exactly what it means, because I think I know what scene this is supposed to be from. So, I think she needs to get up and rinse. Now, to the inside. Judith James is writing some really interesting books, in time periods that are usually overlooked. The King's Courtesan takes place in one of my favorite times, Restoration England.
This time in history had so much going on; I'm always surprised that there isn't more out there on it. What a lush time. However, on top of all that lushness was some pretty gritty dirt. And Ms. James does not disappoint in her description of what is going on around the protagonists who inhabit The King's Courtesan. I loved the visions she evoked. So, you would think with a time period I love, vision evoking, and a king who I've always found fascinating, I'd be happy with this book.
You'd think. Well, here's the problem. The couple. By their third fight, I just wanted to reach into those pages and smack them. It was one of those let's-have-wonderful-orgasmic-sex-and-then - what, you like white? How dare you like white! I hate you, I hate you! Blacks better and I'm never going to speak to you again! Oh, let's tumble down this hill. You're wonderful! What, now you like black! You cretin! I'll never speak to you again! And, I'm not going to tell you any of my secrets!
So there! Now, I might have exaggerated just a tad, but you get the point. Our couple, a real whore, not a fake one, and a hero bent on revenge might have been wonderful. At least, the heroine was different and the hero had to deal with the fact that maybe someday in the future his wife would have to go back to the bed of King Charles.
So, just that part of the story would have made for some great dynamics. But the constant bickering just got on every one of my nerves, causing many an eye-rolling moment. I do like books that are semi-old school; however, some things are better left with Steve and Ginny Sweet Savage Love. I just don't see a HEA with hate you, hate you, couples.
So, in the end, I was disappointed in The King's Courtesan. Even though I was disappointed in this read, I will be keeping my eyes out for the next in the series. I'm not sure when it's coming out, but I think it's about the young boy that Robert rescued. She lives lavishly as one of his favored mistresses and enjoys his attentions immensely. The King finds Captain Robert Nichols to wed Hope and this begins a sweet love story of a couple who are very much in need of one another. This is a very romantic and sweet novel. Hope Matthews has fought and struggled and lived through some of the most horrific things a woman can live through and yet through it all she has managed to maintain her love of life, her dreams and her hopes of a home and a knight in shining armor.
She finds her knight in Robert. Though he is a very troubled man, burdened with ghosts from his past and driven by a need for vengeance, he immediately finds it impossible to resist Hope. Despite the pain that fills him he cannot help but smile and even laugh when he is around her.
To Hope he gives a home, a castle to call her own, and the freedom to live out her dreams once and for all. To Robert she gives a confidant, a safe harbor to come home to and a loving, willing companion who helps to banish all his torturous nightmares.
Related Restored Good Fortune: An Incredibly Breathtaking and Fascinating Novel
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