Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Everything was so much simpler...
When he was wicked.
In every life there is a turning point.
A moment so tremendous, so sharp and breathtaking, that one knows one's life will never be the same. For Michael Stirling, London's most infamous rake, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton.
After a lifetime of chasing women, of smiling slyly as they chased him, of allowing himself to be caught but never permitting his heart to become engaged, he took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell so fast and hard into love it was a wonder he managed to remain standing. Unfortunately for Michael, however, Francesca's surname was to remain Bridgerton for only a mere thirty-six hours longer -- the occasion of their meeting was, lamentably, a supper celebrating her imminent wedding to his cousin.
But that was then…Now Michael is the earl and Francesca is free, but still she thinks of him as nothing other than her dear friend and confidant. Michael dares not speak to her of his love... until one dangerous night, when she steps innocently into his arms, and passion proves stronger than even the most wicked of secrets…
Be still my heart - I am in love! Or rather, I am in love with a voice - or should I say - I loved this book? No matter what way I say it - I loved, loved, loved it! Now, something tells me, the fact that I listened to it on audiobook might have something to do with it. This is the first romance I've ever listened to on audio (not counting the Outlander series, which I don't technically categorize as romance).
You know the movie "Broadcast News" (one of my favorite movies, btw) with William Hurt and Holly Hunter that came out in the 1980's? There's a scene in it, in which he's just had his first broadcast with her whispering though the mike in his ear telling him what to do. It's a big success and he rushes to her afterwards and gets down before her. As she swivels towards him in her chair, he forces her to face him and he tells her how much he loved it and how good they were together, listening to her voice in his ear the whole time, and he says to her, "There was a rhythm we got into, like great sex!"
Well... that's how I felt listening to this audiobook! It was grrreat! I found every possible reason to listen to this book whenever I could. I actually couldn't wait to go to the gym to work out so I could listen to it. I made dinner - listening to it! Every bit of driving - yup, I was listening! Thank God for the portablility of an iTouch! This is the sixth in the excellent Regency Bridgerton series - some of my very favorite books - and boy, did I choose a good one to listen to for my first time! *fans self*
Anyway, on to the story... contains spoilers.
Francesca Bridgerton Stirling is a young widow who has been loved by Michael Stirling, her dead husband's best friend and cousin for 6 years. Michael, a notorious rake about town has loved her from the first time he saw her. Then, when her husband unexpectedly dies, he finds it even harder to be around her. One night, they kiss and that does it. They both flee from each other, and Michael goes to India for four years to try and get her out of his system. Finally, when he returns, he finds out that Francesca is ready to remarry and has come out of mourning. It is futile, he still loves her, yet he can't come to terms with it, feeling the guilt of loving his dead cousin's wife. But, he also can't stand the thought of her marrying someone else as well.
Still, life has a way of bringing people together, despite both of them having huge guilt trips, in a deliciously played out story, the two of them finally come together and it's tender, endearing, humorous, sexy, erotic - amazing! The raciest Bridgerton book I've read so far - a tour de force (if you appreciate that sort of thing.) The scene in the gardener's cottage - gulp, not to mention the first one on the table in the Rose Salon! This book, in my opinion, combines the most poignant yet sensual storyline in the Bridgerton's that I've read so far. A winning combination!
As usual, Julia Quinn, who is one of my favorite romance novelists writes an amazing story and yes, I had tears in my eyes at the end - again! Perhaps, because of the dark and sad side of the story it's not for everyone, but I loved it and thought it was wonderful. My favorite to date of the series! I highly recommend it! (and that sexy voice of Simon Prebbles narrating - swoon!)