Review: The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer

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The Corinthian ranks in my top 5 favorite Georgette Heyers to date.

My favorite things about this novel:

  • The hero and heroine spend a majority of the book in each other’s presence.
  • The heroine cross-dresses to look like a young lad for most of the novel with the hero helping her in her disguise.
  • The heroine is not a fainting female and is intelligent, if a little young.
  • The childhood sweetheart of the heroine has his own love match and is no way put out by the romance between the hero and heroine.
  • The thief cant: snabble and snaffle are my two new favorite words.
  • The kiss scene. How’s that for a tease?

Corinthian: a man about town, esp. one who lives luxuriously or, sometimes, dissolutely.

—dictionary.com

Sir Richard Wyndham reminds me a bit of Lord Worth. [Hopefully I’m recalling the right hero.]  With Wyndham however it is easier to tell his amusement and enjoyment around Penelope Creed.

Penelope or Pen as she’s referred to when dressed like a boy, is escaping her aunt’s household. She won’t marry her cousin! She won’t! She will marry instead her childhood sweetheart, Piers Luttrell, with whom she’d made a secret engagement five years ago.

Richard is on the verge of making the worst mistake of his life. He’s planning to give his suit to Melissa Brandon, a cold practical woman, because his family is badgering him to marry. The idea drives him to drink. Imagine his surprise at seeing a young lad escape through a window via knotted bed sheets… and then to find out that the lad is in fact a young chit of a girl barely out of the school room.

I’ve noticed in the novels that I’ve read so far that Heyer likes to pair considerably older gentleman with young ladies still in their early teens, rarely in their twenties. It’s usually about a decade age difference. Why do you think she did this?

Rating: 4 Stars

Buy: The Corinthian

Find and buy more Georgette Heyer novels.

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Movie Review: Outsourced starring Ayesha Dharker and Josh Hamilton

I saw this movie 3 times within 3 days and enjoyed it every time.

Todd Anderson is the vice president of customer relations and order fulfillment for a company that sells over the phone patriotic kitsch. Within five minutes of the movie starting, Todd learns that despite his excellent record and that of his team they’re being outsourced. If he wants to keep his job he must head to India for the purpose of training his replacement and the new team. Part of the job description is to get the minutes per incident down to six, a nearly impossible feat due to the accent and cultural differences.

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Culture shock hit the minute Todd lands in India and gets off the plane. Frustrated, irritated, and disappointed with everything Todd bungles his way through 24 hours. Some of the things he misses that seem common knowledge enough to me are worthy of a little eye rolling. If it’s a social gaffe to double dip in America why would you think it’s okay to lick your fingers before putting your hand back into a bowl of food?

In any case, the more Todd resists India the bleaker things seem. Will he ever be able to return home to America or will he be stuck in India forever? Luckily he learns quickly that the best way to get what he wants is to stop resisting India’s culture and charm. Within the month this movie takes place becomes a top notch manager and teacher.

As the story develops, Todd also finds a love interest. He learns the differences of courting and just how important appearances are for women. The romance is referred to by Asha, the girl, as a Holiday in Goa, which means the love affair before one has to enter an arranged marriage. She is accepting that it’s not a love match, but expects love to develop over time. When confronted by how crazy it was to agree to something so archaic, Asha tells Todd it’s crazier that Americans have a 50% divorce rate.

They fall in love and naturally must part ways, but wait!!!! Without giving too much away I will say this: the ending is positive and open ended with enough leeway to write any conclusion a viewer wishes.

Rating: 5 Stars

Buy: Outsourced

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Review: The Edge of Desire by Stephanie Laurens

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By: Marcia, guest reviewer

Lady Latitia Vaux Randall has come to ask Christian Allardyce, 6th Marquess of Dearne, for help.  Someone has just murdered her husband and the authorities suspect her younger brother, Justin, of having committed the deed.  Thus begins Ms. Laurens’ seventh ‘Bastion Club’ novel.

The Bastion Club was formed after the end of the Napoleonic Wars when seven previous members of Her Majesty’s Secret Service needed a place to find peace from the persistent, husband hunting families intent on marrying off their daughters to these highly eligible bachelors.  The members have every intention of doing their duty and marrying, but want to choose their own spouses at their own pace and in relative peace.

Twelve years ago, before the war, Latitia and Christian were lovers and, although they never formalized an agreement, their intentions to marry were clear.  Then Christian joined the guards but was quickly and quietly selected to spy for his country.  He was to tell no one outside of his immediate family.  In case of emergency, he left information on whom to contact with his family attorney.  Since the Vaux family was a member of the haute ton and very wealthy, Christian felt that Latitia would be well cared for in his absence.

He never told her about his mission.  Four years later, Latitia’s father lost most of his money in bad investments.  Mr. George Randall approached the family and offered to save them from their predicament in return for Latitia’s hand in what he specified should be, to all outward appearances, a love match.  Latitia tried franticly to contact Christian, but could not find out where he was.  All of her letters came back unanswered.  She believed Christian had abandoned her.  Christian was stunned and angered to hear of Lititia’s marriage. He could not understand how she could fall in love with another man after the passion they shared.  Now he has agreed to help her find the murderer of her husband but he intends to make her pay.

The Edge of Desire is an entertaining, well-crafted book.  Her characters and their motivations are fully developed and the mystery is carefully and seamlessly woven into a passionate love story.  Laurens has a gift for writing highly detailed bedroom scenes that are beautifully erotic without being cheap or tawdry.  This book is a must read.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Edge of Desire

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Review: The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy is a variation of Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice. Mary Lydon Simonsen’s biggest alterations are in the openness and disposition of the characters. No characters are left untouched, not even Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, which will give purists pause, but for those who love what-if scenarios the results speak for themselves with Darcy and Elizabeth getting the happy ending they deserve.

The first bit of the novel rushes through the beginning portions of Pride And Prejudice to get to the meat of the changes aka the heart of the story. The most notable difference as a result to Simonsen’s alterations appears in the fallout of Darcy’s first blundered proposal. He tells his cousin, Anne de Bourgh, what happened when she drags it out of him and proceeds to give him advice. Meanwhile Lizzy confides in Charlotte and her sister about the incident and Darcy’s rebuttal letter.

The divergence has been made and is continued with minor characters getting to play larger roles and say lines unseen in the original. Together they knowingly or unknowingly work in bringing about the romance.

Anne faithfully works her magic (which has a far wider reach than one might think as she is not under her mother’s thumb) to bring Darcy and Elizabeth together when it seems like they’ll never run in the same circles again. Georgiana, far from the shy retiring miss in the original, is a bright plucky girl on the brink of womanhood, who isn’t afraid to push for what she desires—seeing her brother in a love-match marriage.

Other changes include two affairs in Darcy’s background prior to meeting Elizabeth, Jane’s sharp insights into the Bingley sisters’ characters, an older Bingley brother that isn’t Charles who is the heir, servants gossiping, portions focused wholly on Wickham and his mindset, and even Mr. Bennet giving Mrs. Bennet an earful of both of their deficiencies in raising their daughters.

For a variation that’s fun and quirky try The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy

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Marriage and Courtship in Ancient Greece

by Leslie Soule, guest blogger and author of Fallenwood

So I got a wild itch the other day and it made me want to write a retelling of the Bellerophon myth – you know, the one where Prince Bellerophon slays a fierce monster called the chimera.

The chimera is supposed to have the body of a lion, a goat’s head that sprouts from its back, and a tail that is a serpent/dragon. This creature lives in a volcano and breathes fire. It’s the stuff that great adventure stories are made of.

But in the middle of researching the various versions of the myth itself, I hit a snag. At one point, Prince Bellerophon resists the temptations of the (presumably beautiful) Queen Anteiea. Besides that she is someone else’s wife, we are not given a reason as to why Bellerophon rejects her advances.

I wondered if maybe Bellerophon had a wife – and then I realized that I knew very little about what ancient Greek marriages would have been like. A bit of research was clearly in order.

According to Cyril Edward Robinson’s book Everyday Life In Ancient Greece, “[…] When the two sexes saw so little of each other, love matches were out of the question; and the betrothal was arranged by the parents as a strictly business contract.” My reaction to this was, “Aw, man! I was SO hoping for some romance. Tell me that it isn’t just a notion invented by writers in order to keep the world going ’round! And yet I recalled reading about the love of Odysseus and his Penelope – its intensity despite twenty years of separation and longing.

As I read and thought a little further, I began to realize that ancient Greece was perhaps not so loveless after all. Robinson confirmed this by writing that, “There is much…to show that marriages begun as a business contract developed into a bond of lifelong and heart-felt devotion.”   So I ended up finding what I was looking for – a reason why Bellerophon would resist temptation. Long live romance!


Coming soon to Decadent Publishing…

Blurb: Fallenwood is the story of a girl named Ash who, running away after the death of her stepfather, finds her way to a strange and magical world. But the world she now finds herself in – a world that was once called Terra Illumina but now is known as “Fallenwood” – is a world threatening to tear itself apart. Magic is the life force of Fallenwood, and if it keeps being used up, everything will die. But magic is a weapon, and weapons are owned for the sake of power. Now Ash must find a way to destroy the Great Crystal – the catalyst through which all magic in Fallenwood is channelled – and meanwhile, the kingdoms are going to war. Can she save Fallenwood before it’s too late?

Visit my website: http://www.lesliesoule.com/

My Top 10 Favorite Romance Movies

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Everyone has movies that they tend to watch over and over and over again. We watch them because they make us happy, because we love the acting and the story. Yesterday I saw for the first time a movie that came out in 2007. It was stunning and has without a moment’s hesitancy, entered my favorites list. That movie was Arranged. Look out for a formal review as I will be writing one.

My Top Ten Favorite Romance Movies

(In order by release date.)

  1. Beauty and the Beast (1991) It’s easy to see that this is most girls’ first introduction into paranormal romance. The Beast and castle are clearly enchanted through magic. The castle itself is very Gothic, and our poor hero is as shaggy as any werewolf, though he certainly cleans up nice!
  2. Walk in the Clouds (1995) This lovely postwar romance follows a young soldier as he attempts to sell chocolates and winds up rescuing a damsel in distress. The grandfather makes this movie and the scene in the vineyard during a frost warning is breathtaking.
  3. Ever After (1998) I am surprised I haven’t worn the finish off this DVD. I used to watch it every day or two many many years ago. Prince Henri is a charming rascal in desperate need of a love match to stop his father’s political matchmaking.
  4. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) Colin Firth as Marc Darcy. Clearly this is an awesome romance. Very strong language warning, but other than that it’s very delightful. If you haven’t seen it, you’re going to love the fight scene. Sigh!
  5. North and South (2004) Four hours is not nearly enough Mr. Thornton or Richard Armitage. I would like more please. Is there an unedited eight hour version hiding somewhere? No? Drat! I guess I will have to settle for one, “Look back at me!”
  6. Pride and Prejudice (2005) My favorite version of Jane Austen’s classic. I know I said Colin Firth and Marc Darcy and it’s true. Colin is great as Darcy, but this version with Keira and Matthew and Donald really yanks at my heart. The scenery is gorgeous too.
  7. Outsourced (2006) This movie is a call center and technical support romance between one yuppy American male and one spunky Indian female. Culture shock to say the very least and wickedly entertaining.
  8. Arranged (2007) One Orthodox Jewish girl and one Muslim girl are getting matched. They know each other from their teaching positions at the same school and as they go through the process of meeting men under watchful family eyes they become fast friends. Very satisfying ending!
  9. Enchanted (2007) I just love the songs in this film, especially “How does she know that you love her?” Patrick Dempsey is devilishly handsome and a treat to watch as he struggles against falling for a loopy girl who thinks she’s in love with a prince. Amy Adams is perfection.
  10. Lost in Austen (2008) Be honest, who hasn’t wanted Mr. Darcy to herself? One English miss from today’s world manages to get stuck in Jane Austen’s ‘fictional’ Georgian England at the start of the story and the rest as they say is history!

So there’s my list. What movies are on yours?

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