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Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Zebra (June 1, 2009)
Publisher: Zebra (June 1, 2009)
Far from England, alone for too long, Captain Jonathon Barry is captivated the instant he sees Jaline - she is too magnificent not to notice. There is a grace to her movements, an elegance to her bearing, that sets her apart even before she lifts her exotic black eyes or speaks. Her voice is intoxicating, soft as velvet with a sweet, lilting quality, as she recounts an evil bargain made against her will. She is to be his mistress, and he may do with her as he pleases...Jonathon is deeply torn, for Jaline is indeed his by right. She is only a slave, the prize he has won in a Constantinople gambling den. Trembling, bared to him, body and soul - oh no - he can see how cruelly she has been treated. It is clear that Jaline is in danger still and he may well be her only hope. Yet even a renegade like Jonathon would risk anything to save so beautiful a woman...and to love her, if she will let him.
When a man purchases a woman he has his mind set on pleasure never to suspect it is a start of a journey less traveled to his own happily ever after. Jonathan Barry and Jaline meet in the search of a goblet, together they travel to Greece and London as attraction simmers as hot as the spices from Constantinople.
I always tell everyone that I enjoy a different approach to a historical romance novel then the classic bon ton setting and I most certainly got my fill with Sarah Parr’s Renegade. Of course the exotic backdrop of Constantinople and Greece add to a different vibe to the story but it is the romantic development between Jonathan and Jaline that caught my attention. Not only does it begin in an unconventional way, their progress as the traditional master with his mistress is contradicted by their actions and personalities.
Though I love ‘different’ I had to get in to the story, it took me a chapter or four to get a feel for Sarah Parr’s writing style and the characters. Those initial chapters felt very much like I entered the scene a few days to late and had to catch up on background information. Yet once I got myself acquainted with Jonathan and Jaline I was more than ready to see where they would take me.
Neither characters fits a certain typecasting. Jonathan has developed a unique work method as to achieve his goals of restoring their family title and wealth. Besides that he is very affectionately and attentive towards Jaline and he shows his feelings from almost the beginning. He isn’t the kind of man you would often meet in those times. He is considerate and caring but it is spiced with a tinge of arrogance, driven ambition and male virility.
It is Jaline whom has her share of obstacles to overcome. Angst and worry blends with an innate audacity and backbone. It creates a picture of a brave yet elegant woman who had it rough at times. At a certain point I mind-pushed Jaline to speak her feelings but simultaneously I could feel her angst and her reasoning not to do so. She made me care about her and as Jonathan showcased an exemplarily patience I was all the more invested in wanting to see these two happy.
Their romance is heated and Sarah Parr used an intimate tone to describe it. I felt the magnetic pull between them from their first meeting but the actual lovemaking was voiced with beautiful words instead of the more “provocative wording”. Jonathan quickly becomes certain of his feelings for Jaline but it is Jaline who puts a break on it and struggles with her own feelings. It adds a tender feel to their story with a natural interaction between them as no former etiquette stands in their way. Jonathan and Jaline are so incredibly endearing together and very refreshing to read between all the claiming, more darker and grittier stories. The cadence of their emotions was a dance as old as time and wrapped me up in their warming glow.
The first half of the story was very character and romance driven, and focused on deepening the relationship between the central couple. Up to a point where I actually started to wonder what the function of the goblet story thread was. The moment I started to wonder was also the turning point in the plot where Sarah Parr started to unravel information and puzzle pieces were coming together.
The Alchemist Goblet attracts a few characters with less than noble intentions and they are key to keep a good pace into the story as the mystery unravels itself. In London there are more characters to be found like the Earl, Marques and Ambassador. Of course there is also the conniving, jealous witch whom wants Jonathan for her pretty little self and it isn’t because she is head over heels in love with him. She is a product of her upbringing and will stop at nothing to claim a title. The Beta male in Renegade is Edmund Barry, brother to Jonathan, and he added a nice secondary story thread within the larger tapestry.
Sometimes you just read a poignant story that warms you from within and makes you snuggle on the couch releasing a deep sigh of content, Renegade is just such a story. The debut of Sarah Parr is a heart-tugging beautifully and a well drawn historical romance with a distinctive own voice and characters. Jonathan and Jaline are undiluted romance and I am ready for more by this author!
If love could be enough, if stories could end happily, she would have left hers right there, with him.
An autographed copy of Renegade, bookmark and a box of Turkish Delight! All you have to do is leave a comment in this blogpost. Everyone can enter from 27 July until 31 Juli. The winner will be drawn and announced on August 1st 2009.