09 February 2010
ROOB Review: Carrie Lofty - Scoudrel's Kiss
~purchase a copy here~
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Zebra; Original edition (January 1, 2010)
Genre: Historical Romance
Main Characters: Gavriel de Marqueda & Ada of Keyworth
Book origin: E-ARC provided to ROOB by author
In the sequel to WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS, Meg of Keyworth's troubled sister Ada travels to the Kingdom of Castile.
When it comes to temptation...
Turning his back on his old life as a rogue, Gavriel de Marqueda has joined a monastic order in Spain and taken a vow of chastity. Before he becomes a monk, he must pass one final test: help a woman who has lost her way. But when he lays eyes on Ada of Keyworth, he is tempted beyond measure by her sultry beauty and dangerous curves...
Rules are meant to be broken...
Far from her home in England, Ada has been battling inner demons for more than a year. When she discovers that her only friend has abandoned her, she has no choice but to grudgingly accept Gavriel's help. But Ada is not fooled. Though Gavriel wears the robes of a monk, Ada sees that he is a virile man who looks at her with a hunger that matches her own--one that begs to be satisfied again and again....
For me there is almost nothing finer then to be unexpectedly surprised by a different kind of story and I had such a surprise with Carrie Lofty’s; SCOUNDREL’S KISS. This author appeased my appetite for the unusual, the different, and did it with an atmospheric voice that lured me back to a Spain of long ago. There I met up with a prentice monk named, Gavriel de Marqueda and an opium addict named Ada of Keyworth. They are both unique as they are flawed and together they went on a journey where much was to be learned.
With a very distinct voice Carrie Lofty manages to evoke a very life-like but also atmospheric feel to the Spanish country, villages and monastery. The Spanish endearments and titles only enhanced this feeling and created a different backdrop for Gavriel and Ada to unfurl their story. Their journey is one of personal highs and lows due to Ada’s addiction and Gabriel’s need to purge himself of his past actions. It brings a gritty tone to the story but it worked incredibly well for the character development and gave a raw edge to the emotional depth.
Ada started out with an addiction which can be a risk, at one hand there’s the chance she becomes too weak or, if she recovers too soon, becomes unbelievable. Carrie Lofty balanced it out quite well, I felt Ada’s resilience but also her desperation at moments and the difficulty of dealing with the recovery. She is one of the first to tell you she is flawed, has done things that will make her less likeable but her story reveals a woman who has been to the brink and with help walked away from it. As the opium leaves her body a resourceful and passionate woman is uncovered who impressed me with her skills and view on life.
Gavriel is a warrior turned monk-in-training at the Order of Santiago and between those two professions hides a heartbreaking story that made me want it all for him. Above all I wanted him to find peace but also friendship and a bit of happiness. He has been the product of his upbringing and Gavriel decided against all odds to change his nature. Each time he reveals a bit of his past he becomes more understandable in his actions and reactions. He is a poster model for the tortured hero and he enamored me with his persistence to save Ada and the passion he tried to ignore.
The romance grew with each mile on the road and their discussions alternate between the soul baring kind to the flammable and sometimes tender ones. It showcased their personalities in every way and the changes they went through to get to the other end. Yet there is also a sultry energy simmering between them and though this might not be the focus of the romance it sure was a tangible presence between them. I was very glad that the author kept the focus on Ada and Gavriel because I couldn’t get enough of them, their dialogues and the irresistible push-pull between the sexes.
The personal journey got fueled from the very first chapter by a plot that is gradually at work to become more important throughout the story. Power hungry enemies scheme away and challenge Ada and Gavriel even further to reach an exhilarating climax in the final chapters. The plot may seem subtle at first but it forces the main characters to fight, kick in to survival mode and use their skills to stay one step ahead in the game. As the romance and devious plotting entwine there was also an equally well-defined supporting cast but for me they were just that, adeptly supporting the main hero and heroine to tell their story.
SCOUNDREL’S KISS is one of those stories that shines with the resilience of the human spirit, where love increases the strength and determination to meet life head on and to fight for ones happiness. This was a historical romance where the authors voice sucked me into another time and place to meet complex characters and pick up on their emotions from the get-go.
With a different storyline, characters and time period Carrie Lofty knows how to give a historical romance to sink your teeth in. This author proved to be a wonderful discovery!