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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book Review and ARC Giveaway: Tears of Gold by Laurie McBain

This is a story rich in detail but a little on the long side.
Tears of Gold by Laurie McBain
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (August 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140224245X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402242458
     Genre: Historical Romance
     My Rating: 3.5 of 5.0

Product Description
New York Times bestselling author and Reviewers' Choice Award–winner Laurie McBain has sold more than 11 million copies of her romances around the world with lush, epic storytelling that has made her a favorite among generations of readers.

She has sworn never to love.
To many, she has a perfect life-freedom to travel the world, expensive gifts from wealthy men. But consummate actress though she is, Mara Flynn can never make herself believe the passion is real. One more job. That's all she needs to ensure her family's financial future. And California is just teeming with gold. There, her daring impersonation will fool everyone...except one man.

He has sworn never to forgive.
Mara didn't plan for Nicholas Chantale, though. He has hunted her from the steamy streets of New Orleans all the way to the blinding brilliance of California gold country, only to have his dreams of vengeance crushed when he meets her in the flesh. For though he was sworn to kill her, she was the love he would die for.

Review: The second half of the book made up for the first half that is filled with beautiful, rich historical descriptions but a dragging story.

Mara and her brother, Brendan, inherited their mother’s beauty and knowledge of acting.  But Mara learned young that she can trust no man after watching her mother struggle when the family was abandoned by their nobleman father.  Mara has developed the art of seducing men only to abandon them.

Brendan gets gold fever and sets off to San Francisco with his six year old son, Paddy, Mara and their fierce nurse, Jamie. During the long voyage he loses all of their savings and puts them in a position where Mara has to impersonate the niece of a Spanish Californian until he gets what he wants from the niece’s fiance.

They are comfortably set up in a ranchero hacienda but Brendan is itching to get to the gold fields. Then the gorgeous, imperious Nicholas comes to visit. He is convinced that the dark beauty is the Irish siren who seduced his young nephew and broke his heart. Nicholas has been set on seeking revenge for years.

Nicholas and Mara become entangled in a prideful, volatile relationship. Their passion is high but they do not trust each other. Although Mara is intent on maintaining her aloof independence, she has no choice but to rely on Nicholas after Brendan dies.  Nicholas takes the impoverished family back to his home plantation outside of New Orleans where he has to face his own demons, including his first love, a beautiful aristocratic neighbor. The battle for control in their relationship and refusal to acknowledge their love continues between Nicholas and Mara until the end.

The story is rich in wonderfully detailed settings which are enlightening and interesting but tend to stretch the length of the story. I had to press through the first 200 or so pages enjoying the descriptions but wanting the story to move on. Once the story became more driven by the two strong protagonist characters I was better engaged and the reading was quicker.

So this is a mixed read. You have to enjoy historical detail to get through the front of the book until you get to the romance. Then you have to enjoy hard headed conflict and be prepared to keep reading to find out how the relationship between these two is resolved.

I received this book from Sourcebooks for an honest review.

1. Tell me if you have read other books that describe the muddy streets of 1849 San Francisco OR the flooding of the ground floors of Louisiana Plantation mansions. If you haven't read these descriptions, which do you think you would like to read about? Both of these events are detailed in this book. :-)  This is required for entry.

2.  For an extra entry, become a follower or tell me if you are already a follower.

3. For two entries, blog, facebook, tweet (any of those networks!) about this giveaway and tell me where you did.

It isn't necessary to use separate entries unless you want them in different chronological order.
(Four total entries possible.)

* This contest is only open to residents of US and Canada.
* No P.O. Boxes Please - for shipping reasons.
* Limit one win per household.
* This contest will close 10 PM (Central) on August 26, 2011.
The winner will be randomly selected from all entries.
WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED on AUGUST 27 and will have 72 hours to respond by email or the winners form linked in the announcement.

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