Tuesday, November 10, 2009
REVIEW - Miss Bisque and the Colonel by Carol North
Title: Miss Bisque and the Colonel
Author: Carol North
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Word Count 65,130
Rating: 4.5 of 5.0
Heat Rating: Sensual
Blurb: Miss Bisque is living a hand-to-mouth existence because her deceased husband set up his estate to hide his “secrets.” Colonel Parker Hill helps Miss Bisque become financially independent. When accused of murder, she may need more help than even the colonel can provide.
Review: This is a very well written, emotionally charged and engaging contemporary romance! There is surprising authenticity in the main character of Miss Bisque.
Miss Bisque is not a young girl but a mature woman who fulfilled her parent’s plans for her to be the perfect Southern socialite and corporate wife. Unfortunately, her beloved husband, Johnny Bob, has died suddenly leaving assets tied up in Trust with only enough of a monthly stipend to pay the basics of her household expenses. In order to have freedom without having to rely on asking the Trustees for money, Miss Bisque must earn her own money.
Her best friend suggests that Bisque sell some of her paintings. Bisque realizes that she hasn’t painted since shortly before her marriage as her mother and her domineering husband discouraged such “unladylike” activity. Now she decides that she must start to paint again not only to express her high emotions but also to earn money. She determinedly sets out to find the right gallery that will suit her and her art. This is where she meets the charming Colonel who owns a gallery and is immediately struck by Bisque’s work and by her as a beautiful woman.
The Colonel is rumored to be a ladies man who associates with the young women who work in his gallery. But he is nothing but sensitive and gentle once he sets out to help Miss Bisque and he pursues her with great tenderness. All her life Bisque has been placed behind fences, literally and figuratively. Only the Colonel is willing to encourage her to be independent, accomplish goals for herself and to be an equal in a world beyond the roles of a dutiful daughter, wife and mother.
I was impressed how the author describes the artistic process as though it is second nature to her. The descriptions flow in almost a lyric fashion so suitable to the topic. The story may start out a bit slowly as it sets the repressed character of Miss Bisque. However, as soon as she begins to blossom you become caught up with her growing persona and are anxious to see her succeed.
Ms. North makes the setting and characters natural, down to earth and as real as your own friends. She mentions books, movies and music that fit into everyday life. But the most striking thing about the story was the emotional response that it evoked! I was shocked by the pain of discovering the husband’s greatest secret and frightened by the sexual assault on Bisque. I was hurt by the demeaning attitude of her family, and my heart pounded at the cutting betrayal by her friend. Best of all I was warmly touched by the Colonel’s persistent tenderness and Bisque’s ultimate acceptance of her own worth. If you like a mature romance packed with emotion, you will really want to read this book!