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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Book Review and ARC Giveaway: My Love, My Enemy by Jan Cox Speas

This book contains wonderful descriptions, characters and an interesting plot.
My Love, My Enemy by Jan Cox Speas
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402255772
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402255779
     Genre: Historical Fiction
     My Rating: 3.5 but please note my comments in the review.
Product Description

Casablanca Classics presents this runaway bestseller, a swashbuckling historical romance by a beloved author

A passion for adventure...

Beautiful, naïve, and impulsive, Page Bradley inadvertently rescues English spy Lord Hazard in Baltimore during the tumultuous War of 1812. Now she must put herself at the mercy of her country's enemy.

An aptitude for deception...

Lord Hazard is no stranger to the atrocities of war, but he never imagined the beauty that could come of it until he meets the fiery and irresistible Page. Now he finds himself questioning every loyalty he's ever felt for King and Country.

Amidst the turmoil of war and the peril of the high seas, these two sworn enemies are destined to discover that denying love may be worse than treason.
Review: As I prepare this review I must acknowledge that the elements to this story are wonderful.

In the summer of 1813, during the War of 1812, 18 year old irrepressible Page sneaks out from her family home on the Chesapeake for a stolen day in town. As she is returning to meet the Captain of the sloop she stowed on, she rescues an Englishman from an angry mob. Lord Hazard and his gentleman’s gentleman, join MacDougall and Page to head back to Bradley House where the gentlemen will pick up their horses and be on their way.
But fate has other plans. The sloop is cornered by British ships. Lord Hazard is able to take responsibility for Page, although he may not be able to stop the British Captain from impressing MacDougall into service. Lord Hazard assures Page that, even though she is surrounded by enemies, he will get her home safely.  Later they are overtaken by a Union ship. This is just the start of Page’s misadventures which are to include several more boat transfers, storms at sea, and  travels from Bermuda to France to London.

Lord Hazard is always quietly, but surely, in control and asserting his interest over Page although he doesn’t express his feelings for her until late in the story. Can Page set aside her loyalty to her family and country to accept that she loves an enemy spy?  The characters are developed with a nice subtlety that allows you to see depths from their reactions and words. It is interesting to think how the lines of country loyalties are challenged by personal friendships and relationships.

I believe the normal quote is “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts".  But that didn’t work for me with this book. Although I enjoyed the descriptions, the characters and the plot line, the story seemed very slow to me.  It seemed driven by descriptions rather than action and I really didn't feel pulled into the story until the last 50 pages. Where I might rate the individual parts as 4.0s, the overall effect was less to me.

I want to share just one scene as the descriptions of scenery and ship life and  swashbuckling are wonderful. The author places you in the setting and it seemed the author had first hand experience with all things related to ship travel.
The Caprice, like all Baltimore schooners, was a wet ship, her deck awash with green fingers of water that swirled about Page’s feet; but she ran before the storm like a gull, heeling gracefully to the gusty squalls that marched across the sea in the wake of white flaring lightning and rolling thunder, surging through the water with all the joyful abandon of a porpoise.  From the crew, batting to take in more sail, came a tattered shred of laughter blown on the wind, and Daniel Mason’s face as he walked toward Page was exhilarated rather than apprehensive.  p 127.
The romance is lovely and sweet. I do recommend it. Just be prepared for a lot of descriptive detail even though the story travels with storms and sea battles.
Thank you to Sourcebooks for this book to read and review.

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* This contest will close 10:00 PM (Central) on March 18, 2011. The winner will be randomly selected from all entries

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