Review: Beautiful Tempest

Review: Beautiful TempestBeautiful Tempest (Malory-Anderson Family, #12) by Johanna Lindsey
Series: Malory Family #12
Published by Gallery Books on July 11th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I completely satisfying book that I approached with trepidation.  I love, love, love the book about Jack’s father and I feared that this book wouldn’t live up to my expectations.  Instead, this book went in a different direction than I expected, but I loved these characters and their adventurous romance.

THE STORY:  Jacqueline Malory is the darling daughter of James Malory.  When Jack returns from escaping her kidnapper, James and his family are determined to take care of their enemy and sail for the West Indies to confront an old enemy.  Jack is angry that her father has left her in London while he confronts the man that kidnapped her. When a mysterious man approaches her at a masquerade ball, she is intrigued but realizes that he might actually be her kidnapper.  Instead of capturing him, Jack once again ends up in his clutches at sea.  But this time, things are different between them.

OPINION:  This is a book that I approached with trepidation.  GENTLE ROGUE (the story of Jack’s parents) is my all time favorite romance book.  Whenever an author extends the story of characters there is always the possibility of a letdown.  My concerns: Will Jack’s book be as compelling as her parents? How will the characters of James and George be presented? Will this book diminish my enjoyment of the original?  I’m glad to report that I was completely satisfied by this book.  As good as James and George’s book? No, but this book is filled with adventure and strong active characters — including Jack who seizes her own destiny.

Johanna has been writing for a long time (and I’ve been reading her for most of that time!).  Her books began in the time of bodice rippers and I found this book to be an interesting flip of many of those books.  Scenario:  heroine kidnapped and taken on the high seas as part of revenge against her father, hero is attracted to her and she is reluctantly attracted to him. The book also contains threats of rape, adventure and exotic locations.  In a prior book, the heroine would be a woman to which the action happens.  But those heroines of the past are not Jack Malory.

Jack is a woman who takes the reigns of her sexuality. She is determined, and takes all the autonomy that her brother does.  While she has a different sensibility, she refuses to be shamed or deterred by her male family members.  Ultimately, she navigates respect and care for her father and brother with her own self-determination. I really liked her own sense of self and her active nature.  Even as the times and protective nature of her male relatives dictate that she should be submissive, she (and the women of her family) are strong and independent.

Lindsey knows these characters so well and it was a joy to get an update on Malory family which contains a very colorful collection of characters that has engaged me since I was a teenager.  These characters are larger than life. While the story doesn’t have emphasis on historical accuracy and detail, I have always enjoyed how Lindsey places her iconic characters in the tapestry of history without becoming overly engaged in that history.  (There are other authors who are masters of weaving their characters into time, but that is clearly not Lindsey’s goal).

The hero Damon is an interesting contrast to Jack.  He has murky motivations but as things become clearer, I loved him more — and so did Jack!  I thought he was an interesting match for Jack. Sweeter in many ways — although he is definitely not a beta hero.  I love these shipboard romances and this one has some twists that kept me reading quickly to find out how things were resolved.

I loved this book and think that anyone who follows the Malory series will be especially pleased with this entry.  Probably my third or fourth favorite in the series overall…which says a lot considering how much I love this series.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book brings up characters that are candidates for future books in the series.  One can hope!

CONNECTED BOOKS:  BEAUTIFUL TEMPEST is the twelfth book in the Malory Family series.  The book is a standalone, but is connected with its immediate predecessor STORMY PERSUASION and, of course, the heroine Jack is the daughter of James Malory from GENTLE ROGUE.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Make Me Love You

Review: Make Me Love YouMake Me Love You by Johanna Lindsey
Published by Gallery Books on July 5th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
two-half-stars

“You are as stuck with me as I am with you, no matter how much we both hate it.”

FINAL DECISION:  Rather bland characters and story make this a book that was okay to read but not one I will rush to pick up again.

THE STORY:  Brooke Whitworth is ordered by the Prince Regent to be sent to marry Lord Dominic Wolfe, the enemy of her hated brother in order to settle a dispute which has led to three duels between the men.  If either family does not participate, their lands and titles will be forfeit. Brooke’s brother is happy to send her believing that Lord Wolfe will reject her as a bride.  The Wolfe, however, intends on frightening her away. What he doesn’t expect is that Brooke is happy to marry a man far away from her hated family and she will do everything to make him accept her.

OPINION:  I am a big fan of Johanna Lindsey. I’ve been reading her books for thirty years, but this one was a disappointment.  There was nothing bad about the book, it just consisted of such a bland story and bland characters that it is utterly forgettable.

I liked Brooke as a character.  She refuses to be cowed by her circumstances or her unhappy fiance. She is determined to make things work for her.  She is clever and kind.  Unfortunately, she was the best part of the book and was not unique enough to support the entire book.

Dominic was the biggest disappointment. His character was just bland and unimpressive. There didn’t seem to be anything to his character except his vendetta against Brooke’s brother.  My reaction to him was just a big yawn.

The story was resolved in too pat a manner. Too much easy happy endings where things were too broken to be so easily resolved. I just felt a big lack of any intense emotions, even passion in this book. There was one obligatory love scene that wasn’t particularly interesting either.

The story wasn’t horrible, but just so bland that I would just recommend reading one of the amazing Lindsey books instead of this one.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The funniest part of this book is when Dominic keeps getting his face slapped “propositioning” new mistresses.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  MAKE ME LOVE YOU is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 2.5 stars.

two-half-stars