Friday, June 5, 2009

REMEMBRANCE by Jude Deveraux

REMEMBRANCE by Jude Deveraux (Published by Simon and Schuster, 2004)
Hayden Lane is a 39-year old romance writer, with a perfect fiancĂ©, a supportive editor and an altogether successful, perfect little life. All this comes crashing down when Hayden becomes increasingly obsessed with the hero of her latest romance novel to the exclusion of everything else. She loses her fiancĂ©, has angered and alienated her editor and starts to lose her sense of reality. Desperation sends Hayden to a psychic, Nora, and she discovers that all her problems stem from unfulfilled love in her past lives. Through several sessions with Nora, Hayden learns about soul mates, past lives and how each life affects the next life in reincarnation. Nora explains to Hayden that when the very first souls were created, they were split in half, one male and one female; hence, a soul mate is the other half of you. Something has happened somewhere in Hayden’s past lives with her soul mate and as a result she wouldn’t find her soul mate again for three more lifetimes. Hayden's immediate response to being told she wouldn’t find that grand passion that she has desperately been seeking is: “I’m an American and I want instant gratification.”

Since Nora has been able to give her several clues as to who she might have been in a past life, Hayden, no stranger to research, delves into the archives at her library and discovers that she was Lady Catherine de Grey who lived in Edwardian England. Hayden also discovers, much to her horror, that Lady Catherine de Grey was a woman who had many affairs and that she died mysteriously, her body never having been found and that her husband, the Earl de Grey, also died on the very same day his wife had died. Believing she can straighten out whatever problem was caused in that life, Hayden finds someone who does past life regressions.

Heedless of the strong warning the Nora has given her not to be regressed to see her past lives, Hayden dives headfirst into dangerous waters when she does just that. When she awakens in Edwardian England as Lady Catherine de Grey and is unable to return, she panics and searches for another “seer” who can help her get back to her present incarnation. However, this time she is catapulted back further in time and her last conscious thoughts are that she is trapped, she has to get out and she realizes that she is a baby about to be born.

What develops from here is a totally amazing love story. Love, hate, obsession, jealousy, a curse and revenge all revolve around two innocent and wonderful young people, Talis and Callie, who love each other with a passion that cannot be denied. Talis' and Callie’s characters were truly one being, each living for and incomplete without the other. This is more than an ordinary love story. It is a remarkable story of two people who are meant to be together, through heartache and loss, separation and tragedy and who are desperate to find the other through the centuries. There are three stories here, but they are all about the same two souls and it works. It starts out a little slow, but don’t put this book down! It is a wonderful book that will touch your heart and a story that you won't soon forget. And, I suggest having tissues close at hand. I loved this book. I highly recommend it. REMEMBRANCE by Jude Deveraux is a keeper!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

MY SURRENDER by Connie Brockway

MY SURRENDER by Connie Brockway (Published by Pocket Books, April 26, 2005)
Three young men are driven by an oath they have taken unto themselves to pledge their service to the three surviving daughters of the man who gave his life to save theirs. As children, each of these young men had been saved from Scotland’s post Culloden destitution by monks to be honed and raised as warrior assassins. Bound together by their childhood horrors, raised as brothers, these three young men secretly assign themselves to one sister, telling the family that if ever they need assistance, the sisters should simply send a yellow rose to the Abbey at St. Bride’s in Scotland’s Highlands and they will be there as quickly as they can. Leaving behind a rare yellow rose bush with the family, they quietly leave and scatter to the four corners of the world.

Charlotte Nash is the youngest of the Nash sisters and one of the most popular, outrageous, flighty flirts in the ton. And, it is all a ruse. Actually, Charlotte is an intelligent, hard-minded, determined young woman who wishes to honor her father's sacrifice by aiding in some way in the war against Napoleon. She is given that chance and becomes a spy for the Crown, while maintaining her hoyden personality.

Dand Ross is the consummate spy: hard, dangerous, cynical and unemotional. For years, he last allowed his two closest friends to believe that he is the traitor that caused their capture and subsequent torture in a French dungeon. When, actually, he has been continuing the work the three had been trained for, espionage, while actually trying to locate the true traitor. At the same time, he has been keeping an eye on his appointed charge, Charlotte, while passing information through her to the Crown.

When a letter falls into the wrong hands, with possible devistating consequences to the Crown, Charlotte volunteers to mascerade as a "fallen woman" in order to gain entry into an exclusive party where the letter is being auctioned off to the highest bidder. Her hastily devised plan to locate the letter and retrieve it has one serious flaw. She realizes that the man she is supposed to offer herself to as a new potential mistress, Comte St. Lyon, is well known in the ton and would never risk his position in society by ruining a virgin. So, she must recruit Dand, the only man she has ever truly been attracted to, to help ruin her in society's eyes and in fact.

Charlotte's inner turmoil, realizing she will forever be an outcast, unable to make a respectable marriage and, most importantly, hurting her beloved sisters, is heartwrenching. Dand, in his chosen role as protector, is put into an untenable position. Charlotte was asking him to go against every code a gentleman lived by. She always has intrigued him and he was certainly attracted to her, so he cannot imagine allowing another man to touch her. Dand is torn and tormented.

The development of both characters as the story progresses proves that not everyone is as they appear on the surface. Both characters are devoted to their secret professions and their cause and realize that there is no room for love in espionage. As a result, neither of them can divulge their feelings for each other and their anguish is palpable. There is tremendous sexual tension, intrigue, suspense and mystery in this book. The chemistry between the two main characters was sizzling. There is just the right amount of humor added when needed. In addition, the return of all the Rose Hunters for this final book is welcomed. And, the mystery of the identity of the traitor, which tantalized from the very first book in this excellent series, is finally revealed. I thought Connie Brockway saved her best for last with this wonderful romance.

I highly recommend this book, the final installment in the Rose Hunter series, as well as the entire series. See my reviews below on the first books in this series, MY SEDUCTION and MY PLEASURE by Connie Brockway.