Tuesday, July 26, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥: The Bride Wore Scarlet by Liz Carlyle

Release Date: July 26th, 2011
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Page Count: 375
Source: ARC provided by Carolyn at Romance Novel News (thanks, doll!)

Passion and secrets simmer behind the elegant façade of Victorian London in another deliciously intriguing novel featuring the mysterious men of the St. James Society.

Anaïs de Rohan has faced danger in her past, but never anything so great as posing as the new bride to one of the St. James Society's most magnetic—and ruthless—leaders. But Lord Bessett's bold challenge to prove herself worthy of joining his secret all-male society is impossible to resist. So she daringly agrees to travel with the enigmatic nobleman on a dangerous mission to save one of their own—a little girl with a frightening gift.

Soon intrigue swirls about them, drawing them ever closer. And Anaïs quickly realizes that the intimacy of sharing Lord Bessett's bedroom is proving a temptation impossible to resist. As for Bessett himself—well, he might be a soldier sworn to the Society, but he certainly isn't anyone's saint...
What Stephanie Thinks: This regency novel with a paranormal twist brims with witty and sexy character banter I love. The romance isn't routine, and has me rooting for it to continue, while the characters are full of life and personality. For some odd reason, however, I couldn't get into it.

The storyline is frustratingly complicated and the prose is elaborate. Carlyle may be an advanced writer, but she doesn't have a way with words; it's really difficult to follow much of the plot. I found myself trudging through a lot of the excess text, and even snoozing at some points. The story itself sounded really great: Anaïs de Rohan uses her inherited gift and utilizes Lord Bessett's special gift to help a woman in dangerous peril, as well as her small daughter who possesses a power greater than one has ever known. But it is written in a way that I just don't find interesting

At least the sex scenes are hot. The relationship between Anaïs and Geoff Bessett, however, ends up exactly the way I imagined, so there isn't anything new to it. It's really sweet how Anaïs confides in him that she is waiting for her Mr. Right, and in the end, he turns out to be her Mr. Right, though. Romances as timeless as theirs make my heart sigh.

I really, really wanted to like this book. The characters are 
strong and the romance steaming. But the biggest problem is that I didn't—and I still don't—know what the main conflict of the novel was. And I'm not too enthusiastic about rereading to find out; it's not worth the trouble. I am able to make out a basic storyline (as one thing this story doesn't lack, is detail), but as a whole, the entire concept of the Fraternitas society—which is the secret coven Anaïs attempts to join—confuses me. Therefore, I don't recommend this book at all; books like these are ones that strengthen my disfavor towards historical romances.

The one thing I can't take my mind off is how The Bride Wore Scarlet (a scarlet dress isn't even mentioned in the book...?) aptly inspires every girl that sometimes, your prince won't arrive into your life promptly on his noble steed; sometimes, your prince was there for you all along.

Stephanie Loves: "She wanted to smack him with a cracking good blow across the cheek.
She wanted to drag him to her bed, and slide her hands beneath the well-tailored façade of civility he wore. Wanted to stroke and tempt and touch until his bare skin shivered beneath her fingers."

Radical Rating:
 5 hearts: Doesn't particularly light any of my fires; I feel indifferent about this book. ♥♥♥♥♥