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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Kiss from a Rogue

***½ Kiss from a Rogue by Shirley Karr. Historical romance.

I had zero expectations for this book. I'd ordered a boxful of books from one seller on Half.com, and she sent along a handful of freebies. This was one of them. I wasn't overjoyed--historical romance isn't my favorite genre--but I'd just finished re-reading
White Night, and anything else was going to suffer in comparison, so I figured I'd read something I wasn't expecting to love.

Widow Sylvia Montgomery has been left with a bankrupt estate and with the whole poverty-stricken village depending on her, the only way they can survive is to continue their smuggling. The problem is that their only ship sank, killing her husband and most of the village's able-bodied men. So they have to deal with a lecherous, unscrupulous captain and a rival gang that's trying to take over their business.

Tony Sinclair has been running his family's estate, but now that his elder brother has returned from the war, it's his job, and Tony's at loose ends. He decides he's been respectable and responsible long enough, so rather than take a job in the city, he goes traveling, and finds himself stranded in Sylvia's village, and decides the attractive widow would be a perfect start to his life as a rakehell.

It's a fun story--warm and delightful. Sylvia's concern for the village and her acceptance of the responsibility, as well as her reactions to Tony, make her an appealing heroine. Tony's determination to become a rake, in direct contrast to his honorable and responsible nature is entertaining as well--there's something about a self-deluded hero that always appeals to me, I'm not sure why.

Tony's solution to the village's dilemma is a little too facile, I thought--along the lines of the divorced woman in a contemporary being able to support herself and her extended family by baking cookies in her kitchen.

Oddly, I guess the reason why this didn't grab me that much is that it was just too sweet--it felt like a Disney movie. (It's no coincidence that the product description on Amazon calls it a cross between Pirates of the Caribbean and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.) The villains were a bit too 2-dimensional and easy to defeat; the conflicts were there, but there just wasn't a lot of meat to them.

Still, it was a very pleasant read.


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