Thursday, 31 May 2012

Some Kate Hewitt Shorts

Kate Hewitt has put together some of her many stories published in magazines over the years in themed anthologies.  Here are four of them. Plus a Novella.  

Out in the Country    ****

Out In The CountryThis is a three in oner. A novella length story that manages to introduce quite a broad range of characters and surprisingly, the ensemble cast are painted with quite a detailed brush.  A real gift, but one Kate Hewitt excels in. Our primary heroine is Lynne, a recently widowed New Yorker, she has come to the point where she wants something more, something new.  At first she thinks it might be returning to her birthplace of Scotland to set up a Hotel with her childhood friend Jess and her fiancĂ©. Only Jess's plans fall through and another option opens up for the old friends in Vermont.

Lynne's daughter Molly is also going through a transitional stage in her life. She is beginning her teaching career at a tough inner city school in New York. There she meets the cynical Luke who guides her through her first weeks and makes her wonder if her long term boyfriend Jason is the right man for her after all.

Meanwhile in Vermont. Lynne and Jess find themselves becoming part of the community and making new friends and even perhaps new loves.  But they first have to come to terms with the past.

This is a sweet and engaging read full of interesting and likeable characters. We see the ups and downs as the characters brave their new world and make decisions about the future. 

Before the Dawn: Stories of Hope in Hard Times     ****

Before The Dawn: Stories of Hope in Hard Times I've been working my way through Kate's series of short story collections.  Kate has gathered them together and is putting them into themed e-books.  This one, based one the old adage that it's 'Always Darkest before the Dawn' is a collection of stories that have the common them of people at their lowest ebb finding, love, hope, redemption, even themselves.  They are not all love stories as such. Four of them are more about family and finding purpose in life. My ickometer gyrated madly when I saw the word infidelity listed as one of the themes but I should have known I could trust Kate to deliver sensitive and beautifully written stories that touch on the serious issues but leave you feeling hopeful and uplifted by the end of the story.

My favourite in the book is the Post WWI Reunion story. 'Memory and Desire' is faintly reminiscent of one of the stories in her historical collection but from a different angle and very moving. 'The Locket' is a sweet romance of young love challenged by circumstance as is 'A Piece of Cake' which shows us that we are all unique and loveable for the right person. 'Comfort' is a comfort read for those of us further down the track when a long term relationship may seem a little flat.  'Now That You're Here', 'Daddy's Girl' and 'Blueberries for Breakfast' are touching tales of family relationships. The last one, a little different, is 'Triangles', the story of a childless woman looking for meaning in her life.

This collection is a quick and easy read and left me feeling pleasantly uplifted.  I went back and read 'Memory and Desire' again because I'd read it late at night and wanted to revisit it.

Through the Years: An Anthology of Historical Romance     *****

Through the Years You might think five stars over the top for a little book of five short stories.  But I loved four of the stories and absolutely loved the fifth.  That was story number two, Finding A Way Home. And yes it was a reunion story.  My very favouritist kind. The stories are all plain straight out romances set in the first half of the 20th Century. From the San Francisco Earthquake to a post WWII department store.

All the stories are very simple and sweet stories well embedded in the era. Kate Hewitt has done a lovely job with her evocative backgrounds that tell you exactly where you are without hitting you over the head or distracting from the core business, the romance.

All the characters are well drawn in spite of the short length of the stories and each and every one of them I would have been happy to read about all night.  

Number One "Elegance" is about a young miss who dreams about being more than just the girl behind the glove counter. She learns that elegance is about more than working in the fancy couture department.
Number Three, "Through the Storm" is a classic tale of the city school mistress proving herself to a small town in the far west, and to a rather special widower. 

The title of number four "A New Hope" at first had me thinking Star Wars but it is a lovely little story set in Ontario reminiscent of Anne of Green Gables and L.M. Montgomery's short tales.

Number Five "A Day Like No Other" is a nice little snapshot of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and two antagonistic young people who discover much more under adversity.

I've left Number Two til last because for me this was the pearl of the collection. The story of a young woman welcoming back her husband in 1920 after six years away in WWI. This lovely and moving tale of a man coming to terms with both physical and mental wounds and the difficulties he and his barely a bride wife have, really caught my emotions.  

This was a free download on Amazon yesterday and I snabbled it up having enjoyed two other similar collections by Kate.  This is my favourite.

Bump: An Anthology About Pregnancy, Motherhood, & Trying For It AllBump: An Anthology About Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Trying for it All     ***

If you are expecting (no pun intended) something resembling Kate's well known Presents romances you will be disappointed. This is a selection of short stories (very short magazine length) dealing with the pains and gains of pregnancy and babies. All the stories are well written, even beautifully written in places. They are not really romances although there is love in them. I found a couple of them quite difficult to read as they deal with subjects that will be emotional, especially for women. Kate has very kindly sorted them from sad through to happy, so it is worth persevering to get a happy ending. Kate's gift for drawing us interesting and engaging people is evident even in these very small tales, but don't expect the intricacy of her usual full length novels.  I gave it 4 stars on Amazon because I liked it but on Goodread I gave three because I didn't quite 'really like it'.  Maybe 3 1/2.  Today was probably not a good day for reading emotionally demanding stories.

Love, Laughter & Lucky Marbles:  An Anthology about the Funny Side of Falling in Love       ****

Now this was exactly what I needed after a pretty rough day. This is a selection of mini romances. Yes they are all about boy meets girl and with a fair indication (give or take about 46 000 words down the track that we don't get to read) that they will end up with a happily ever after. They are all light hearted reads as the title suggests. The most fully developed story was probably Just Friends. It was my personal favourite anyway. But a few others stood out from the crowd as well.

The stories covered a fair range of situations though as is always a risk with gathering an anthology under a topic that there will be similarities. Two sister of the bride stories but they aren't all that similar in the end. A couple of Valentine's that started off with the same theme but diverged pretty quickly.

I enjoyed all the stories. I always worry with an anthology that some make weight might be chucked in. Like when you buy a CD of your favourite artist (I was going to say record but thought that might date me a little). So often you like just a couple of them and the rest are pretty meh! Not so here. They are all light and fluffy but still very enjoyable with engaging characters.

A Selection of Sweets

Millionaire to the Rescue by Ally Blake   2007    ****

Millionaire to the Rescue (Harlequin Romance, #3984)This is the second Ally Blake book I've read. This is an interesting read because we see the hero is in love with the heroine pretty much right from the start. Brooke is a recently widowed mother of two.   Her husband Calvin, who would have been ex if he hadn't driven off a road with his trashy new girlfriend, was a racing driver and Australian icon.

Unfortunately he also managed to offload the very substantial fortune he'd made over the years leaving his wife and children destitute. Enter Danny, Calvin's boyhood buddy and best mate. Together they'd risen to the top, Calvin as a driver and Danny as a sports manager.

It was only natural that while Calvin travelled on the racing circuit that Danny should be there helping out. Brooke relied on Danny, even though she knew he didn't actually like her all that much.

If Wishes were Fishes, as Danny always said. Funny thing is that Danny wasn't altogether sure he liked Brooke. He'd spent the eight years of her marriage making sure he knew she was off limits. Even though there had been a time when he regretted the fact that Calvin had seen Brooke first.

But what was an honourable man to do when faced with his friends widow in such tragic circumstances. Offer her a home and a job...maybe something more.

Brooke found herself fitting far too easily into Danny's lovely home and her children turned easily to the man they'd known all their lives. Both Danny and Brooke have a lot to deal with, with the ever present shadow of Calvin. 

This is pretty much just a very sweet romance with a hot capable guy who isn't used to family and emotional stuff and a woman who has had to learn to be strong and self sufficient and doesn't quite know how to let go. I very much enjoyed the read and the fact that, apart from the fortunately dead husband, there weren't any 'bad' people in the story. Not even a raft of mistresses to prove the heroes virility which made a nice change.

The Pregnancy Bond by Lucy Gordon  2003     ****

Now I've always said I love a reunion story. This is an interesting one, starting as it does on the night the
 heroine is celebrating her divorce. Jake Linley married Kelly when they were both quite young, him a brash young reporter and her barely out of school due to an unexpected pregnancy.

The Pregnancy Bond  (Maybe Baby) (Harlequin Romance, No. 3733)The strains of his job and her loss of self esteem over losing the baby and having to put aside her dreams of university to make a go of their marriage when Jake was only starting out, took a toll on their marriage.  When it seems that Jake has cheated on her, Kelly decides enough is enough and sues for divorce.

Jake never really believed she would go through with the divorce and is thrown off balance when he arrives in the midst of the celebrations to find Kelly living large with a bevy of men at her beck and call.  Nevertheless it is Jake who she finishes the night with before sending him off with well deserved thanks for the best night of goodbye sex.  It was time to get on with her life.

Until she sees Jake wounded on television and comes to the hospital to see him.  Jake is a changed man.  Gone is the cocky self confident reporter.  It is a long hard road to recovery and when he realises Kelly is pregnant he is determined to make everything up to her.  The sacrifices she made to help him on his career path hang over him as he sees her pregnancy about to cost her the chance to make the new life she's chosen, studying for her degree.

Kelly's independance is rocked by the pregnancy but when she sees Jake's pain and is reminded of how alone he is she allows him to move in.  She would keep an eye on him as he recuperates and he would pay rent to enable her to live and study.

As they interact over the next months we see them learning more about each other.  Kelly's doubts about whether Jake ever truly loved her are still a barrier and it takes a whole lot of things, including Jake's emotional collapse from depression, to awaken her to the true nature of their bond with each other.

This is really a very interesting story with a hero who while appearing alpha is very far from perfect in some ways.  But he is a wonderful hero who deserves his second chance. I very much enjoyed watching both of them grow and change and learn to see each others reality.

Like Strangers by Lynda Trent    1988 Silhouette Special Edition       ***

Like Strangers I hadn't heard of Lynda Trent until someone mentioned her on the Harlequin boards as their first romance. Having grown up on Mills & Boon, many Silhouette authors are unknown to me. In fact many U.S. authors are unfamiliar to me apart from Janet Dailey.

This is a reunion story. I particularly chose this as an introduction to the author as I love reunions.

The story begins with us meeting Lani Cameron whose husband supposedly died in an air crash five years ago while carrying freight to Mexico. Lani has made a new life for herself as a potter, including an interesting line of faux Mayan gods she sells to a regular customer.

When her husband Bryan turns up, thin, dirty and dishevelled, Lani doesn't quite know how to greet him. After five years in a Mexican jail, her husband is not the same man.

Both Lani and Bryan have big adjustments to make both to each other and for Bryan, a new life without his air freight business. He also wants revenge on the anonymous smugglers for his false imprisonment.

There is a little bit of intrigue as Bryan and also Lani work towards uncovering the secrets behind his wrongful imprisonment.

I did find some of the internal dialogue of both of them a little irritating at times as they worried about whether the other person had decided the marriage had no future. That went on a little bit too long before things sorted out.

Otherwise I found it a good story and it held my interest right to the end.

Monday, 28 May 2012

A Couple of lesser known stories by well known vintage authors.

Air Ticket by Susan Barrie  1974   *****

This is a really sweet little book. Shorter than most HM&B books it is still quite a satisfying read. Caro has just married off her only daughter very successfully and is facing life alone. Her brief, youthful marriage to a submariner left her largely untouched emotionally. The sixteen years since his death have been ones of struggle to make a living as a portrait artist in miniatures. Now she is quite successful but feeling rather lost. A suggestion by her cleaner sends Caro off on a journey to Switzerland and she meets Dr Lucien Andreas on the flight to Zurich.

She ends up in the scenic mountain region of Oberlaken where Dr Andreas has his practice and runs a clinic for children. Thrown together by an accident their romance is swift and overwhelming for Caro. Especially when she learns of Lucien's tragic first love from the lips of a woman claiming to be Lucien's good friend.

This is a very enjoyable story of the challenges facing a very nice couple as they embark on a second marriage for both of them. The mistakes they make and the things that come between them are realistic and quite moving at times. Both characters are endearing and the HEA very satisfying.

Meeting in Madrid by Jean S. MacLeod  1979   ****

This is a fairly typical romance set in Spain.  The English heroine, Catherine Royce is to be the tutor to a
 Spanish teenager for twelve months.  

The romantic lead is Don Jaime de Berceo Madroza.  Cathy almost immediately compares him to the tall lean and very hard Conquistadors of Spain's violent past.  Don Jaime is the uncle and guardian of her pupil Teresa. He is a man who has little interest in women after a betrayal in his youth.

In any case, his sister-in-law Lucia, the step-mother of Teresa, has already staked her claim.  Having lost her first husband, Don Jaime's older brother, she is keen to establish her authority over the family property by marrying his brother. It is Lucia who causes most heartburnings for our heroine as she begins to fall in love with Don Jaime.

In spite of the rather familiar story line, this is a pleasant read with a suitably alpha hero. The ending had a nice touch of drama to help the climax and lead to the HEA.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Take two Sheikh's and get back to me in the morning

The Sheikh's RedemptionThis is the prescription I received from Doctor Olivia Gates when I was awake in the early hours a while back with a nasty case of insomnia.

Naturally I followed her instructions to the letter...though it made me feel so good I think I overdosed.

Sheikh's make for an interesting fantasy in this day and age when the modern era has overtaken even the desert.  The days of vanishing into the ever shifting sands at the hands of a primitive white clad lord of a desert tribe are over in real terms.  Olivia does a nice job of creating the fantasy in the real terms of the modern world.  Her sheikh's are well educated men of the present with just that nice hint of primitive power and lots of passion.

Olivia has another Sheikh Trilogy in the process of being released, so I'll be able to dose up again on her Desert Knights.

Throne of Judar Trilogy

The Desert Lord's Baby    *****

The Desert Lord's BabyTake a deep breath. Where do I begin with this one? I've had this book on my shopping list for months so I can read the two sequels. It is well worth the wait. This is a reunion story and ticks all my favourite buttons.
The heroine Carmen fled Farooq sixteen months ago when their time limited affair resulted in her pregnancy. She has rebuilt her life around her miracle child Mennah, the child she'd believed she would never have due to infertility issues that destroyed her first marriage.
Farooq has been searching for Carmen ever since that night when he intended to ask her marry him but instead faced disillusionment and betrayal. Betrayal because his cousin Tareq told him that Carmen had been his tool to destroy Farooq's right to the throne of Judar.
But all this pales into insignificance when Farooq learns he is the father of Carmen's child. And not just because he needs a wife and child to meet the requirements for the Throne. He wants his child, and when he sees Carmen again he realises that he wants her too. In his bed, even if her betrayal means he will guard his heart.
For Carmen this means being thrust into an alien world. A world of money and power and a different culture. A culture that requires of Farooq a marriage of state beyond this first marriage to secure his child. It also means the provision of a male heir, something Carmen knows she cannot provide.
This story and the ups and downs of the relationship between Carmen and Farooq had me in tears more than once. The passion and intensity of the lovemaking is ultra hot and verging on the erotic. The dilemma's faced by both of them are real and heart rending. The solution is just another example of why Olivia Gates heroes are the ultimate in all round alpha males.

The Desert Lord's Bride     *****

One of the things I really love about Olivia Gates books is that once the heroine is in the heroes sights there is no question of another woman. Vague intimations of arranged marriages aside there is no doubt from the very first moment that for these men there is only one woman in their life.
The Desert Lord's Bride (Silhouette Desire)(Throne of Judar, Book 2)When Shehab makes his plan to lure his unwilling bride into his clutches, no one is more surprised than he is by the conflagration of need this woman he intends to use and discard awakens in him. All he knows about her, her cold calculating use of men, counts for nothing in those moments when he see her for the first time in the flesh.
Farah has very good reasons to mistrust men and the way she falls flat on her face in a puddle of drool is so unlike her that she is left disoriented and confused. No dim bulb she almost realises the true nature of Shehab's seduction but her own feelings overwhelm her caution and she is swept away.
To an island paradise where Shehab tempts her unbearably with his charm, humour and unbelievably gorgeous body. (yeah another of those typical Olivia Gates heroes. Men who have it ALL. )
Of course the revelation that he is her arranged husband who must marry her for the sake of the kingdom is the last thing Farah needs and this precipitates one of the most gut wrenching scenes. What Shehab does makes him the most incredible hero. A very worthy match for our heroine.
It is this scene that pushes the rating into 5 star.

The Desert King     *****

The Desert KingSo you liked the first two Throne of Judar books and wanted more. Olivia Gates gives you more in The Desert King. More passion, more angst, more of that fabulous exotic background. And more Hero and Heroine.
Kamal might be the baby of the family but he's taller and darker and angrier than both his brothers. We've seen a little of that dark side in the earlier books but now faced with his demons we get the full treatment.
The breakup with Aliyah seven years ago marked both their lives drastically. The ruination of his young love affair and the disillusionment involved turned Kamal's life into a bleak desert far more dangerous than the deserts of his home country.
For Aliyah, Kamal's abandonment almost destroyed her fragile sanity, only just recovering from a childhood dependency on misdiagnosed prescription drugs. Having rebuilt her life and recreated herself as a successful artist, the worst thing to happen was Kamal's re-emergence into her life.
The marriage is required to maintain stability in the region and would be a temporary arrangement to provide an heir.
Until things explode between the two of them on their wedding night. .. So where was I?
Oh yes. Aliyah is certainly no doormat and fights every inch of the way but the pair of them play off each other brilliantly with wit and humour showing that the explosive chemistry isn't just in the bedroom. All that needs to happen is for them to get over the mistakes of the past to find a brilliant future. If they don't make too many mistakes in the present.
Olivia manages to pull the most angsty tear jerking moments out of the hat for these guys. I just love to see a strong man cry and Olivia doesn't mind making her men work for redemption. Of the three brothers Kamal has the most to regret and he pays for it. IN the most satisfying possible way.
Being the final we get a nice little epilogue to tidy up all three families and perhaps a hint of something to come in another series.
Well done Olivia.

The Pride of Zohayd Trilogy

To Tame a Sheikh     *****

To Tame a Sheikh (Pride Of Zohayd #1)What can you say about a book where the hero loves and believes in his true love almost from the first moment? Olivia Gates takes her lovers, Shaheen and Johara, and places their romance in a situation where things like a sense of duty and external influences threaten to tear them apart. In a genre where misunderstanding and angst between the protagonists is the usual way to drive the conflict this book came as a pleasant surprise. There was plenty of tension and anxiety but the relationship between Hero and Heroine remained a shining light throughout. Olivia writes great prose and brings out emotions that engage and sex scenes that sizzle. I listened to this book on audio on my kindle while driving and became so involved I continued to listen once I arrived home against my usual practice.

To Tempt a Sheikh     ****

To Tempt a Sheikh (Pride Of Zohayd #2) (Silhouette Desire)When Dr Olivia Gates tells you to take two Sheikh's and get back to her in the morning, you know you have a prescription that will get you feeling better. Harres Aal Shalaan is Sheikh number one on that prescription because I'd already read about his brother, the first in the Pride of Zohayd series. Well, I have to say Harres is the best medicine for someone craving a male who is pretty much everything you could ever want in a man. Gorgeous, sexy, brave, intelligent, sexy, strong as an ox. Did I mention sexy? And to top it all off he is tender, faithful, patient, loving (stop me if this isn't appealing to you at all).

Talia, Doctor T.J. Burke, manages to get Harres all hot and bothered even when he thinks he's rescuing a man. Hey, that could get embarrassing ;-]. Instinct tells him that T.J is hiding a lot more than just the secrets that could bring down his family dynasty. Tough and practical, Talia is more than a match for the (see description above) Sheikh. Did I mention his long hair and the sexy bit? She's also hates the Aal Shalaan family for what they did to her brother.

 A nice set up for conflict but in the end there isn't a great deal between the protagonists. This is something I'm rather liking about Olivia Gate's books. Most of the angst comes from outside influences, trying to pull the lovers apart, allowing you to wallow in the development of the relationship between the Hero and Heroine. Oh we do have the black moment, but not to the extent that they tear each other apart causing painful scars.

Did I mention that Harres is one Hot Sexy hero? I just thought I should mention that. This is not a book for reading on the train on the way to work where other people will see your flushed face and heavy breathing. Love scenes are seriously steamy with a heroine matching the Hero for passionate intensity. (Turns on air-con).

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the verbal and physical interactions between Harres and Talia made for a witty and sensual read. I'm looking forward to the second half of the prescription when I read about the eldest brother. He's been sneering at all this love stuff his brothers have fallen for. I suspect he's going to fall hardest of all.

To Touch a Sheikh     ****

Amjad is a the Crown Prince of Zohayd. He'd done his duty and married only to be betrayed almost to death by his wife and her lover. Never again would he allow himself to care. The only exception, his brothers. 
To Touch a Sheikh (Pride Of Zohayd #3) (Harlequin Desire)Maram has loved Amjad for years, since he saved her at a conference four years ago during a bomb scare. She had managed to maintain her sense of humour and her loving trusting disposition through one arranged marriage and another disastrous marriage of rebellion.
When Amjad needs a weapon to force Maram's father to yield the stolen Jewels of Zohayd she seems an ideal tool to his hand.
Such a pity that they have to be isolated in a severe dust storm far from civilisation. The two of them, alone together, for days on end. Talking to each other, getting to know each other, tempting each other. The results were inevitable. Until Maram finds out that her trust in the man she loves is misplaced.
The tangle that ensues involves the whole family as they find the solution to the mystery around the stolen Jewels that has been an underlying mystery through the trilogy. 
As always Olivia Gates produces an ending that powers through the emotions. These men once love hits them, are prepared to go all the way for their loved ones.
A nice little epilogue shows us the extended family including members from the Judar trilogy.

A Liz Fielding Compendium of Reviews

Go to "Beaumont Brides Collection (Wild Justice, Wild Lady, Wild Fire)" pageLiz Fielding has recently self-published several of her older romances in eBook format.  Her excellent little writing guide is also available as an eBook.

The Beaumont Brides Series

Wild Justice    ****

Wild JusticeThis book is an enjoyable read with just enough twists and turns to make it interesting. The chemistry between the characters was sizzling without being over the top. Fizz made for an fascinating heroine with her tendency to explode out of her carefully restrained persona. Luke as an aggressive alpha male out for revenge is pretty nasty at times but luckily we get to see inside his head early enough in the piece to realise his ambivalence. The story is light weight in the nicest way. Good holiday reading and a feel good ending. Lucky we know Fizz has another sister about to embark on her own romantic journey so there is more of the same to look forward too.

Wild Lady    ****

Wild LadyThis is the second book in the Beaumont Brides series and I thoroughly enjoyed the first. If anything I enjoyed this book a little more. This was to do with the hero and heroine who particularly engaged me. Claudia, who we met in the first book as a rather worldly, callous, even a bit bitchy actress, turns out to be so much more complex.  Like the rest of us, Mac, Gabriel MacIntyre saw her as shallow and self absorbed. Their journey to understanding takes place in the contect of threats to Claudia's peace of mind and even her life.  Gabriel was a former soldier and security expert plunged into Claudia's life when his business partner and BIL made a fool of himself over Claudia, upsetting Gabe's sister. Not a good start for the relationship especially when she crashed into his car and his hangar on the first meeting.  Their relationship grows as they must spend time together, meeting the threats that pile on, dating from that first meeting. Both are reluctant to succumb to a relationship because of their separate historys and Liz Fielding does a great job showing the development of the relationship and the impact of misunderstandings and the scars of the past on both of them. The attraction between the two sizzle even as they both fight against it and is very enjoyable to watch.  Liz likes to chuck in some great humour and the odd literary reference. Yes I did get the Lady Bracknell quote near the end thanks Liz.  I love it when an author makes me feel clever.

Wild Fire    ****

Wild FireWell that was the third and technically final book of the Beaumont Brides Trilogy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Once the ex girlfriend was out of the picture there was no doubt about where we were headed. The only question was how we were going to get there. Liz Fielding has sprinkled this romance with some elements of white collar crime, insider trading with a touch of revenge. Just enough to keep you worried about what might blow up as Melanie Devlin Beaumont and Jack Wolfe get closer day by day. Just enough to slow down that obvious attraction as they eyed each other warily wondering if he was really the corporate Wolf and if she was a Mata Hari.  Jack has some history as well that influences him just as Melanie's baggage causes her some qualms about where her relationship with Jack might lead.
As the third novel in the trilogy we get a nice glimpse of the lives of Fizz and Luke and Claudia and Mac and their father Edward and his new wife and stepdaughter Diana and Heather. It all gets rounded off rather nicely with a taster for Heathers story which becomes Nyssa Blakes Story in His Personal Agenda. I mention this because I'm putting it on my TBR.
Altogether a very enjoyable read, fairly lightweight but ideal for a relaxing few hours and a satisfying ending.

Eloping with Emmy  ****

Eloping With EmmyThis story is a delightful romp from start to finish. Emmy is a sparkling heroine who is never short of ideas and the impulsive panache to carry them out.
Tom Brodie is the very opposite of the wayward heiress. He's worked his way up from a very different background with ambition to burn. Someone like Emmy is the last kind of girl he'd be interested in.
Until he ends up on the road with with her and discovers that there is a whole lot of woman under the madcap society girl. 
The road trip takes them across England and France by road, rail and road, involves one stolen and one borrowed vehicle, (a brightly coloured VWBug), damage to a hired car and destruction of another vehicle. A violent storm and a violent passion pretty much round off a very enjoyable journey full of witty dialogue and well drawn characters.

Little Book of Writing Romance  *****

Liz Fielding's Little Book of Writing RomanceIf anyone wanting to write is debating whether to get Liz's Little Book of Writing Romance then hesitate no longer. It's a brilliant little book. Some pages I just want to print out to stick somewhere while I'm editing. And it doesn't take forever to read. It's also really well laid out to dabble in for particular aspects so you don't have to search desperately for that one perfect piece of advice.

And just to illustrate how well written the book is. When I read the chapter on putting emotion into your story, she made me cry. A how to book that makes you cry and get emotional. That's got to be a winner. There is nothing dry as dust about this book. It is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Nuggets of wisdom abound. There is nothing extraneous in this book. Every sentence is well thought out and takes the student on a journey with a fine demonstration of 'show not tell'. The examples Liz uses from her own books are beautifully chosen to illustrate the precepts.

I'm a person who is generally resistant to being told what to do and how to do it so approach how to books with a certain caution. (It's a flaw but I'm the heroine of my own story so I have to live with it.) I was prepared to think, 'Oh yeah, that's fine for HER style. But it isn't me.' But I couldn't. The information in the book isn't reliant on any particular type of story within the romance genre or a particular person's style. It deals with the practical in a simple and down to earth manner. While it says it's designed for beginners, I suspect even more advanced writers might enjoy it, even if for a nostalgia trip.