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Kiss Me Annabel [Paperback]



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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  42 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly pleasant for most of the way Jan. 27 2006
By statengirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the second in the Essex sisters series about four beautiful orphaned young women who are sent to England and placed under the guardianship of Rafe Jourdain, the Duke of Holbrook, after the untimely death of their father, a Scottish viscount. Each sister was left a prize racehorse as her only dowry. This book focuses the second sister, Annabel. She is determined to marry a wealthy and titled Englishman, stemming from her impoverished upbringing in Scotland where her reckless father spent all the family's money on horse breeding and racing. She is just at the point of being proposed to by a wealthy but stuffy English lord when Ewan Poley, the very manly Scottish Earl of Ardmore, shows up in London in search of a bride. They are instantly drawn to one another, and Ewan proposes immediately, but Annabel turns him down. She explains that she simply cannot live in Scotland, which holds too many bad memories for her, and that she will marry only a titled Englishman. Annabel neglects to tell Ewan that the main reason she will not marry him is that he is poor. Soon after, however, Annabel and Ewan's lives take an unexpected turn. As the result of a misunderstanding involving her troublesome younger sister Imogen, Annabel is put in a compromising position with Ewan. She must face the prospect of either public disgrace, or of marrying Ewan and giving up her dream of a comfortable life in England.

I enjoyed this story and the humor and drama involving the supporting cast, including Annabel's two younger sisters. Ewan and Annabel's road trip was fun and romantic, and had a nice buildup of sexual tension. Ewan was at times a little clueless, but this did not make him any less charming. However, Annabel's completely unjustified assumption about Ewan towards the end was very annoying. It detracted from the romance and made Annabel's character less attractive. Although the book had a nice ending, it might have been so much better without this unnecessary obstacle. I liked the book's assortment of interesting characters well enough to read the next installments, and will hope for a satisfying road to wedded bliss for Imogen and Josie.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Secondary plots make this book worth reading Dec 20 2005
By bookjunkie22 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I caution readers to read the first book in the series first because there is a lot references to the plot from that book in this one and you will feel confused if you don't have that background in place first.

In this latest addition to the Essex sister series the story is actually about the third sister, Annabel because of part of the plot for the first book in the series, Much Ado About You, it is not yet time for the second sister to have her own book. Maybe it's just me, but more and more it seems like Eloisa James books are really hit and miss. I say this because the romance between Annabel and the Earl of of Ardmore is a thin plot that never really developed beyond a short novella size romance. Annabel and the Earl never have a strong conflict that needs to be resolved in order to get to their HEA (Happily Ever After). The romance is more less Annabel wants a rich English man and forced to marry what she believes to be a poor Scottish Earl. As our couple heads off for the wild highlands, they come to share a passion between them. Annabel then finds, much to her surprise, that her poor Earl is actually one of the richest men in Scottland.

Anyone who reads romance could see where this plot was going from chapter two on. For the most part this book was way too predictable. After reading this review, you might be wondering why I went with a four star rating. There are two reasons for this: one- the sub characters were good for a few out loud laughs the youngest sisiter, Josie, is very funny and has a great witty personality that makes me exicted for her book. Imogen, the second Essex sister plays such a big part in this book, that at times you aren't sure that it is even about Annabel. Her exploits with Mayne, from the first book, are some of the shinning moments in this book. Reason two- there was no great mystery in this story. Too often these days in romance the mystery plot over shadows the romance, so I am always glad to see a romance that is just that a romance.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely wonderful -- Eloisa James does it again!! Nov. 30 2005
By BookWorm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Annabel has always known she was beautiful. As she was growing up, she watched her father spend all the family money on his stables, horses and the racetrack. Since she has a head for numbers, she takes the household accounts in hand, and manages the financial aspect of her family's life. One coin could make the difference between eating meat or having beans for dinner. After this childhood, she, naturally, has a fear of poverty and decides that her beauty will compensate for a lack of a real dowry.

As the book opens, Annabel is on the verge of accepting a marriage proposal from exactly the man she is looking for - a titled, pleasant, wealthy man with whom she can have a pleasant, worry-free life. She meets Lord Ardmore - a Scottish earl that is embodiment of everything she DOESN'T want in a future husband. Although intrigued by him and attracted to him, she does not even consider him as a potential suitor and rejects his offer of marriage and his pursuit of her.

Her sister, Imogen, has other plans for Lord Ardmore. Imogen, who is recovering from the death of her young husband, decides to have an affair with Lord Ardmore (without consulting him first!!) and this decision sparks a series of events that lead to Annabel's reputation being damaged. Lord Ardmore immediately proposes marriage, because of the scandal, and she has no choice but to accept. Even though Lord Ardmore has a special license that will allow them to marry immediately, he asks her to wait until they reach Scotland because he there is a specific monk that Ardmore wants to perform their marriage ceremony. She agrees to this and the rest of the story details how they fall in love (and lust) with each other as they travel to Scotland (without being really married) and what they must each overcome to have a happy life together.

The book is wonderfully written, with great secondary characters. The great thing about Eloisa James' novels is that the dialogue and story just flows... you can feel the tension in the air when Imogen and Annabel fight. You can feel how sad the sisters are when gathered around together before Annabel leaves for Scotland. The chemistry between Ardmore and Annabel sizzles (love scenes = steamy hot), as does the chemistry between some of the secondary characters. Josie, the youngest sister, steals every scene she's in - her dialogues are down-right hilarious and I'm really looking forward to her story now (which will be the last one.) Those you that have followed the (mis)adventures of the Earl of Mayne will be happy to see him figure prominently in this book.

I've given it 5 stars because I'm rounding up -- I would really give it 4 1/2 stars. The only reason I would deduct half a star is because, sometimes, James veers too much away from the main characters. As a result, I felt that Annabel and Ardmore were not as well sketched out as they could have been, and that their courtship (during the journey to Scotland) was a bit rushed. The book is set up so every other chapter is about Imogen, and that can be distracting at times because it seems that the book is focusing on Imogen more than Annabel.

Other than that tiny gripe, it is a flawless book & very highly recommended. If you haven't, though, you should read "Much Ado About You" before reading this book. "Kiss Me, Annabel" works as a stand-alone read, but would be more enjoyable, I think, if read as part of the series.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Liked it for the future romances! Dec 24 2005
By labby - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I could care less about Annabel and Ewen. He was apparently so self absorbed that he never understood that not all people were rich, had linen closets in thier cottages, and he needed to be told to go get a wife. He was a nice guy, but completely unbelievable.

Annabel apparently spent all her free time (that she didn't have doing the finances) practicing how to snag a rich man, for a cold traditional English marriage that included infidelity. There was no angst for this couple once she discovered he was rich, even though she assumed he would allow her to use him to snag the rich guy she wanted.

The highlights of the book were the scenes with Imogen/Rafe and Josie/Mayne. Although all the scenes with Imogen and Josie were good. I look forward to the books with the other Essex sisters in them. This one seems to be a "filler" book until Imogen is over her mourning period and Josie ages to be able to romance.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Essex sister number two's story in this one. Jan. 5 2007
By Rebecca Huston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One of the things that I've noticed about historical romance novels is that when they are good, they tend to fall into the very good category. But when they are bad, oh how they flop! Such has been my experience with the novels of Eloisa James. Several I've enjoyed immensely, finding the blend of characters and plot to be just about right for an enjoyable evening's read.

And then there are the ones that had me muttering oh come on! and wanting to fling the book away. But I've resolved to finish whatever book I start, unless it is so awful that I simply can't take it anymore. And it was between these two extremes that I have found myself in this latest series by this author.

Kiss Me, Annabel tells the story of the second eldest of the four Essex sisters. Annabel has seen two of her sisters marry, one very successfully, and one with a disaster of a union. But Annabel isn't trusting on fate to win her the husband that she wants; no, she knows exactly what she wants -- a husband who is wealthy, compliant, and above all, not Scottish. Her memories of Scotland and life with her father, who gambled and spent every cent he had on horses, are so scarring and traumatic that Annabel is certain that she could not find any sort of happiness there.

Not that Annabel honestly has anything to worry about when it comes to finding a husband. She's beautiful and blond, and she already has several suitors who are just waiting for her to say 'yes.' But while their offers are certainly tempting, none of them have managed to stir any sort of passion in her. That is, until she meets Ewan, the Earl of Ardmore, a handsome red-head who dresses most unfashionably all in black, and tends to be blunt and manner-of-fact. Worst of all, he's a Scot, and Annabel wants nothing to do with him.

Intertwined with Annabel's story is that of her sister Imogen, a mourning, unhappy widow who is dressing in skin-tight black gowns with daring decolletage. She's also making a fool of herself and bringing scandal upon herself and her sisters, and ruining Annabel's chances for a good match. Things have gotten so difficult that the other sisters come up with a plan to have Ardmore marry Imogen -- or at least become her lover.

But the plan backfires badly, and it's Annabel who soon finds herself engaged to marry Ewan, and trapped in a carriage with him all the way back to Scotland. The one place she doesn't want to go. Once again her life is going to be one of poverty, and uncertainty. But it turns out that her sisters have a plan to rescue Annabel from her unwanted marriage if they can reach her in time...

Unlike the previous novel, Much Ado About You, where the characters of Tess and Lucian are interesting and involved with one another, this one falls apart rather quickly. Indeed, nearly the first hundred pages or so has hardly any mention of Annabel at all -- most of it is taken up with Imogen and her wayward ways. If that isn't bad enough, the romance between Annabel and her Scotsman never rises above a simmer, if that much. The suitor decides to be juvenile about things, and plays kissing games with her for the first week, and then we get the musty old "let's-trap-them-somewhere-isolated-until-they-have-sex" ploy. While James likes using Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew for the basis of this, the coyness of this becomes so sticky and dull that I was falling asleep over the book rather than finding it to be of any interest.

And that's fatal for a novel like this. The other problem is that she has set this somewhat in the Regency period of English history, but is entirely unconvincing in her descriptions of clothing, attitudes and the use of what is known as a 'special license' for marriages. The idioms tend to be modern, Imogen's behavior thoughtless and stupid, and the fact that the story has a hard time settling down as to which character is going to be the heroine just ruined the read for me.

Barely two stars, and that's pushing it. Not recommended.
ARRAY(0xb0d19618)

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