on December 29, 2003
I won't detail the plot as others have done. Why ruin a perfect story for readers who are in for the "treat of their romantic lives." I want to concentrate on why this wonderful debut novel should NOT be missed.
I read about Pamela Clare's debut novel SWEET RELEASE in the RT Book Club publication the month before it was released. It sounded like a "must read" for me so I purchased it as soon as it was released. And,believe me, I was NOT disappointed. Just the opposite. I can't remember the last book I read that absorbed me so in the characters, wrapped the story around my heart and held on until the last page was turned. What a sad day that was because I wanted it to go on forever. One would think that Pamela Clare has been writing for years and has a treasure-trove of best sellers to her credit. Instead, this was her DEBUT novel. WOW! What a gift! I haven't experienced such reading enjoyment since The Flame and Flower kept me up all night many, many years ago. Pick up this remarkable book. Sit back, relax and enjoy the remarkable journey of Alec and Cassie. You will be missing the best romance of 2003 if you don't. I am so glad it is the frist book of a trilogy. In March of 2004 we can look forward to the second "treasure" by this master story-teller titled CARNAL GIFT. Yes, there is a God.
on April 9, 2003
Normally I am not thrilled with debut novels but this one is an exception. Not only is the time period one of my favorites (American Colony 1730's) the chemisty between Alec/Cole and Cassie is wonderful!
This book is full of the historical details that seperate historical romances from the contemporary romances. This book is lush in detail and Ms. Clare is true to the historical content and the use of slaves/bondsmen without going into to much detail that may be uncomfortable for some readers.
Alec is an English Gentleman who has been abducted and forced onto a slaver. This ship is headed for the American colonies. When he arrives he is extremly ill and has no memory of what transpired to bring him to the shores of America. Cassie purchases his bond and nurses him back to health. When Alec comes to his scense he tries to tell everyone that there has been a big mistake and he is not Cole Braden defiler of women. Cassie does not believe him at first but allows him to send a letter to England to verify the fact that he is not telling the truth. While they wait for an answer he promises not to run away and that he will work for her.
Cassie is automatically drawn to the dark handsome stranger who claims to be more then just a bondsman. While waiting for a response to his letter they get to know each other and admire the different traits that make them both so different. Soon they are in love but love between a free woman and a bond servant is against the law. Still these two find themselves together. Does Alec finally prove that he is innocent, and can he show Cassie that marriage is not a death sentence? The answer is yes but there are many hurdles these two must overcome before their happily ever after.
Again this book was wonderful and I was sorry to see it come to an end. I look forward to more entertaining reading from this new author. Thanks Ms. Clare for bringing history back to the historical romance genre!!!
on March 20, 2003
I have seen in many reviews of historical romances (and have felt it myself) there is a dearth of historical in historical romances. The only difference between the historical romance and a contemporary is they ride horses instead of drive cars. Often it's REALLY hard to tell WHAT period you are in because so much of the historical has been cut away. The editors and publishers push for the leads to be on 'centre stage' and unless the history is driving importance, then they cut it. Which is a shame. There are a bunch of wonderful writers that can give you history AND ROMANCE. The trend came about because of competing with the net, they wanted a faster, leaner reads. Which is fine for a spell, but people are tired of this. Books are expensive and they want MORE for the money. They wants the sweeping panorama of history in all it's glory.
I am GLAD to say Pamela Clare gives you a TRUE historical romance. It has romance, passion AND history. I almost felt like I had picked up a pre-net Historical romance - so a BIG round of applause for Clare writing this wonderful book and to DORCHESTER Publishing for ONCE AGAIN giving their writers the room to do books THEIR WAY!!! So if you wish for a historical romance that is MORE....please give this first time author a chance. You will not regret it!!
I applaud Clare for dealing with the period, dealing with bondsman and slaves in a tender, yet not flinching fashion. I think many writers stay away from the period of 1700-1870s US because of the slavery issue. If you are accurate you turn people away, if you a kinder gentler version of GWTW people dismiss you. Clare chose this period and gives excellent treatment. And kudos to both her and her publisher!!
Alex Kenleigh is a rich English shipbuilding. He warns his dissolute younger brother that he will no longer support his wicked lifestyle, that he is on a pocket money allowance, disgusted with his brother getting a teenage girl pregnant and
then turning his back on her while she dies trying to rid herself of the unwanted pregnancy. On the heels of this, someone mysterious catches Alex leaving his mistress' home and nearly beats him to dead. Worse, they have arranged to have a body left to be identified at Alex, while Alex is sent to the Americas as a criminal called Cole Braden. He is to serve 14 years as an indentured servant in Virginia, reported to be a defiler of women.
Cassie Blakewell is running her father's plantation because her younger brother is just a child and her father is suffering from madness. A young woman in this period running a going concern would have been prey for either men pushing her into marriage hoping to gain control of the vast plantation or from do gooders demanding to do what is right and put a man in charge. Especially since her father has left her with a mountain of debts that it will take years to pay. The Creditors are willing to wait as long as they believe the story she is putting about that her father was in England. If she cannot keep this story going, the plantation will be seized for debts and sold.
When the ship comes in with slaves and bondsmen for sale, Cassie buys the release of Cole Braden and the slave that had
protected him and kept him alive for the long voyage. She buys him in a charitable act thinking he will die. But he does not, in fact in a short time he regains his strength. Only Alex is now furious to learn that is thought to be Cole, a criminal, and has been sold to Cassie for 14 years. He tried to prove he is Alex, but with communications as such during this period it will take months.
Cassie and Alex has a slow burn attraction to each other, with Cassie not knowing whether to believe Alex or not. Yet, it does not stop the attraction. Still they have to keep distance for it could mean Alex's death if caught with her.
Add into the mix, a foppish neighbour who is obsessively planning on marrying Cassie, pushed by a father who wants her lands. With strong supporting characters, this is a wonderful romance in the old fashion style of REAL Historical romances, with a good eye to details of the period.
So APPLAUSE to Clare for writing it and sticking to her guns, and to Dorchester and the consistent policy of letting their writer WRITE.
Hopefully, this is a new trend in old style historical romance!
on March 1, 2003
In 1730, shipbuilding mogul Alec Kenleigh warns his younger brother Philip that he went too far when he failed to live up to his responsibility. Philip claimed the teen he abandoned with his child growing inside her was a whore. An angry Alec insists Philip should have taken care of the woman, who died trying to abort the baby. Not long afterward, Alec is beaten, given a new name of Cole Braden, and shipped to the Commonwealth of Virginia as an indentured servant working off a fourteen year conviction for defiling women.
For a few pounds, Cassie Blakewell purchases Cole to work on her large plantation. She quickly realizes this is no ordinary criminal as Alec displays business acumen. Cole insists his real name is Alec and needs to regain his identity to prove his innocence. Cassie and Cole begin to fall in love, but nothing can come of their feelings because he would hang for such a crime. Meanwhile, an unwanted suitor pushes his case to marry Cassie adding pressure on Alec who needs his freedom to marry the woman who believes he is telling the truth.
SWEET RELEASE is an exciting Colonial romance that grips the reader with action and plenty of romance while also insuring the cast seems genuine. The story line is fast-paced as Alec struggles to regain what he lost and much more. Cassie is a strong woman whose trust in her beloved is the extra impetus he needs to clear his name. If this novel is any indication of Pamela Clare's talent, fans of historical romance have plenty of reasons to rejoice.