Monday, May 17, 2010

'His Captive Lady' by Anne Gracie -Review-

   SPECTACULAR! And I am not just saying that! (I rarely do). Every once and a while, a book comes along that just takes you away from it all; and before you know it, your on page 323, and its all over. But when it does end, there's this odd lull you often find yourself in after reading a great novel, when you acknowledged that, indeed, its was a great novel! I am not partial with my 5 "Aww's" ratings (I admit to trying to find reasons not to award this book my highest esteem), but 'His Captive Lady' took me hostage and deserves to be up there with some of my favorites!

Read an excerpt: here

   On a quaint stretch of English countryside, our hero, Harry Morant, never expects to be captivated into willingly handing over his coveted fur-lined gloves and large-brimmed hat in the middle of a rain storm. But said articles of clothing are exactly what he forks over when he spies the alluring Lady Helen Freymore on the back of a cart, braving the elements ill-prepared. She doesn't even murmur a single word when this stranger canters up to her on his horse and places his hat on her head. As luck would turn out, the dizzying encounter is cut short when a fork in the road takes our hero and heroine down separate paths (but not for long).
   Back from war for good now, Harry plans to make good on the dream he and his buddy, Ethan, had held on to. Equestrian enthusiasts, Harry and Ethan want to breed and sell racehorses. Harry follows a lead on some property that has long been neglected; its perfect for his plans, having previously been a breeder's domain, and he never expects to find the lady who had been haunting his dreams for what feels like forever, delivering a colt in the property's stables.
   The property use to belong to Helen's mother, and consequently went to her father; whom was suppose to have put the deed in Helen's name, but gambled it away before his death (without doing as he said he would). Now destitute and with no further bright-ideas, Helen, or Nell as she likes to be called, will have to settle for earning wages somehow. She doesn't immediately leave the premises, so when the solicitor spots her after delivering the colt (with Harry's assistance, of course) , he is irate and starts to get very nasty. Harry takes up her case and eventually quiets the old man by telling him that, despite the poor condition of the main house, he is willing to make an offer on the property. As the solicitor squares everything away, Nell make her way to her bedroom one last time to freshen up and pack her belonging. On the spur of the moment, seeing that Nell may not fare as well as she believes, Harry proposes she stay on as a horse trainer (since she's so good with them) and when she refuses, he then offers her marriage.
   Nell shares a passionate kiss with Harry, but inevitable, declines his hand and goes on her way. Harry believes he will never see her again; so when his grandmother convinces him to accompany her to Bath, it is the hands of fate which have put his elusive Miss Freymore in his line-of-vision once more. He is determined to speak with her again, and after seeing the way her employer (a widowed 40 something) degrades her, her welfare becomes a matter of great importance to him. He proposes marriage again, when he enlists the help of his grandmother to steal away a few moments with Nell. Again she refuses, but he can tell that it isn't necessarily him shes adverse to, but some unexplainable need to get to London to find someone. Another heated encounter at the Pump Room leads to Nell getting fired; but not before Harry causes scandal and heaves Nell across his shoulder and bodily removes her from that mean witch's employ (and into his life for good).
   Initial dismayed, Nell is furious with Harry, but soon warms up to the idea. But there is the whole matter of getting to London and finding what she was willing to sacrifice dignity to find. Nell ends up telling her secret to Harry, whom doesn't hesitate to reassure her that he will do everything in his power to help her.
   Shocking twist and turns find our couple in every nook and cranny in London; determined to find what they are looking for. Little do they know, it's unyielding and unconditional love that awaits them as well!

Rating: 5 Aww's

My Favorite Part in the Book: (There's so many to choose from!) One would have to be the scene at Bath when Harry and Nell are caught in the backroom where they were meeting in private. Nell's employer proceeds to berate her and resorts to dirty name calling. When Harry informs the witch not to address his fiance' in that way, the employer proceeds to call Harry 'nothing more than a bastard' (He is the natural son of an Earl, and was born in wed-lock; albeit with a different 'father', but still, everyone refers to him as no more than a by-blow). Nell takes exception to that comment and comes to Harry's defense. She smacks that hoe! (sorry, I had to say it). But anyway, it was a weirdly sweet scene; I especially love how Nell wouldn't tolerate a bad word against Harry, and how he tossed her over his shoulder and staked his claim loud and clear to everyone who cared!

   Once again, I couldn't find too much wrong with this book. It was marvelously entertaining, and heartfelt all in the same token. If ever there were a book that defined what Romance was, I'd say this book would be in the running of physical examples. It was tactfully done; with few 'carnal' scenes, but enough to whet the appetite of all those readers looking for the usual something steamy in a HR novel. It was a book about Love, plain and simple, in many of it's different forms; self-sacrifice , justice for another, life and death, unwavering devotion.. 5 Aww's is right, now go out and fall in love as I did!

*Check out the 1st and preceding novel in the series. 'The Stolen Princess', Gabe's story
* And also check out the book that proceeds this one. 'To Catch A Bride', Rafe's Story/ My Review of 'To Catch A Bride' can be found: here

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