I read this as a buddy read, for quotes, comments, and discussion: Bliss Buddy Read
I am wrung out from reading this, I quoted and talked a lot in the buddy read, so I'm going to let that for the most part talk for what I thought about this book.
This was published in 1995, it has a bit of different rhythm to it. The heroine and hero are solidly introduced on their own and their characters are established before they meet (around 35% mark), this completely worked for me and if you're looking for depth to your characters that creates an incredibly emotional story, then it will work for you too.
These characters weren't perfect, our hero is addicted to ether, has some struggles with not being the "hot, talented artist" anymore and our heroine is escaping a reputation that gave her a nickname "Miss Seven Minutes in Heaven" and wants a romantic easy life in Paris. It was the underlining truth to these emotions and characters that will have me thinking about these characters for a long, long time.
It was passages like this:
In the musty dark of the attic, Hannah felt heartened at last. And so very impressed with the real Nardi de Saint Vallier. He might not be a prince, but he was heroic: a man ready to face his nemesis, all that had worn him down before. Better than the fancy trousers and pretty coats that had once impressed her, this man had a magnificent fortitude.
that had me absorbed.
The author brilliantly interweaves societal issues and family dynamics through characters' thoughts and actions; these characters were not perfect but they grew.
Secondary characters had me desperately wanting a Director's Cut of the book so I could get a more thorough look at them.
If you can find this book, grasp it with both hands, I've rarely read a book that had such amazing depth to emotions. Read this, read this, read this (then go the buddy read and comment so I can talk about this book more and for years to come :)
"You should know, Hannah, that I would marry you over and over, as many times as it takes to make the world see I love you."