Plus, fiction makes more sense!
Ok so I have to admit I was a little surprised when I realized this because truthfully I own more than a few books by this author and have somehow not managed to get to them yet...so many books, so little time...
"Forgotten Paradise" is part of Dreamspinner's Dreamspun Desires series and I enjoyed listening to the audio book. It was like being read a sweet, low angst fairytale...of the modern, adult variety, of course.
Adam Preston is enjoying a well earned vacation in the Dominican Republic before returning home to deal with what can only be considered a hostile takeover attempt by Entech a company with a reputation for less than ethical behavior in their business dealings, when he decides to do a bit of scuba diving he's surprised to discover that his instructor is the attractive, charming and somewhat mysterious Jonah, whom he met at the resort bar the night before.
It turns out that Jonah's not just a mystery to Adam but to himself as well. Since he only remembers the last 10 years of his life when he woke up on a beach one day with no idea of who he was or how he got there. He's held that secret close until Adam, who for some reason is causing long hidden memories to try and resurface in his mind.
As Adam and Jonah get to know each other during their time together, their attraction grows and with each encounter Jonah finds himself recovering parts of a past he thought gone forever and one that maybe he no longer wants.
It's a bit of a whirlwind romance between these two. Considering that they only have one week before Adam has to return to his real life. It works and I really didn't have a problem finding it believable...beautiful tropical setting, two intelligent, attractive, available people (men in this case) drawn to each other and who enjoy each others company. Honestly no stretch of the imagination required here at all.
It's when Adam returns the real world that he begins to discover that his fantasy vacation was far more firmly rooted in reality than either he or Jonah could have ever imagined.
I enjoyed the first part of this story which introduced us to Adam and Jonah. Seeing their relationship go from a simple attraction to something so much stronger in spite of the fact that they knew they only had a week before Adam would be leaving. It was fun and sexy and sweet and so easy the envision with the way that the author wove in the background information to create images of a beautiful tropical setting combined with the adventure of deep sea diving.
However, it's the second part of this book that really won me over. Seeing Adam as he came to the realization of who Jonah was while also struggling to save his company and pull his family back together. More than the company that his father started Adam valued his family and while his relationship with his mother and his sister is fairly solid (his awesome sister, Karen...just sayin' with a name like that how could she not be awesome?), it's his brother Rodger whom he misses. They use to be best friends able to talk to each other about everything. But since their father's death that's changed and Adam wants to fix this. He's willing to do just about anything to have his friend and brother back.
Ironically when Adam's vacation ends he's not the only one who needs to return to real world. As Jonah comes to remember his life before waking up on a sandy beach he also comes to the realization that he can no longer hide from who and what he was. He needs to return to the life he's only now remembering and put his own house in order.
While the first half of the book gave me a glimpse into the character of Adam and Jonah and what kind of men they are, it's the second half that really develops them and gives them depth. There are no cake walks here, both men have to fight for what they want. Proving that determination and strength of character is not in short supply where either of them are concerned.
"Forgotten Paradise" was narrated by Andrew McFerrin, who is a new to me narrator and while I have to admit I didn't fall head over heels in love with him. His voices were consistent and expressed emotion. While I can't say that any one voice was outstanding or hooked me into the story as I've had happen with other narrators. I wasn't put off by any of them either and I'm definitely willing to listen to future audiobooks by this narrator...I may even have a couple on my wishlist over at audible...the samples sound good so definite potential here for me.
When all is said and done it's 4 stars for the story and 3 for the audio portion and I'm just going to call it a day at 4 because if I take the median number as I usually do it's 3.5 and I'm just going to have to round up when I post this review in other places and I'm feeling lazy today plus truly this story deserves more than 3 stars so I'm not willing to round down...so 4 stars and I'm done here now.
An audio book of "Forgotten Paradise" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Review first appeared on A Weebish Book Blog.
I purchased this book at a time when I was in a historical romance slump because I knew it would be just the novel I would love the minute I found myself interesting in reading the genre again. I was not wrong in thinking this and thanks to Manda Collins I am now craving even more from this genre — and more from the Lords of Anarchy.
A DUKE IS HARD TO FIND by Manda Collins is a heart -touching historical romance about the once engaged Leonora Craven and Lord Frederick Lisle, forced to reunite to solve the suspicious death of Leonora’s twin and Freddy’s dear friend, Johnny. This historical romance is the first novel in the Lords of Anarchy series, a book that has sat on my TBR list for over a year.
Miss Leonora Craven is a poetess and a bluestocking past the “age of marriage” (boy do I hate that phrase) when she seeks out her old flame to demand his help. She is witty, strong-willed, and not afraid to speak out about controversial topics to change societal justice. Though she has flaws like the rest of us mere mortals, she is not afraid to admit she’s wrong. It is nice to see character growth in a strong female lead, especially since it doesn’t happen as often as it should in romance.
“Freddy” aka Lord Fredrick Isle was also a character I was very fond of. He is rather ashamed of his past as a rake, and it was a struggle for him to go undercover as a Lord of Anarchy when all he wanted was to prove he’s changed. However, he’d do anything for the man who was like a brother to him — even if it meant getting close to the woman who broke his heart.
The main characters were well rounded and tugged at my heart strings. They’ve been through so much and came out damaged, but resilient. I also liked the secondary characters – the two living close friends of Freddy AND Leonora’s two close friends. I cannot wait to read their stories next!
I recommend this novel to historical romance lovers and those who are knew to the genre. This is the perfect novel to for those who are curious to see if historical romance is right for them — just remember to keep the tissues handy!
I don't know if I'm in a reading slump or if my current reads just aren't working for me. At any rate, I've been playing games more than reading lately. I'm at least trying to get some of my review backlog taken care of, but that's slow going too.
Steam has their Summer Sale going on right now, and I wish I could buy up my whole wishlist. I figured out what the total would be if I did and...no. But I did get some goodies and spent the weekend trying out one of them, Sunless Sea. So far, my first captain committed suicide by pirate rather than face eating her crew (or being eaten by them - the ferret was acting particularly menacing near the end), and my second captain foolishly took on an enormous shark with the game's default weaponry. My third captain is doing fairly well at the moment, which makes me nervous. I keep waiting for him to accidentally make a bad deal, or get surrounded by monsters he can't run away from, or something equally awful.
Today’s stop is for Jane Goodger’s The Bad Luck Bride. We will have info about the book and author, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.
Happy Reading :)
Welcome to St. Ives, the charming seaside town where even a down-on-her luck bride might find her way back to love . . . As if being left at the alter for the third time isn’t bad enough, Lady Alice Hubbard has now been dubbed “The Bad Luck Bride” by the London newspapers. Defeated, she returns to her family’s estate in St. Ives, resolved to a future as a doting spinster. After all, a lady with her record of marital mishaps knows better than to dream of happily-ever-after. But then Alice never expects to see Henderson Southwell again. Her beloved brother’s best friend disappeared from her life soon after her brother’s death. Until now… Alice is just as achingly beautiful as Henderson remembers. And just as forbidden. For the notorious ladies’ man made one last promise to Alice’s brother before he died—and that was never to pursue her. But one glimpse of Alice’s sorrow and Henderson feels a powerful urge to put the light back in her lovely eyes, one lingering kiss at a time. Even if it means falling in love with the one woman he can never call his bride . . .
If only her fiancé had died five minutes after the ceremony instead of five minutes before, Alice wouldn’t be in her current, unfathomable, situation. A terrible thought, yes, but there was never a truer sentiment to go through her mind. He was late. Her current and very much alive fiancé was terribly, horribly, embarrassingly late, and the vicar was giving her sad looks and the congregation was whispering, and Alice felt like she might scream for them all to just shut up. Harvey Reginald Heddingford III, Viscount Northrup, whom she actually liked (the first of her three fiancés whom she actually had liked) had apparently grown ice cold feet. It wasn’t much of a surprise, actually. The night before he’d seemed…off. Distracted. Overly nice. Guilty. That’s when the first niggling feeling of doubt touched her but she forced herself to ignore it. Certainly three men couldn’t leave her at the altar. Though to be fair, Bertram Russell, her second ill-fated fiancé, was ousted by her enraged father long before she’d set foot in the church. Bertram had been found out—not one week before their planned nuptials—to be a complete fraud. He made ordinary fortune hunters seem like innocent children dabbling at seducing marriage out of highly placed, rich women. One dead. One fraud. One very, very late. This could not be happening again. She stood in the vestibule with her father and sister, dread slowly wrapping around her like a toxic fog, making it almost impossible to breathe. As she waited for her groom to make an appearance, knowing he would not, Alice vowed she would never, ever, be put in this position again. When she saw Vicar Jamison coming toward the spot where she stood with her father, Alice knew it was over. She couldn’t seem to gather the energy to cry and in fact had the terrible urge to laugh, something she sometimes did at the worst possible moment. Actually, other than feeling a bit off kilter and extremely humiliated, she felt nothing at all. Certainly not heartbroken. “Lord Hubbard,” the vicar said, giving her father a small bow. “It may be time to address the congregation.” Her dear, dear, papa looked at her, his eyes filled with sorrow. “I think I must.” Alice nodded and pressed her hands, still holding her silly bouquet, into her stomach. God, the humiliation. This was far worse than Bertram and, well, poor Lord Livingston was deemed a tragedy, not a humiliation. People at least felt sorry for her when her first ill-fated husband-to-be dropped dead waiting for her to walk down the aisle. Just five more minutes and she might have been a widow, and a widow was a far better thing to be than a jilted bride. It was all her sister’s fault. Christina had been fussing with her gown, fixing something in the bustle, insisting that Alice would never get the chance to be a bride again (what a lark) and everything must be absolutely perfect for that most important day when Alice would have become a baroness. And then Lord Livingston died, right then, right as he walked toward the front of the church. Dropped like a stone without warning and was dead before he hit the hard marble floor with a sickening thud. Instead of Lady Livingston or Lady Northrup, she was still Miss Hubbard and it looked like she would be Miss Hubbard for the rest of her days. Christina stood, eyes wide with horror, as their father walked slowly to the front of the church. The large room became deathly quiet, and Alice turned, grabbed her sister’s arm, and walked out the front door of the church. She couldn’t bear to see the pity in their eyes, nor the tears in her mother’s. Certainly Mama had never suspected her eldest daughter would once again be abandoned by her groom. Thank God they’d decided to get married in London and not St. Ives, where the villagers would have likely gathered to celebrate her marriage. No one was about except for the normal crowds. “I’ll murder him,” Christina said feelingly when they reached their carriage. The startled footman hurriedly dropped the steps and then handed the sisters into the carriage, which was meant to carry the happy couple to their wedding breakfast. Alice tore off her veil then gave her ferocious sister a weak smile. “I think he was in love with Patricia Flemings.” “No!” Christina said with the conviction of someone who cannot accept the fact that anyone could choose a Flemings over a Hubbard. Their father, Lord Richard Hubbard, was the third son of the fifth Duke of Warwick, and though he held no title, his connection to the great duke had put their family firmly in the lofty realm of the ton. Christina adored working “my grandfather, the Duke of Warwick” into as many conversations as possible, no matter what the topic. At eighteen, Christina was looking forward to her first season and was no doubt wondering how this latest wedding debacle with her sister would hurt her chances of making a good match. Alice realized she was officially a hopeless case, and would no doubt become the terrible punch line to jokes told from Nottinghamshire to Cornwall. You’ve heard of Alice Hubbard—or is it Miss Havisham? Charles Dickens had done her no favor by portraying a jilted bride as such a bitterly tragic character. Alice didn’t feel bitter, at least not at the moment, but she suspected she could not escape the label of ‘tragic.’ Now she would have to hide away for a time at their country estate in St. Ives, which wasn’t such a sacrifice, as St. Ives was her favorite place in all the world. Perhaps in her elder years she could be chaperone to her sister’s beautiful daughters. She would be known by them as “my poor spinster aunt who never found love.” Three fiancés and she had hardly tolerated any of them, never mind loved them. She’d only loved one man in her life but he, of course, did not love her. And that, perhaps, was the most humiliating thing of all.
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