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29 October 2010

October Top 5: Why Vampires Are Our Favorite Monsters

In celebration of Halloween, we turn our Top 5 for October to the top 5 reasons we love vampires more than any other supernatural creature or monster.  Both Broads are fans of the fangs from way back, beginning with the granddaddy of them all, Dracula.  We love their blood lust and all the other kinds of lust writers seem to think up for these creatures of the night.  Below the list is the discussion of our choices, sure to be racy, so read, enjoy, and have a fangtastic Halloween!

Alexandria/Moira

1.  Danger/ No pelt to get in the way like other supernatural creatures
2.  Creatures of the Night/Neck work
3.  Look young, generally old school/Enthrallment is a great excuse for being a bad girl
4.  Always wealthy/Are you experienced?
5.  Tortured souls/Control of metaphysical world

Number 1 reason to love vampires?

Alexandria: Vampires are the definition of sexy danger.  Think of other supernatural beings.  Sure, they're dangerous.  The werewolf will tear out your jugular as soon as look at you.  Other shape shifting creatures will eat you like a snack.  Zombies...well, they'll eat your brain, which is not only dangerous but gross.  But none of these creatures are sexy.  Werewolves and shape shifters are animals, and not in the oh-my-God-ravish-me way.  No, they're just a step above pets.  And zombies?  Rotting faces and maggots pouring out of the tops of heads is definitely not sexy.  Only vampires offer the combination of sex and danger.
Moira: Agree!  Who wants disgusting dog drool or rotting flesh to ruin a perfectly good night?  (It kinda reminds me of "Jed"....remember him, the wagon train guy.....uuuggh.  That gave me the shivers.)

Moira:
Vampires are smooth operators, and if my mind and body can be taken over by a supernatural creature--I prefer to run my hands over beautiful skin as opposed to becoming tangled in a hairy wildebeest.  EWWWWW!  These two words are why werewolves (for me) could never be the top supernatural creature--back pelt.  Check it at the door, big guy.
Alexandria:
Back pelt....see below....(in the post, you perv, not where you were thinking!)


The second reason to like them more than other supernatural creatures?

Alexandria: Generally, vampires are nocturnal creatures, and it's not surprising.  Daytime is good for work, chores, and school--not activities usually associated with the mad, bad, and dangerous to know.  Nighttime is a time for the hidden and secret areas of life--perfect for beings who are the definition of hidden and secret.  Of course, there are vampires who can travel about during the day; Dracula is one of them.  But Edward from Twilight is another, and he twinkles in the daylight, so let's not go any further with that.  Twinkling is not mad, bad, or dangerous.  It's just lame. 
Moira:
Nighttime is also when scary things feel.....well scary.  It is in the dark that you can give yourself the goosebumps.  Think about it, ever get scared in your bedroom during the day?  I think not.


Moira:
Neck work.  As if I have to explain further...Holy Mother, that looks like it feels delicious!
Alexandria: I have nothing cute or pithy to add.  Delish....

The number three reason vampires beat out creatures like zombies?

Alexandria: Youth is wasted on the young, but on vampires it's a perfect fit.  With few exceptions, these supernatural creatures are young and beautiful.  Vampires live hundreds of years, yet they always seem to be incredibly attractive, even in many horror stories.  They're the best of both worlds:  they have the faces and bodies of young men, but they have the wisdom and skills of a more mature man.  How many of us have thought, "If I could be young but know what I know now."  This is the key to vampire appeal.  What's not to love?
Moira: Would you rush out to see a movie about an old guy attempting to woo some young ...okay, any woman?  Not bloody likely.  There is something exceedingly attractive about the idea of being old, yet looking young.  Just look at the creams, gels, and concoctions being sold in the skin care industry or the dramatic rise in plastic surgery patients over the last decade.  Vampires had better keep themselves hidden indeed if they do in fact exist.....for I'm afraid they would be captured just to extract the "fountain of youth" gene from them.  Ha!  That's rich...the night stalker would be the prey at the hands of aging women across the globe......

Moira:
Ho hum life got you down?  Craving a little excitement or adventure with a bad boy/bad ass creature of the night?  Let vampire "enthrallment" give you a new focus and a whole lot of confidence.  Once under the enthrallment of your blood sucking suitor, you won't have an inhibition to your name--your only thought will be on giving and receiving...really.
Besides, what's a better excuse for your boss?  "Excuse me, but I won't be into work--I'm under a bad case of enthrallment."
Alexandria: That's what I'm going to use for an excuse for my next mental health day off--enthrallment.  They aren't buying the claim of the vapors anymore.  Gotta keep it fresh.

I'm already convinced, but you have a fourth reason?

Alexandria: I can't remember a story that included a vampire that was poor.  They're always well off, if not obscenely wealthy.  This must be one of the benefits of living for hundreds of years.  But it's also a very attractive trait--a man who takes care of business with his finances.  Oooooooohhhhhh....sorry, the fantasy of a man who's good with money always does it for me. 
Moira:
Vacations, luxury, security......Oh, my kingdom for the man you describe.  Remember girls, vampires are NOT real.

Moira:
Ancient and eternal, forever in his prime, the vampire has lived and loved in the history we can only read about.  That's experience, and experience is sexy.  You won't endure a misplaced grope or an awkward invasion at the hands of your fanged lover.  Just relax and enjoy the ride....
Alexandria: Experienced and good looking?  Mmmm...mmmmm...mmmmm.  However, in our neck of the woods, experience usually comes with the complimentary back pelt.  And I'm not talking about weres either.

And the final reason why vampires are the best monsters?

Alexandria: I love a man with a tortured soul.  I can't help it.  Vampires in stories are often torn between doing the right thing and not killing others and satisfying their blood lust.  Other times they're made to be just bad, but then the author gives them some tragic back story to show why they're bad, usually because a woman did them wrong.   Whatever it is, I do love me a man with a tortured soul. 
Moira:
Uhmmmm, yeah, ditto.  Except in real life.....then I recommend avoiding these men at any/all costs.  Keep it in between the pages ladies....then you can shut the book when you've had enough of his shit.


Moira:
I like a man/vampire who is in control of the situation at all times, and vampires take first place in this category.  Able to close doors, let loose the hounds which guard his estate, or remove clothing with just a thought, the vampire is the master of his physical world and by association, mine.  Thatsa shesa nice.
Alexandria: I like when authors have them light candles just with their minds.  Controlling the situation and being romantic at the same time.  Now that's a male who knows how to take care of the business.

27 October 2010

Illegals: The Unacceptable Cost of America's Failure To Control Its Borders-Darrell Ankarlo

Talk radio personality Darrell Ankarlo has over three decades in the broadcasting business.  He has been awarded multiple Talkers Magazine Heavy Hundred Awards, two Dallas Press Club Katie Awards, a Billboard magazine Air Personality of the Year Award, and the Scripps Howard Excellence in Journalism Award.  Honored by the White House for his efforts to raise money and support for America's military with the President's Volunteer Service Award, Ankarlo lives his patriotism in deed.  Numerous television appearances on shows such as Glenn Beck, Anderson Cooper 360, NBC's Today, and Paula Zahn Now, among many others, in addition to his previous book, What Went Wrong With America and How to Fix It, showcase his knowledge and experience concerning issues that face our nation today.

In his latest book, Illegals, Darrell Ankarlo investigates many aspects of America's devastating war with illegal immigration.  Focused primarily on the Mexican border, Ankarlo cites the many dangers American citizens are facing in the Southwest such as increasing crime, drug trafficking, kidnapping, and violence in respect to the overwhelming flow of illegals across our border.  Also, he points out the massive expenses of this influx on our weakened economy and struggling health care industry, and in example after example, clearly shows the flagrant disregard for our nation's laws by both the Mexican government and the illegal immigrants.

Ankarlo and his team, endangering their own safety, crossed the border repeatedly to expose the corruption and mis-information the Mexican government turns a blind eye to, and the hopeless circumstances which encourage the criminal behavior of its citizens.  In story after story, Ankarlo compassionately reveals the plight of those wishing to escape, while always exposing the truth of their belief that they are above the laws of our land.

In no way against legal immigration, Ankarlo explains the harmful effects America's failure in securing its borders is visiting upon her citizens.  Interviews with Border Patrol Agents reveal startling facts.  In one six month period, agents at one facility saw more than 600,000 pounds of marijuana come through, all confiscated from illegals crossing our border.  Understaffed and overwhelmed, these men and women do all they can, but the numbers speak for themselves.  More than one million people pour over our southern border annually.  These come looking, perhaps, for a better life, but unfortunately, they remain in poverty, with hardworking Americans paying to provide at least one-third with food and healthcare through our welfare system, and approximately three-fourths living at or below the poverty level.  Simply put, they are not giving back to the country they expect help from.  Information obtained from the Center For Immigration Studies shows that crime is up dramatically in areas with large concentrations of illegal immigrants.  Our strapped for cash schools cannot keep up with the extra steps to teach other languages.  Our debt riddled municipalities cannot provide the additional police officers needed to deal with the increase in crime, so mayors must resort to raising property or sales taxes on the law abiding population.  These are only a few of the statistics cited in the book.

What is America to do?  Ankarlo interviewed police, social experts, senators, and Border Patrol Agents, and lists many options.  In the final chapter, he outlines his own "Ankarlo Immigration Top 30", an approach this broad believes the vast majority of Americans would support whole-heartedly.  The first step, Ankarlo advises is the necessary sealing of our borders.

Recommendation:  * * * * _
An in depth look at the illegal immigration problem facing the United States of America;  very informative and interesting.  I highly recommend this book.

~Moira

26 October 2010

The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga-Edward Rutherfurd

History and Fiction Meet on the Liffey Plain......
Edward Rutherfurd takes readers back in history to explore the misty-green, magical land we know today as Ireland, focusing on Dublin and surrounding areas.  Spanning eleven centuries, The Princes of Ireland begins in Dubh Linn, 430 AD, and introduces the characters whose families will carry the saga through the mid 1500's.  Rutherfurd blends historical fact and fiction seamlessly together, creating the paths the descendants of Celtic, Nordic, and English lines take over the course of years.  Quite lengthy, the novel boasts 770 pages, but in actuality, there are three major time periods dealt with, each with its own characters and events.  Because of this, the story doesn't feel overdrawn; it stays fresh and flowing, but I must admit, during the second storyline set in the 1100's, I had to force myself to read through portions.  This was the only section I struggled with, and I very much enjoyed the novel overall.

Edward Rutherfurd has written a number of novels including Sarum, Russka, London, and The Forest, and I will definitely check out another of his works, as this novel was well crafted.  More than an evening's commitment, The Princes of Ireland, is involved.  This broad appreciated the pronunciation guide and maps, but they are not necessary to understand or enjoy the story.  I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

Recommendation:  * * * * _
If you have the time and inclination to get involved in a great, but longer, novel and have an interest in history, Edward Rutherfurd's, The Princes of Ireland, will surely satisfy.

~Moira

22 October 2010

The Taking-Erin McCarthy

Wild, Campy, and Commonplace in The Crescent City
Erin McCarthy's novel, The Taking, is the story of Regan, an heiress, and her fantastical love affair with a voodoo priest named Felix.  The story takes place in New Orleans, and the story is, in parts, as mysterious and wild as The Big Easy is said to be.  Complete with demons, curses, spells, and a dead woman come to haunt a house and its owner, The Taking has a little bit of every kind of supernatural mojo, except vampires, it seems.  A romance at heart, the story is also in some ways a paranormal mystery, of sorts, but also blends in a bit too much of the everyday, resulting in a bit of a hodge-podge of a story.

The story begins with Regan as an unhappy wife to Beau Alcroft, a New Orleans lawyer.  She plans to leave him because she doesn't love him, but her plans are given credence when she meets Felix, a practitioner of voodoo who is hired to read tarot cards at her husband's law firm's Christmas party.  Felix senses her unhappiness and gives her a reading that lets her know her decision is the right one for her.  He feels an instant attraction but denies it.  Shortly after the party, Regan leaves her husband and buys a house she's loved for years.  She moves in and finds herself haunted by a young woman named Camille who used to live there and fell to her death from a bedroom balcony.  Very quickly, strange things begin to happen to Regan, and she turns to Felix for help.

Felix is instantly attracted to her, but fears being with her.  He is cursed and doesn't believe he will ever be able to love her or have her love him back.  But they fall for one another and then the wildness begins to happen.  In the end, however, this book is a romance, and they live happily ever after, demons and ghosts are gone, and all is wrapped up nicely.

The Taking
is in some parts quite interesting and in other parts too campy and even common.  There is the gay friend of Regan, who seems to spout every gay cliche available, including the screeching Shut up! when he is surprised at something said. Also, the vocabulary is downright pedestrian.  Regan comments on her marriage at one point by saying it blew to be married to Beau.  This kind of stuff is pretty common language for literature and not very well written.

The romantic hero, Felix, is ok, but he doesn't burn up the pages sexually.  For a Creole, voodoo man, he seems pretty tame, actually.  The heroine, Regan, is also pretty commonplace.  Nothing in her seems to be any different than many females who exist in real life.

Overall, The Taking has some interesting parts to it, but the camp is too over the top and the commonplace is just too common.  It's a strange combination that doesn't really work for this Broad.
-Alexandria

Louisiana Voodoo And A Creole Lover....Except There's Not Much Voodoo, and Loverboy's Not A Creole Anymore.  Go Figure.

Regan Henry Alcroft consents to having a tarot reading done to bolster enthusiasm at her controlling husband's business soiree, not out of any belief in such things, but as an excuse to escape his presence, but when the mystical Felix LeBlanc unmasks her inner turmoil, revealing truths he could not know, Regan is shaken.  His direct confrontation of her fears, and his veiled warnings solidify her desire to free herself from her husband's tight hold over her life.

Regan moves forward in her new life, free from her marriage and feeling alive for the first time in years; however, things are not what they seem.  Strange and frightening things are happening in her new home, and Regan finds herself turning to the mysterious voodoo practitioner for help.  But Felix LeBlanc carries his own secrets, and as the two become more entangled in the bizarre occurrences surrounding Regan and in their desire for one another, Felix must try to protect the woman he is falling in love with and convince her that sometimes evil is found in the most inconspicuous places.

The Taking
offers readers a bit of mystery, eerie creole magic, and unchecked passion.  McCarthy blends these elements well, especially written within the discovered journal entries of the tragic Camille, a young woman devastated by her family's death and the greedy ambition of both men if her life.  This trio of characters from the 1800's resurfaces in the present day to conclude unfinished business, with Regan a pawn in a demonic game of winner-take-all.

While McCarthy's characters do work well in the story together, none stand out as fantastic in her present day setting.  Felix was, frankly, flat out boring at times, and Alcroft wasn't nearly dastardly enough as a fallen angel turned demon.  The story barely had Felix practice any of his Creole voodoo magic, and Regan comes across as self-conscious and crazy, as she accepts that her face can morph into someone else's, or that ghosts can haunt her in very real ways, but rejects Felix's confession of his cursed past and explanation of the other-worldly events consuming her life.

Where McCarthy impressed was in the writing of the novel's opening passage, which was another long ago journal entry penned in the aftermath of plague by a fictitious priest.  Absolutely fabulous in its wording, it left this broad hoping that McCarthy will unleash an entire novel of that calibre.  OOOh, Lah Lah.

Recommendation:  * * * _ _


~Moira

08 October 2010

The Spurned Viscountess-Shelley Munro

Dark and Romantic Story
The Spurned Viscountess by Shelley Munro is a romance story set in England with strong Gothic undertones.  In addition, the story includes a mystery that runs parallel to the romance. Rosalind, the heroine, is sent to marry Lucien, Lord Hastings, but upon meeting him sees her future as loveless and cold.  Lucien doesn't want to marry her, who he silently calls his English mouse.  He is still in love with his wife, who died along with his unborn child in a murderous attack and wants to find their killer, not marry some woman he's never met.  In addition, he doesn't remember anything about his life in England because of the attack, which scarred him both inside and outside.  But Rosalind is stronger than most people give her credit for, and she resolves to marry him and hopes that he will some day at least care enough about her to give her children.

Lucien slowly begins to get used to his English mouse, and it doesn't take long for him to see that she is made of sturdier stuff than he first thought.  Someone is trying to harm her, and each time, Rosalind shows her strength and courage, even as household members are dying around her.  Lucien finally begins to see that his wife is someone he cares about, just in time for both of them to be in real danger.  Their love is proven through this danger, and when they are safe again, both look forward to the pitter patter of little feet.

The Spurned Viscountess
is a sweet story but a well written story.  Munro describes the setting on the coast of England in detail, making the reader feel they are there with Rosalind as she walks near the water or high above on the cliffs.  Lucien is a romantic hero with a past who the reader grows to like and wants to see get a second chance at love.  Rosalind is a strong female character, and Munro makes her character full and interesting.
The romance is sweet when it finally occurs, but the mystery is something out of any Gothic novel.  There is a large, eerie castle; secret passages; a dangerous villain; and strange goings on in the castle.  All of this adds up to a delightful read.  If you like the idea of the dark, brooding romantic hero with a past, a la Heathcliff and Catherine in Wuthering Heights but in a far less gloomy story, then try Shelley Munro's book.  This Broad found it simply enjoyable.
-Alexandria
The Spurned Viscountess was provided for review by the publisher, Carina Press, through NetGalley.


Marriage, Mystery, and Murder, Oh My!

In The Spurned Viscountess, Shelley Munro introduces us to Rosalind, a young English woman with a rare gift.  She sees the memories and intentions of those she touches, and is quite convinced this gift is in actuality a curse.  Others feel uncomfortable around her, and Rosalind is on the verge of becoming a spinster.  Furthering her troubles are rumors that she is a witch, so her family sends her to St. Clare Castle for an arranged marriage with the heir of the estate, Viscount George St. Clare.  The Viscount, known as Lucien, suffers from amnesia, and has returned to his English family unconvinced that he is, in fact, the missing George St. Clare.  Badly scarred in an attack years earlier and still mourning the murder of his first wife, Lucien marries Rosalind begrudgingly with no intention of husbanding her proper, but strange occurrences in and around Castle St. Clare compel the two to come together as each of their lives is endangered.

Desperately searching for the mysterious and elusive smuggler known only as Hawk, Lucien is determined to avenge his first wife's murder, but he discovers that investigating that crime may put his new wife in mortal danger.  As love grows between the two, they seek to rediscover Lucien's past and catch a killer before it is too late.

Shelley Munro's story is excellent.  What it lacks in depth and detail it makes up for with interesting characters.  Not lengthy, with only 251 pages, The Spurned Viscountess is an easy, enjoyable read.  Rosalind is a typical heroine with more bravado than brains at times, and Lucien is written nicely as the reluctant lover with a mysterious past.  While neither character is outstanding, they do work well in the story together.  What makes Munro's tale stand out, is the mixture of romance, mystery, and murder.  She also had great supporting characters in the story, which actually made the mystery....ahem, mysterious.

Recommendation:  ****_


Anyone looking for an easy page-turner will enjoy this story.  The Spurned Viscountess was provided to me free of charge through Net Galley from Carina Press Publishing.  The opinions in my review are solely my own.
~Moira

07 October 2010

Something Wicked-Jo Beverley

Something Wicked Indeed.....
Set in London in the mid 1700's, Something Wicked, introduces Lady Elfled Malloren, a woman close to spinsterhood, longing for adventure, desiring purpose.  As a female, Elf is expected to run her brother's home and flit around the social circuit, none of which satisfy her desires.  When the opportunity presents itself, Elf conspires with her lifelong friend, Amanda, to attend the notorious Midsummer Night's masquerade at Vauxhall.  Thinking only of seeing 'something wicked' from under her concealing domino, Elf imagines she will escape her boring life for one evening without her protective brothers ever finding out; but when Lady Malloren overhears a treasonous conversation, her life is put in serious danger.

Fleeing her pursuers, Elf finds safety in the arms of none other than Lord Fortitude Walgrave, sworn enemy of the Malloren family.  Desperate to keep her identity hidden and escape her attackers, she must play a dangerous game with the sinister Fort Walgrave.  Soon, however, Elf realizes that her savior may be one of the conspirators against the crown.  Unable to discern friend from foe and unprotected at her brothers' absences, she must trust Lord Walgrave with her life.  Unaware that the intriguing woman thrust into his world is a member of the hated Malloren family, Walgrave desires her fiercely, even as she is inexplicably drawn to him; their forbidden passion inviting devastating consequences.

Jo Beverley's, Something Wicked, is at its best, an evening's distraction, and at its worst, ridiculous.  Elfled's character is sympathetic as a woman restrained in a repressive society, and her desire for adventure reasonable.  Her boldness is tempered with some cautiousness in the first half of the novel.  As the story progresses, Elfled spirals out of control, taking absurd risks and chasing pathetically after a lover who has rejected her.  Beverley does nicely write a female character who takes control in a man's domain in the sections about her family's business, and for that I applaud her as well as for a terrific story idea.  Beverley cleverly invents the circumstances which bring the couple together initially.

Lord Walgrave was not the typical hero found in romances in a few respects.  This broad suspects that readers will love him, or hate him, and will say no more on the matter, well aware that one broad's prince charming is another broad's frog.

Recommendation:  * * + _
_  (Two and a half stars)

Nice story, mediocre characters, lots of drama.  Read it on a night you have a few hours to kill.
~Moira

01 October 2010

The Eagle and The Dove-Jane Feather

We Do Love Those Sheiks
This time we go old school romance with Jane Feather's 1991 romance novel, The Eagle and The Dove.  This is the story of Abul, Lord Hassan, the caliph of Grenada in 1492, and a Christian girl name Sarita, who is a gypsy living in Spain.  Abul has a main wife and four other wives, who all come along with children, but when he sees Sarita on a mountain road in Spain outside her camp, he is struck by her beauty and strength.  Even before she speaks to him, he is mesmerized by her and must have her.  When her gypsy lover is killed by her group's leader, Tariq, who plans to force Sarita to marry him, she flees her camp and is picked up on the road to Cordova by Abul and his guards.  He takes her back to his land and instead of imprisoning her, as Sarita thinks he will, he provides her a home in a tower and handmaidens to see to her wishes. She will not be held against her will, and despite the fact that he promises never to force himself on her, she cannot abide by staying in his land, where she is a second class citizen and merely a member of his harem.

Abul is patient with her, living up to his word not to force her to give in to him, and he charms her with his care and presence.  He falls madly in love with her, so much so that it begins to affect his relationship with his first wife and the son they have together, a boy who will one day take over as caliph, and begins to endanger the political well-being of Grenada, the last of the Moorish kingdoms holding out against the Catholic Spanish rulers.

Abul is a strong male character and very appealing.  Feather writes him as a powerful hero, but one with a side that yearns for someone to share more than his bed with.  Sarita is a very spirited character, but quite submissive, overall.  This book is a guilty pleasure type of book for me as a female living in the 21st century.  I better be careful; they're going to take my bitch card from me if I keep liking this type of story.  But I'll just remind the ladies at the monthly Independent Women of the 21st Century meeting that the book is historical romantic fiction since it's set in the waning days of the fifteenth century, right before Isabella and Ferdinand (of Christopher Columbus fame) united Spain and drove out the last of the Moors.

One very interesting feature of this story is the author's use of vocabulary.  I don't think I've read another romance novel that has such an advanced vocabulary.  I was impressed by this since the lack of any words above the basic high school level is a common feature of the romance books that have been published recently. However, the use of more advanced words is a double edged sword if it's not done correctly.

There are only two negative things about this book.  First, the dialogue doesn't always match the characters or the time period in which the story is set.  A 15th century gypsy girl wouldn't be claiming things are spurious.  So while the vocabulary used by the writer is impressive, it's misplaced at times. Second, the sex is barely there in this book, and when it's there, it's vague.  One minute he's rising above her, and the next minute she's shuddering.  But it must keep in mind that when this book was written, romance novels didn't contain steamy sex scenes as they do now.  However, if Christine Feehan (who writes one hell of a sex scene) could write some sexy lovemaking scenes for Abul and Sarita, this book would be one of the best romance novels out there.

The story of The Eagle and The Dove does everything that The Cobra and The Concubine's doesn't:  it stays consistent throughout, with characters developing far more naturally and pleasingly.  If you like the sheik theme in romance novels and want a good story wrapped around it, then The Eagle and The Dove is a book you should try.
-Alexandria

My Kingdom for Your Love......

When Gypsy girl, Sarita, flees her tribe and the protection they offer, she is taken into the world of Moorish Grenada in the late 1400's.  The Caliph of Alhambra, her captor, entranced by her beauty and captivated by her fiery Gypsy ways borders on obsession with possessing his young prisoner.  But enemies abound in the world of the seraglio, and Sarita must learn that seclusion and power are not mutually exclusive.  As Sarita acquiesces to the Lord Caliph, he in turn falls desperately in love with his Christian captive, which sets in motion a diabolical plan to usurp his authority, weaken his hold on Grenada before the Catholic Spaniards, and doom his love to burn as a heretic at the hands of ruthless Inquisitioners.

Jane Feather's The Eagle and the Dove is very well written.  A well crafted romance with substantial storyline is delightful to read amongst a sea of flimsy stories and weak characters.  Feather develops both her male and female characters, adding a depth to them which moved this book from a dime store romance to a romantic novel.  Feather also shines in her use of vocabulary and dialogue within the story.

Both Sarita and Muley Abul Hassan have wisdom to offer the other as well as humility and compromise to learn in themselves, which Feather accomplishes without writing overly dramatic scenes or dialogue.  (The key word here being "overly")  One of the most interesting aspects of Feather's novel is that she requires her hero to make a choice between love and duty.  Many writers do the same ; where Feather stands out is in her decision to make his action carry a real consequence.

Recommendation:  *****
The Eagle and the Dove is a great romance novel.  Jane Feather's story earns my highest rating.  Romance readers ....Read it and Rejoice!
~Moira

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