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WhiskeyintheJar Romance

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Guest Reviewer at:  Reading Between the Wines book club

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Heiress for Hire
Madeline Hunter
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Stephen King
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Kyraryker’s quotes


"She thought it over, but couldn’t see any immediate loopholes other than the threat of her inner slut emerging, and she could darned well control that little bitch."— Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Libertine's Kiss by Judith James

Libertine's Kiss - Judith James

"I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”

Do you know this sentence? Do you love this poem?  If you answered yes to either of those questions, you're going to like this story.

Elizabeth and William were childhood friends, with a hint of sweethearts, who are separated and end up on opposite sides of England's Civil War (think Cromwell and CharlesI/II).  Through their 18yrs of separation, Elizabeth survives an abusive marriage and William survives being hunted and exiled.  This all happens, with flashbacks to their childhood friendship and a serendipitous meeting, in the first 10 chapters.  Chapter 11 is where the relationship aspect of the storyline ramps up.

The beginning of this story had me enthralled.  The set-up of looming civil war, two characters longing for each other, and finding shelter from the storm in each other (the serendipitous meeting I mentioned earlier) make for an epic story. It was strangely, after chapter 11 when the hero and heroine get to spend more time together, I found the story started to lag a bit. The bedroom scenes, while romantic and steamy, started to be too frequent and kept the story from moving along. Elizabeth is a fine character, who while strong, can come off as a bit naive.  William is the one you will focus on here.  He is your broody, complex, and damaged character with a hint of vulnerability (a childhood trauma) that drives this market. Reading about them interacting in the English court as Elizabeth tries to win back her lands she lost during the war (there's that serendipitous meeting again) with William helping her, will keep you turning the pages.

I'm a history nut and books like this are why I read historical romance.  Ms. James writes with enough accuracy and richness to bring to life the time period (mid 1600s).  There are real life historical figures throughout the story, in fact, it seems like the hero William is loosely based on John Wilmot. However, think of this more as inspired by true events instead of based on and frankly, that's ok with me because anytime venereal diseases are left out of the equation I find things to be more pleasant. 

It's a sweeping historical romance, with generally good pacing, and heart-clenching characters.
This book is poetry.