Tag: Catherine Coulter

Moonspun Magic by Catherine Coulter

Moonspun Magic by Catherine CoulterMoonspun Magic by Catherine Coulter
Published by Signet on May 4th 2004 (first published August 1988)
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 416
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads
three-half-stars

She felt his tongue gently stroke her lips...and his hands, caressing her shoulders, moved downward to mold her hips. "No, please," she said, sobbing with desire...

Beautiful Victoria Abermarle feared and fled the imperious desires of handsome Damien Carstairs, Baron Drago. But there was no escaping her own desires when she was rescued on the lawless highways of Regency England by Damien's identical twin, Rafael Carstairs.

Though Rafael matched the strength and daring, he was gentle where Damien was violent, caring where Damien was callous. The icy terror that Damien inspired melted in the flames of passion that Rafael ignited. And in a whirlwind of adventure, intrigue, and danger that set brother against brother and good against evil, Victoria fought to make the overwhelming power and glorious fulfillment of love the winner...

Trigger warning: Rape. 

I read this for Romance Book Bingo 2017: Twins square. 

I have to say that the third book in this trilogy is my favorite. Maybe because this book calls back a location from one of Coulter’s medieval books, I want to say “Fire Song”. I have to look it up. Either way, I loved the little Easter eggs that are dropped. Plus we get to see characters we have known now through two other books. I really did enjoy that Frances/Hawk seem very much in love. So you can kind of block out the horribleness of the first book now. Plus I really enjoyed the heroine/hero in this one. For those who are looking for “Virgin Best First Time ” square, you can use this book for that one as well.

Our heroine Victoria flees from her sister’s husband Damien Carstairs, Baron Drago. Yeah he apparently thinks that rape is not that big a deal. Do not get me started on Victoria’s appalling sister as well. I ended up feeling sorry for her, since it’s pretty apparent her marriage to Damien is awful and on some weird level she likes it. When Victoria runs away she ends up being rescued by Damien’s twin brother Rafael. Readers meet Rafael in the second book in the Magic Trilogy, so it was nice to see him get his own story-line. As good as Rafael is, we get to see though that Damien is awful.

Rafael is gentle and kind and decides he is going to do whatever is necessary to keep Damien from hurting Victoria. You can see that it pains him to see that his brother seems to just be “wrong” and not care. And Damien seems to loathe Rafael for having the same face. Yeah, there was some weird twin stuff happening in this book. There is also some grossness though with Rafael trying to control Victoria through sex.

Image result for why gif

And there is some jealousy of Rafael believing his brother that perhaps Victoria was really with him sexually which I was wondering about his intelligence at this point. Rafael tries to play a trick on Victoria, but as we quickly find out though, Victoria is able to tell Rafael and Damien apart from each other simply by how her body responds. I guess if one man tried to rape me I would always be on edge around him.

There are some familiar and beloved secondary characters in this one. I absolutely loved Frances and Lyon’s aunt in this one. The men, meh to you. They were fine, but the women really shine.

There is a secondary plot going on with men abducting young women in the area and raping them. So yeah, stay away if you don’t want to hear some terrible men’s justifications for what they are doing. And weirdly this book made me think of Nora Roberts “Brotherhood in Death” which had that same type of plot in it.  I really wasn’t happy with the final resolution to that storyline, but I get it though, the times were that things like that were not seen as a great deal until a girl of quality is kidnapped. Apparently when it was the poor it was a hard shrug.

The writing was okay, but the plot with the gross club kidnapping and raping women take up a great deal of the book. I did like the love scenes. Give me a good love scene and I am usually all over a book.

I think the flow was okay too, nothing to complain about there. Even though I have read this book a million times (exaggerating) it always feels new to me. Maybe because this ended up being my favorite couple out of the three couples who are featured.

three-half-stars

Calypso Magic by Catherine Coulter

Calypso Magic by Catherine CoulterCalypso Magic by Catherine Coulter
Published by Signet on January 6th 2004
Genres: Romance, Historical Romance
Pages: 402
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads
three-half-stars

His hungry lips met hers and the sensation built like raging fire...She wanted more...She wanted...

Diana Savarol vowed to stay away from her cousin, the rakish and hot-tempered Lyonel Ashton, during her visit to London—for she knew that Lyonel, the sixth Earl of Saint Leven, was a rogue who used women as playthings, and she would not be one of them. But she was homesick for the West Indies, and with only Lyonel to escort her on the perilous journey home, Diana's destiny became one with his as they braved the war-torn seas on a journey that would take them from glittering London to the tropical shores of Calypso Island. And, as the fires of battle raged around them, they found a love that burned more fiercely than any other. Diana surrendered to a passion within her that she could no longer deny...

I read this for Romance Book Bingo 2017: Rogue square. 

I was tempted to just say slavery is bad and be done with this review, but no, I have to elaborate. Honestly this is not as bad as the first book in the Magic Trilogy, but it’s still about a 3 out of 5 for me. Maybe because the whole slavery aspect of this book was so distasteful. At least this book introduces us to the hero in book # 3 (Rafael) who appears in “Moonspun Magic” who does not seem like a garbage person. We also get reappearances by Frances and Hawk (what she calls Phillip). Eh…they are not as terrible as they were in book #1. This also has another cousin romance which if I had to do it all over again, I would thrown in as a bingo, cause apparently this was something that happened a lot in historical romances.

Our heroine (Diana) comes to London to visit her family. She has grown up in the West Indies on a plantation (1813 timeframe I think) and so you know, there is going to be some discussion of slavery and is it wrong. Diana is in London looking to find a husband. I have to say that Diana’s asides about England’s weather and food was kind of hilarious. As someone who has only stayed in the country via airport I have zero opinions about the place.

Lyonel (or Lyon) who is Diana’s cousin, seems to get into fights with Diana every-time he lays eyes on her. There is some throwing together of them in London due to Lyon’s aunt forcing him to escort her to events. Of course there is some obvious match-making going on. Diana and Lyon eventually sail back to Diana’s home where a murderer is on the loose.

I can say that the two leads work very well in this book. They have a lot of back and forths with each other, but I didn’t get outright hatred/antagonism that I usually get with Coulter’s heroines/heroes. And the love scenes were great. We get one that takes place on a deserted island (don’t ask) that just worked for this book.

The secondary characters in this one are also in some cases pretty transparent about motives. I loved Lyon’s aunt. She appears in the third book and I loved the resolution of this character. Apparently interfering relatives is a theme in this trilogy.

We also get the reappearance of Frances and Hawk and I am just as shocked as you are that I liked them together. I don’t want to spoil for potential readers, but we get to see them at least I think two years into their marriage. I think the timeframes are a little messed up when I went back to book #1 and read book #2. And then I tried to do a flowchart and said forget it.

Image result for gif of women trying to do math

There is a murderer running about Diana’s home back in the West Indies, and I pinged them correctly when I was a teenager and of course walked in knowing who it was now as an adult. This is not an Agatha Christie novel, so there are really only one or two people who could be guilty.

I would say that the romance aspect was fine/good levels, but throwing in a murder was just weird. So the book felt like it switched on me mid-stream. The writing was okay, and the flow also worked.

The setting of 1800s England of course leaves one with very little options to talk about slavery that doesn’t make the hero/heroine look like monsters. However, that Coulter did what she could to make the whole slavery thing less appalling, but that was the only thing that seemed to not feel realistic to me.

three-half-stars

Midsummer Magic by Catherine Coulter

Midsummer Magic by Catherine CoulterMidsummer Magic by Catherine Coulter
Published by Signet on July 1st 2003 (originally published 1981)
Genres: Romance
Pages: 416
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads
one-star

Philip Hawksbury, the Earl of Rothermere, obeying his father's dying wish, hies himself to Scotland to offer for one of the daughters of Alexander Kilbracken, the Earl of Ruthven.

Frances Kilbracken, informed of the earl's arrival and his mission, disguises herself as a bespectacled dowd so she won't be the one selected by the young earl. But choose her he does, and for all the wrong reasons.

The newly married couple return to England, together but not at all happy. Philip dumps Frances at Desborough Hall, his ancestral estate, and heads back to his old life in London. Ah, but Desborough has a stud farm and racing stable, and Frances is magic with horses.

When the earl returns to his home, driven by guilt, he discovers the woman he married has grossly deceived him. What follows is a battle of the sexes that will have you chuckling, maybe even howling with laughter...

Trigger warning: Rape

The only thing that this book had going for it, was that it kept making me think of the Jem and the Holograms song, “Midsummer Madness.”

Image result for midsummer madness jem and the holograms gif

I maybe played that song a lot while reading this book on Saturday. I needed some happy heading my way.

Think of this book as the reverse “She’s All That.” Heroine is actually hot and smart young woman (Frances) who doesn’t want to marry the hero (Phillip). Hero marries her anyway though because he thinks she’s ugly so he can do what he wants and just ignore her. No, I am not kidding about that. He’s also a jerk of the first order and when he realizes his wife is hot decides he is going to bend her to his will and make her want to have sex with him. I don’t know people, I didn’t write this. I may have screamed into a pillow for a second or two though while finishing this book up.

Frances Kilbracken is the daughter of the Earl of Ruthven. Frances father and Phillip’s father (the Earl of Rothermere) obeys his father’s dying wish to run off and marry one of the Earl’s daughters. Phillip chooses Frances because one of the daughters is too attractive, I can’t remember why the second one sucked, and then Frances who disguises herself and acts as if she can’t read seems like the better wife for Phillip. Phillip has a mistress and has no intention of giving her up to a wife. So having a wife he can keep under his thumb sounds like the best arrangement.

I can see why Frances doesn’t want to marry Phillip. I was actually glad she was smart and knew a ton of things about horses. I really wish though that she had gotten the upper hand with Phillip more though. In the end, because Frances likes sex, she just gets cowed by her husband. Once again, I didn’t write this. I repeat I didn’t write this.

Phillip is typical romance hero of the times. He is a jerk and also thinks no means yes. So yes dear readers, we got a rape scene. Nothing to recommend about Phillip. Though he does use cream when he rapes her which I think is Coulter’s way of saying hey he’s not super terrible since he used something to ease his way inside his wife while he rapes her. I am going to keep saying that because good lord I can’t with this book. He speaks graphically to Frances about sex though after he realizes she’s hot. He decides he is going to have his “rights” and is angry about Frances not acting like a typical female. And one wonders what would have happened if Phillip hadn’t realized that Frances was not really unattractive? I guess his behavior would have been okay and yeah to the mistress?

There are side characters in this one and I did enjoy Phillip’s father a lot. Also Frances’s father. They appear to not be heartless men. Phillip’s mistress? No. There is a freaking scene with Frances and the mistress attacking Phillip and I think it was supposed to be funny? I don’t know. I didn’t laugh. Maybe my funny bone doesn’t exist anymore.

Philip’s sister is apparently having relations to a dude she’s not married to, and I wondered at no one blinking an eye about this in the time and day this book was taking place. It was weird it occurs and that Phillip used this as a reason to talk dirty to Frances. Yes that really did happen. I may have had some wine to stop thinking about this scene.

The writing is okay and the plot is straight forward. After reading “The Nightingale Legacy” it was nice to read a book that wasn’t so confusing.

The ending was a well I guess things are alright even though some of these people are awful. I am so donating all of my romance reads to the library this weekend.

one-star

The Nightingale Legacy (Legacy #2) by Catherine Coulter

The Nightingale Legacy (Legacy #2) by Catherine CoulterThe Nightingale Legacy by Catherine Coulter
Published by Jove on September 1st 1995
Genres: Romance
Pages: 457
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads
two-stars

Caroline Derwent-Jones is at the eve of her nineteenth birthday. She's chomping at the bit to get out from under the control of her smarmy guardian, the frighteningly obsessive Roland Ffalkes. But Ffalkes has other plans for Caroline. She manages to escape him only to find herself in the fascinating company of Frederick North Nightingale, Lord Chilton.

As tragedy and mystery thicken the air, Caroline finds herself more and more drawn to Lord Chilton, a man who claims he's a lonely beggar, his soul suited for solitude and for walking his hounds on the moors.

Mysteries old and mysteries new abound. Misogyny is rampant in Lord Chilton's house, Mount Hawke, filled only with men. But to his surprise, Lord Chilton finds he wants nothing more than to have Caroline Derwent-Jones in his life....

Trigger warning: Rape

The heroine saved this book. Also though the hero did too eventually. A legacy of husbands only bedding their wives for an heir, and for them to wander along the moors being all sad and aloof was just flat out stupid. I maybe said that a few times. A family tradition of being cuckholded is some alt-right (you are Nazis!) crap. We have an appearance by Marcus and the Duchess (also we get to read about Marcus talking about how much his wife loves sex) and I just hate this couple more and more. I refused to re-read The Valentine Legacy (Legacy #3) because I don’t hate myself that much. There are too many plots happening in this book though. We have Caroline looking for King Mark’s treasure, North’s household of only men who hate women, someone is trying to murder Caroline, kidnapping, and young women who have gotten themselves into the family way, rape, and oh women who are not married and pregnant are thereby damaged goods so rape is actually okay, etc. I was over it by the time I got to the final page. Still not as bad as Legacy #1 though.

Caroline Derwent-Jones runs away from her guardian who is making a lot of noises that he doesn’t consider rape a bad thing. As she flees, she finds herself saved by Frederick North Nightingale, Lord Chilton. I definitely get that Coulter was going with a Heathcliff vibe with North, but thank goodness though he completely does not live up to that brooding mess. We find out more and more that North has missed his mother (after his father exiled her) and falls in love with Caroline because she is so alive and loving to him.  If the book had just dealt with Caroline and North and his weird household that would have been enough. But somehow Caroline has inherited a house full of young women who are in the family way. I can’t even with this whole sub-plot. She is also looking for King Mark’s treasure when she has free time.

The writing at times doesn’t work, and the whole Lord of Chilton’s supposed to be aloof and cold thing was beyond stupid. The all male household could have worked and been funny, but honestly, it goes on too long for me to really care anymore. The flow was all over the place though. I think because of the multiple sub-plots I just found it hard to follow what was going on. If we had stuck to one thing it would have been fine.

The setting is typical Regency England only the whole Caroline being so feminist at the time was not working at all. I had the same issue with this while I was reading “Stalking Jack the Ripper” too. It makes for a good modern female character being so in your face about equal rights, but if it’s not taking place during England’s Women’s Movement it really doesn’t work for the time period. Women do not have equal rights period. And Caroline not having to worry about her and her husband’s reputation for dealing with a home full of unwed teen mothers was stretching things way too much.

The ending was eh. I am still confused about it. Probably because we have the treasure found, Caroline’s would be murderer identified, and blah blah blah other stuff happens. I threw in the towel here and just gave up on reading “The Valentine Legacy”.

two-stars

The Wyndham Legacy (Legacy #1) by Catherine Coulter

The Wyndham Legacy (Legacy #1) by Catherine CoulterThe Wyndham Legacy by Catherine Coulter
Published by Jove on September 1st 1994
Genres: Romance
Pages: 392
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads
one-star

Marcus Wyndham never asked to become the Earl of Chase. The Duchess never asked to be illegitimate. And neither of these two asked that their fates become so entwined.

Marcus is passionate, quick to rage, just as quick to laughter. He's tough, opinionated, domineering, known as the devil's own son. The Duchess is serene and aloof -- she has silence down to a fine art. She is always in control, her smiles as rare as bawdy jests in the pulpit. She is self-reliant once she realizes that a very special talent can make her so, a talent no one suspects.

Surrounding this unlikely pair are three servants cast in the Shakespearean mold: Spears, Badger, and Maggie -- all cocky, smart, good plotters and better friends, who don't know the meaning of subservient.

Trigger warning: Rape. 

I read this for Romance Book Bingo: Wedding Bells square. If I have to read this horrible book I am going to make it count towards something.

Lord. Some of my favorite romance reads do not age well at all. Can we just say right now, that forceful marital relations (rape) between the hero and heroine is just appalling and gross to read about. I get it, those were the times, but I don’t want to read about it if I can help it. Marcus sucked and I wanted the Duchess to run off and leave his butt somewhere. Plus they were first cousins and no, just a thousand times no. My gross out sentiment was running high while I was reading this. And the Duchess also drugs and forces the hero to marry her and man I don’t think I am on anyone’s side in this.

The Wyndham Legacy follows Marcus (hero) and the Duchess (heroine). We find out that the Duchess is the illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Chase. He instructs his daughter she is to marry the new Earl of Chase, her cousin Marcus and Marcus doesn’t inherit if he doesn’t marry the Duchess. We have the American side of the family coming over thinking they will get some money (oh joy, terrible Americans) and this whole book was a who who of who do you hope gets it first.

I don’t even get this book. Marcus who does rightfully have a bone to pick with the Duchess drugging him and marrying him against his will is just terrible. He rapes his new wife twice and verbally abuses her almost until the end of the book. One time when he threatens her she defends herself and knocks him unconscious. I recall in later books they are all in love, but did I just block this mess out when I was a teenager? I hope I wasn’t swooning over this mess. Man, I probably did. I am just going to hang my head in shame right now.

shame

The Duchess is called that since she is aloof and cold. Well shoot, you get why quick and in a hurry why she acts this way. It’s a defense mechanism from Marcus and others who would hurt her. Him goading her in order to get her to break was way too “The Taming of the Shrew” for me. You get repeated references to the Duchess being a bastard which someone means she is less than any other human being in the room at any one time. I wish she had told Marcus to pound sand.

There are “love” scenes, I skipped over them so I can’t tell you much about them.

Secondary characters are so paper thin and evil you have to wonder why in the world Marcus and the Duchess even let them anywhere near them. The only saving grace were the servants in this one. They needed to just kill everyone and take over the estate.

The plot is really just about the fact that Marcus and the Duchess could lose their sizable inheritance if they don’t stay married. The whole book is just people trying to off them. The flow is bad, we just go from one awful scene to another when eventually Marcus is all sorry about all those times I raped you.

The ending was just a quick wrap up of things, and also of Marcus and the Duchess being in love.

 

one-star

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