Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Marriage of Inconvenience by Christine Young

Today I'm featuring author Christine Young and her new historical romance, A Marriage of Inconvenience.  Please enjoy the excerpt and my review below. Don't forget to leave a comment in order to have a chance at winning the $25 gift card she is giving away at the end of the tour. Also, if you follow the other stops in the tour you get a new chance to enter every time.


BLURB:

A REGAL BEAUTY

When the duchess decides to wed her to a wastrel and a fop, Ravyn Grahm takes matters into her own hands and declares her engagement to another man. Instead of fessing up and telling her great aunt what she has done, she goes through with the pretense. Aric Lakeland is the bastard son of an earl and has a dangerous reputation. But Ravyn is willing to do most anything to keep the duchess from discovering the lie.

 A DEVIL-MAY-CARE SMUGGLER

He'd bought land in America, looking to put down roots and end his life of adventure, but Aric Lakeland got more than he bargained for when he encountered a beautiful heiress who made a promise she didn't want to keep. But the promise could not be undone and standing between them were more obstacles than either ever dreamed. Aric had made plans to spend the rest of his life in America and that was at odds with Ravyn's plan of living in England and running her father's estate. Now, he'll have to choose between his dreams and the woman he loves more than life.

EXCERPT

Ravyn opened her mouth.

All that came out was a breathless sound. Aric turned a corner on the path and in front of him was a pool, basking in the light from the moon. They stood high on rocks that rose above the water. Before she could comprehend what he did, he dove from the lofty perch. His body knifed through the blackness below. Seconds passed before she watched him break the surface of the smooth water. Ripples spiraled outward. He shook his head, droplets spraying everywhere. He swam to the beach and rose from the dark, gently dripping water from the pool like a replica by a French painter: smoothly muscled, balanced, potent, in essence masculine in his grace.

Moonlight rippled over glossy flesh like daylight over water, heightening the play of muscle beneath skin that was as fine-grained as amber. The mixture of blatant male power and equally blatant male splendor sent heat racing through Ravyn, shortening her breath, making her feel as though Aric were running his hands over her.

The idea was both frightening and fascinating. Trembling, she held her breath, waiting for him to acknowledge something. For a few moments, there was silence except for the cry of an owl. 

Aric disappeared only to suddenly stand beside her on the rocky ledge. Despite the trials of the day and her fears for Lilly, Ravyn found she enjoyed watching Aric. It sparked something inside her she had not known existed. When she looked at him, she found herself wanting to stroke him, test his resilience.

The golden heat in Ravyn’s stomach spread again, sending an inferno streaking through her, making her catch her breath in pleasure.

Fear and desire fought within Ravyn, making her shake. Despite that, she couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to coil closer and closer to the heat, letting fire consume her to her very core.
The sound of her own voice alarmed her. It was much too husky, reflecting the tug-of-war between ingrained shyness and blossoming passion. She enjoyed watching Aric far too much, and the thought of touching him intrigued every part of her. She wanted to do everything he asked. The thought of pleasing him was an incredible lure.

His voice was deep, dark, warm. It made Ravyn feel as though she had been kissed by a spring breeze. Gentle fingertips traced the line of Ravyn’s neck and collarbone. And she watched him. The strength in him intrigued her.

He took it as much for granted as he did the air he breathed. She couldn’t take him for granted in that way. Not any longer. The realization made her shake.


MY REVIEW

First, I have to say I have a love/hate relationship with historicals. I love learning about history and all the nuances of that. I really love it when the protagonist goes against the historical norm in that she is strong and stands up to her rights.  What I hate about historicals is the way men assumed they always know what's best and often forced themselves--literally and metaphorically--on women and kept them in "their place' in society.  It is important to understand this, so you can take my review in that vein because this book offers both of those situations.

A Marriage of Inconvenience is the story of two people who are very much in love, but so stubborn and sure of their partners needs, that they constantly end up hurting each other. In spite of her obvious feelings of attraction and desire for physical intimacy, Ravyn is deathly afraid of sex and even more so of bearing children.  Though she is a virgin, her knowledge of the marriage bed and child birth is from her mother's horrific experiences and a best friend who was raped.  Needless to say not positive.

Aric has a problem in general with aristocrats and a very defined view of what they want in life, this includes Ravyn. When she forces is hand into a marriage he actually has hopes for working out, all of his prejudices become magnified and no matter how much she proves she is a strong woman who can--and wants to--thrive in America, he doesn't believe her. Add to that her refusal to consummate their marriage, and you have one very frustrated alpha male.

I applaud the author for tackling a subject that was probably more the norm than we realize. Aristocratic women often had their husbands chosen for them, and I can only wonder how loveless and horrible the marriage bed could be.  Add to that the liklihood they would die in childbirth, or their child would die, it must have been a miserable life for many women. 

I must admit, I grew increasingly frustrated at Ravyn's I want you/I don't want you thoughts, feelings, and behavior.  Even when the reason was finally revealed more than half way through the book, it didn't seem enough to me.  Yes, her fears were justified. However, given that she was regularly risking her life in America throughout the book, and their sexual explorations included everything except intercourse, it just didn't ring true to me that she would refuse her husband--a man she clearly loved--the one thing he desired.  I was also equally frustrated with Aric's truly mean choices to prove she wasn't fit for America. They did not at all show me a man who loved her and I had a hard time liking him.

The writing sparkles much of the time. The dialog is excellent and the characters are well-drawn.  I understand why the author made the choices she did. I understand the need to have her characters constantly butting heads.  However, for me, it didn't work as much as I would have liked. I would have made different choices in how the relationship progressed.  I may have let Aric know the problem earlier and then put the onus on him to make it better instead of repeating the same behavior again and again.  But then, I don't write historicals, and I still appreciate that the author wanted to show a side of women's lives that was not at all easy.  I'm definitely conflicted about the book.  In the end, what can any author ask, but that a reader cares enough about the characters that she gets angry, sad, or happy when they don't behave as she wishes?

 

BUY LINKS: Rogue Phoenix Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Born in Medford, Oregon, novelist Christine Young has lived in Oregon all of her life. After graduating from Oregon State University with a BS in science, she spent another year at Southern Oregon State University working on her teaching certificate, and a few years later received her Master's degree in secondary education and counseling. Now the long, hot days of summer provide the perfect setting for creating romance. She sold her first book, Dakota's Bride, the summer of 1998 and her second book, My Angel, to Kensington. Her teaching and writing careers have intertwined with raising three children.  Christine's newest venture is the creation of Rogue Phoenix Press. Christine is the founder, editor and co-owner with her husband. They live in Salem, Oregon.

Contact Christine:  * Website * Facebook * Twitter * GoodReads *

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

Christine will be awarding a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  You can follow all the stops on the tour and increase your chances for winning. The stops are listed below.  Please, take a minute and say Hi to Christine and ask questions about her book.



Tour Stops

December 10:  Romantic Historical Lovers
December 11:  Tamaria Soana
December 12:  Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess
December 13:  Queen of all She Reads
December 14:  MeganJohnsInvites
December 17:  Urban Girl Reader
December 18:  SnifferWalk
December 18:  STOP 2  It's Raining Books
December 19:  Bodice Ripper Novels
December 20:  Maggie's Meanderings (You are here!)
December 21:  My Devotional Thoughts
December 31:  Reviewing Shelf
January 1:  The Muse Unleashed
January 2:  Ramblings From This Chick
January 3:  Sugarbeat's Books
January 4:  Wickedly Wanton Tales
January 7:  Jinni James
January 8:  Love Saves the World
January 9:  Christy McKee  the "Sweet Spot" of Life
January 10:  Book 'Em North Carolina
January 11:  Welcome to My World of Dreams

5 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

Ingeborg said...

Thank you for the honest review. I'm a big fan of historical romance so I'm looking forward to reading the book.

Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

Mary Preston said...

Thank you for your review. You raised some excellent points.

Historical - everything - is my favorite.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

MomJane said...

I love historical romance -- it was the first kind of romance I started reading years ago. Yours sounds decidedly different, though -- not your typical regency. That's exciting!

jbandy8233 at gmail dot com

Karen H in NC said...

Sorry for the late post. I’m playing catch-up here so I’m just popping in to say HI and sorry I missed visiting with you on party day! Hope you all had a good time!

kareninnc at gmail dot com