Tag: Gaelen Foley

Review: The Pirate Prince by Gaelen Foley

Posted October 13, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Holly‘s review of The Pirate Prince (The Ascension Trilogy, Book 1) by Gaelen Foley.

On a calm moonlit night, as the scent of jasmine and pine embraced the island of Ascension, the pirate prince Lazar di Fiori returns with lethal grace to avenge what was stolen from him: his kingdom, his birthright, his soul. . . .

Allegra Monteverdi, the daughter of Lazar’s sworn enemy, proves an uncommonly powerful adversary. She throws herself on his mercy, her courage and beauty touching his cold, unforgiving heart. He agrees to spare the lives of her family–but only if Allegra sails away with him as his captive. For his quest for vengeance still burns fiercely, and he will settle for nothing less than Allegra’s body and soul.

Alone at sea with this dark, intriguing man, moving between seduction and fear, Allegra gazes into eyes as deep and mysterious as the night and sees who this pirate really is. Lazar–the prince of her childhood dreams. Though he was rumored to be murdered years ago, she always believed someday he would return. But it will take more than her love for this pirate prince to bring peace to her beloved home. For Lazar must face the demons of his shattered past–if he is to forge the destiny that is theirs to claim. . . .

After a discussion on Twitter some weeks back, I decided to pick this up for a re-read. Although it’s been years, I remember this as a rich, fulfilling story of love and redemption. It’s always been my favorite of all Foley’s books.

Fifteen years ago, Prince Lazar di Fiore’s entire family was murdered right in front of him. He escaped by throwing himself off a cliff into the ocean. The intervening years have been anything but kind to him. Now he’s a ruthless pirate, and he’s back on Ascension with plans to wipe out the entire family of the man responsible for what happened to his family. A man who was once a trusted friend and adviser to his father. His plan is to kill Monteverdi’s daughter right in front of him, then execute the rest of his family – including all the women and children.

Allegra Monteverdi loves the people of Ascension. She wants nothing more than for the kingdom to prosper. Unfortunately, her father and fiance have different ideas. They don’t have the best interests of the people at heart. Allegra figures she can change that once she’s married and her husband becomes the governor of the land. Which is the only reason she’s agreed to go through with the wedding. The villagers are getting restless, however. As taxes go up and they starve, their anger and hatred toward her family increases. A full rebellion is on it’s way.

When a compelling stranger saves Allegra from being raped by her fiance, then kidnaps her, she assumes he’s part of the rebellion and quietly goes along with him. It isn’t until it’s too late that she realizes he’s there for another reason entirely. Yet even when she does realize, she can’t help but be drawn to him.

Lazar is surprised at the feelings Allegra stirs up inside of him. He’s there to exact revenge on his old enemy, but the more time he spends with Allegra the harder it becomes for him go through with the first part of his plan. Instead of killing her as he originally planned, Lazar whisks her away on his ship. What ensues is an epic saga, filled with angst, betrayal and…redemption?

As I said, I remember this book fondly. I got many hours of enjoyment out of Lazar and Allegra’s tale. Sadly, I didn’t enjoy it as much this time around. The first half of the book is emotional and heart-wrenching. Lazar’s struggle to go through with his revenge plot despite his extreme attraction and connection to Allegra is very touching. His internal angst comes across so well, I was fully immersed in it. When Allegra offers herself up in place of her family, my stomach literally clenched.

Unfortunately, it goes downhill from there. Once Lazar takes Allegra aboard his ship, the constant back-and-forthing in their relationship becomes tiresome. Plus, there’s a lot going on with the plot. Once Allegra is convinced that Lazar truly is the long-lost prince, she’s determined that he go back and take his rightful place as king. But first he has to retrieve the only proof he has – his signet ring, which was stolen from him by the one man Lazar truly fears. Allegra’s fiance is still in the picture and determined to get her back and kill Lazar in the process. Allegra is dealing with the fact that he father truly did betray Lazar’s father. And he’s a pirate, so there are dangers on the high seas that have nothing to do with him being the prince.

As the story wore on I found myself becoming more and more frustrated with both Lazar and Allegra. Allegra is a very progressive female. She thinks women should have rights and fights for the peasants of Ascension. While this is very admirable, at times it seemed she was more concerned with the cause than with Lazar himself. She continually pushed him to go back and take his rightful place, but didn’t consider if that was the best thing for him. She often came across as self-righteous and a martyr for the cause. She was even willing to sacrifice herself – in becoming Lazar’s mistress – so that he could make an advantageous marriage. All without consulting Lazar, of course. In the beginning her zeal and independence were refreshing. Over time they became too much.

Similarly, in the beginning Lazar’s inner turmoil was justified and heartbreaking. The longer the novel wore on, however, the more it began to feel like a big pity party. He became too emo for me. His constant internal whining started to grate on my nerves. “I love her, but I can’t have her because everyone I love dies!” Wah Wah Wah. Cry me a freaking river. His thinking was illogical and depressing.

For all that, there were flashes of brilliance in the storytelling. Foley did manage to establish a strong emotional connection to her characters that kept me turning the pages. I just wish the story had ended 200 pages sooner.

While I still have fond memories of this story, I have to say it didn’t hold up as well as I’d hoped it would. I don’t think I’ll re-read the other two books in the trilogy.

3.5 out of 5

The series:

Book CoverBook CoverBook Cover

This book is available from Fawcett. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: My Dangerous Duke by Gaelen Foley

Posted June 16, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Published by Avon, Harper Collins

Judith’s review of My Dangerous Duke (Inferno Club #2) by Gaelen Foley

The Inferno Club: In public, this scandalous society of London aristocrats is notorious for pursuing all manner of debauchery. But in private, they are warriors who would do anything to protect king and country . . .

They say that the very name of Warrington is cursed . . .
From a time as old as the cold stone of the duke’s ancestral castle, the Warrington men have been plagued by tragedy. But Rohan Kilburn, the Duke of Warrington, has vowed to escape the predestined torment by forsaking love and devoting his life to the Inferno Club and its secret mission.

And then she is brought to him unbidden by cutthroats hoping to calm the duke’s infamous temper—a sacrificial virgin of sorts. But even overpowered, Kate Madsen will be no man’s sacrifice. And the duke’s price for claiming her may be what he has sworn never to give—the heart he has so long and fiercely guarded—to the beautiful hostage he was never meant to love. 

Here is a historical romance that is for the truly serious lover of the genre and who finds the complicated story and extensive cast of characters stimulating and educational in its own way.  Such are the novels of Gaelen Foley and those who are in possession of such a hunger for novels that are meaty in their content and written with flair and vivre, this is their kind of book.  This is what one reviewer called an ” . . . improbable spy story” complete with the undercover government agents disguised as a social club of debauched aristocrats on the one side, and a hidden group of people who for generations have been plotting and carrying out their grandiose plans for world domination.  Yet the real story here that carries the action forward is the involvement of Rohan, Duke of Warrington, and Kate Madsen, an abductee who has been caught up in the mysterious hunt for treasure and information that surrounds the duke.  Kept in captivity for five weeks, she is ultimately presented to Rohan as “a gift” and one he freely accepts believing that she is a whore given to him by his colleagues for his pleasure and as a way to insure his good moods.  Known as “the Beast,” Rohan is known for his temper and for the rather bizaare ways in which he demonstrates his disfavor.

The Duke is one of the most powerful men in England and yet he has chosen to allow his family line to die, all due to his rather weird belief in a family curse.  That he is an accomplished assassin enhances this belief and has now driven this man to choose never to marry.  That he ultimately becomes attracted to Kate in something of an obsessed way is never in doubt but whether or not he is willing to own up to loving her is another matter altogether.  And while Kate’s eventual  love for Rohan opens her to possible hurt and rejection, she is a woman who knows her own mind and one who is willing to allow her considerable intellect to have a say in the way she fashions her future.  Kate is indeed one of those very unusual women who has lived on her own for most of her life and who has come to believe that the lonely, sedentary life is what lay ahead for her.  Rohan is drawn to her capacity for surviving experiences that would have reduced many a fine miss to hysterics and through her cool awreness of the situations in which she finds herself, is willing to allow Rohan liberties, but she is not sure if she is willing to allow him to shape her entire future.

This novel is really about the paralyzing power of fear to change one’s perspective to the degree that they opt out of living.  It is also about the age-old battle between good and evil, an evil that has pervaded some families for generations and which is threatening to upend society as it was known in that day.  It is also about the power of authentic love to overwhelm fear, to rejuvenate and to remake, to empower and to renew, even when disillusionment has taken all the vitality out of one’s life.  Ms Foley writes complicated novels, and this book is no exception.  A second book in the Inferno Club series, this novel continues the saga of those intrepid investigators that feel like they are always on the verge of a breakthrough.  It is also about the power of that same love to bring light and understanding into minds, hearts, and circumstances that have slowly but surely come to a point where all the key figures dwell in darkness, literally and figuratively.

I found this novel to be compelling in its scope and extensively well-researched.  The segments that dealt with the danger and all its attributes have slowly become dark spaces in Rohan’s life and his undercover activities as an assassin are at the point where they are threatening to push out any semblance of light in his mind.  There were times when I felt the political and baldly historical passages almost overwhelmed the book and I have to admit that after awhile I felt inundated and had to lay the book down.  Yet the joy of this book is its unrelenting attention to Rohan & Kate’s relationship that never is allowed to falter.  There are a number of surprises that caught me off guard, but I happen to like that.  It’s sort of Fibber McGee’s closet–it just opens up and falls all over you when you least expect it.  Only the best writers really know how to do that.

So I recommend this book as one that is worthy of sinking one’s teeth into deeply, and one which will hold your interest, at least the love story part of it.  True historical romance fiction fans will find this new and different and that departure from the usual historical romance refreshing.

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

The Series:
My Wicked MarquessMy Dangerous Duke

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Review: Royal Weddings by Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley and Loretta Chase.

Posted April 29, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Rowena’s review of Royal Weddings by Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley and Loretta Chase.

You are cordially invited To help celebrate the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton As we present a 77 page original anthology Written by three utterly wonderful authors!

Stephanie Laurens’ The Wedding Planner: Lady Margaret is proud plan the ton’s most important nuptuals—including that of a prince. But it’s Lady Margaret who falls in love . . . with dashing Gaston Devilliers!

Gaelen Foley’s Ever After: How scandalous! Eleanor Monford, Countess of Archer, is in love with her own husband. And as Princess Charlotte of England weds Prince Leopold, Eleanor’s “secret” is about to come out.

Loretta Chase’s The Jilting of Lord Rothwick: On the eve of Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert, the Marquess of Rothwick learns his fiancÉe, Barbara Findley, has broken their engagement! So he desperately rides out of London to seek her out . . . and to win her back.

This is one of the shortest anthologies that I’ve read and while I did enjoy it, each story was far too short for me to love. I was left with each story, wanting so much more than I got.

In the first story, Stephanie Lauren tells a quick story of Lady Margaret and Gaston. They know each other from their past and while Lady Margaret is mourning her fiance (even after all this time) and planning a wedding, she can’t help but be attracted and distracted by Gaston Devilliers. Gaston has his own plans and he’s going to see them through. This story zipped right on by and was enjoyable. It’s not my favorite of the bunch but I think that Laurens did a great job of making me want more. I enjoyed both Margaret and Gaston but at the end, I didn’t feel like I got to know them as much as I would have liked. I also pictured Gaston as Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast but that was okay. He was still likeable.

Grade: 3 out of 5

In the second story, Gaelen Foley tells the story of Lord and Lady Archer. This was my favorite story of the bunch because in this story, the couple is already married. They’re just not happily married and by the end of the book, they are. I love these kinds of stories. In historical times, it wasn’t unheard of to marry for duty, instead of for love so to watch Eleanor and Archer fall in love with each other was much more believable in such a short story.

Lady Archer has done the unthinkable and has fallen in love with her husband. She’s not at all happy with how busy he is with his political career and she’s heard whispers about him having a mistress and even though she knows that it’s the thing to do between husbands in the ton, she’s pissed. She’s livid about it all and she’s turned ice queen on him.

Archer has no idea what has gotten into his wife. He’s confused because their marriage had been going along swimmingly and so he’s not sure why his wife is being so cold to him. She understands that he’s got his eye into getting into politics and she’s helped him out before so he doesn’t know what flew up her bonnet.

It is at the royal wedding of Princess Charlotte of England and Prince Leopold that husband and wife finally make peace with each other and fall in love out loud. I thought this story was cute and if it had been longer, I would have loved the hell out of it. It’s hard to love these short stories but Foley did a wonderful job of engaging me in the Archer’s story and I appreciated her efforts.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

In the last story, Loretta Chase tells the shortest story of them all. The Marquess of Rothwick needs to get married to some lady who is super rich so that he could restore his crumbling estate. He goes after Barbara Findley, who has the kind of money that he needs and he pursues her like no other. Barbara falls madly in love with him but isn’t sure if he returns the feeling and she wants to marry for love instead of for her money so she breaks their betrothal and that’s when things get interesting.

Rothwick is down in the dumps after having been dumped by Barbara and he’s more than a little pissed off that he now has to start all over again so he does what any other man would do…he gets rip roaring drunk. He gets so drunk that he doesn’t really remember Barbara coming to his door to explain why she couldn’t marry him.

As all romance stories end, it ends happily but it ends most abruptly. This story was like ten pages long and the whole story was crammed in and I think I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t feel like their entire story was being jammed down my throat. It would have been more enjoyable had the story been drawn on a bit longer and the relationship between Rothwick and Barbara would have been more real if I got more from them but this story felt rushed and it ended too soon.

Grade: 2.5 out of 5

Overall, the stories showed lots of promise and while I enjoyed them, I was left wanting so much more. I know that it’s hard to cram an entire story with feelings and believable storylines into such a short amount of pages but these stories would have been so much better if they had more to them.

Overall grade: 3 out of 5

This book is available from Avon Impulse. You can buy it here in e-format.

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