Friday, April 14, 2006

A Whisper Of Roses by Teresa Medeiros

I picked this book up at my local UBS because Medeiros appears somewhere on my TBR list. Though not the book I had listed, A Whisper Of Roses, published in 1993, was a wonderful surprise. Reminiscent of Garwood’s historicals set in the Scottish Highlands, this book evoked the same breathlessness, the same certainty that its hero and heroine are truly destined for each other.


A Daring Warrior…

As she peered over the edge of the gallery, Sabrina Cameron trembled at the sight of sun-bronzed giant striding into view. But she never recognized the stranger…not until the moment she found herself surrounded by arms of warm steel—and drowning in smoldering green eyes that had once held cool disdain but now shimmered with passion. Morgan MacDonnell, the boy, had been her tormentor. Now it looked as if Morgan, the man, would prove infinitely more dangerous…

A Defiant Beauty…

Though hatred divided their clans, Morgan MacDonnel had come to Cameron Glen hoping for a truce…only to find that by evening’s end the only way to avert bloodshed between the two families was for him to marry his enemy’s daughter. But even as Morgan spirited Sabrina away to his rugged fortress, his battle would not be won. For this delicate rose of a girl would put up a bold fight…and the spoils of victory would be nothing less than a heathen MacDonnell’s heart.

I loved the setup for this romance. The hero’s reluctance to love, to trust, makes sense. He is a son without a mother, raised to power by a man both hapless and barbaric; and the protégé of a man who represents all he longs for, all he lacks under his own clan’s decrepit existence.

The heroine is strong and bright, but has not been allowed to live outside the expectations and experiences of a woman of her time. Ultimately—and this is more in Coulter’s style—she is handed over, along with a settlement of livestock, to Medeiros’ hero.

Why did I so enjoy a book filled with characters and events that should otherwise grate? The romantic fool in me? The dyed-in-the-wool romance reader in me?

  • The romantic fool in me loves a man who can handle (fend off) a woman—in this case in a physical battle—without leaving a mark. In A Whisper Of Roses, this was a telling moment, one in which the reader gets a first glimpse at a plan Sabrina’s father has clearly been crafting for years. It also entices readers with a hint of gentleness, a promise of the care he will show her.

  • He is a Scot and calls her “lass”. Sorry. I just love that. Beats “sweetheart” any day.

  • The drunken hilarity of Morgan’s clan. They cracked me up.

  • Morgan’s gentleness—despite his size, his strength and his knowledge. When he knows that the gun Sabrina’s mother holds to his head shoots only a bouquet of flowers, he still surrenders—allowing himself to be locked in the dungeon. Just one example. There were many more, and frankly, these are the moments that hooked me.

    There was one part—part three specifically—that I could have done without. In this final section (unnecessary overall, IMO), our Laird dons an Englishman’s disguise, moves about in English society and goads Sabrina—now confined to a wheelchair—into walking again. For its time, this is where I found the story unbelievable. Add to that my aversion to powder and paint—for men and women both—and this part of the story fell flat.

    Overall, I liked it. It swept me away. Very few books are doing that for me right now. Not entirely sure why this one did, but it did. And I admit it without an ounce of sheepishness.

    1. I read this one a number of years ago and while I don't remember that much about it - I do know that I liked it. I am really going to have to dig out some of my older books and reread them!! The only problem is they are still publishing books and there just aren't enough hours in the day to read everything I want to :(

    2. Lately, I'm reading more by "mood" than published date. Honestly, A Whisper Of Roses might be a book that I would actually dislike another time, in another mood. Not sure.

      Today though, I'm reading a book published in the last month. Contemp from Amy J Fetzer. It's good and seems to suit my mood. *g*

    3. I have enjoyed all Medeiros's books that I've read. Haven't read this one though. Thanks for the review.

    4. OK, well I'm sensing a trend. When I read my Medeiros book for AngieW's Feb TBR Challenge, I was looking for another one to try (but not her vamp ones), because I loved the book, but hated the ending. You know me... if you didn't like the ending, will I hate this one too? Factor in my inherent dislike of Scottish books (Karen Ranney's Highland Lords series notwithstanding), and tell me if I should find a different one or give this one a try...? Damn, I'm picky, aren't I?


    Have you read it? What do you think?

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