Friday, May 19, 2006
Passion by Lisa Valdez
In her second year of mourning, lovely young widow Passion Elizabeth Dare never dreamed she would be with a man again--and certainly not a complete stranger. But amidst the crowds of London's Crystal Palace, Passion finds herself discreetly, yet insistently, pursued by a sensual gentleman who awakens her long-supressed desires. After a loveless marriage of restrained propriety, Passion abandons herself to true bliss for the first time.
Intoxicated by his encounter with the beautiful stranger, Mark Randolph Hawkmore, Earl of Langley, cannot wait to see her again. As a series of rapturous rendezvous follows, he and his mystery lover find something rare and wonderful blossoming between them. But a blackmail scheme against the Earl threatens to destroy everything. As a scandal brews, each will have to choose between duty and desire...their love for their families--and their love for each other.
Passion is an extraordinary and powerful love story that literally ignites with the first encounter between its hero and heroine. Valdez brings them together in a coupling that is astonishingly erotic—for its time and place. And she continues to heighten that eroticism until it consumes hero, heroine and reader. Their physical need for one another transforms them on every level and, keeping with the single, unerring focus of this tale, Valdez uses their obsession with one another to reveal character. The heroine’s true artistic talent. Her dry wit and independent mind. The hero’s unflinching honesty within his own thoughts. His self-possession.
Valdez wastes little time letting readers in on their damned fate. There is no clutter, no side trips, no prolonging the misunderstanding, no foreseeable way to a happy ending. When she unmasks the need that drives them as a deep, unabiding love neither thought to ever have, Valdez elevates an already unbearable anguish to outright panic. It is just that gut-wrenching.
Valdez writes beautifully, evoking reader emotion with words both purple and profane. It is a talented pen that can simultaneously provoke and lure the reader, rendering enough shock to jolt the reader physically without loosening the story’s grip on her senses.
And it is the story itself that grips. Its characters breathe as you and I do. But it is their story—what and who they are together—that sweeps them and the reader forward. Not since Shelby Reed’s Midnight Rose, have I been as possessed, as captivated by a story. Which means I’m averaging two such reads a year.
Granted, Karen’s review (and others) prompted its appearance on my TBR list quite a long time ago. Had I simply gone online and bought it, I could have experienced it much sooner. But no, I had to search high and lo-cally, bumping it further down the list every time I could not find it. Ah well. So worth the wait.
My only regret is that I vaguely recall grumblings about Valdez’ next release. Something about its delay…