Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Lydia Joyce – Voices and Whispers

Voices Of The Night

Desperate to escape the underworld's treacherous grasp, Maggie of King Street finds a patron in Charles Crossham, Lord Edgington, who must transform a street girl into a lady in order to win a high-stakes wager.

Charles has never met anyone like the fierce and ardent Maggie, and Maggie's defenses are useless against the seduction of the jaded baron. Their association quickly ignites into a consuming obsession. But both passion and the bet are threatened by a ruthless villain from Maggie's dark past who has plans for her that imperil everything she's ever cared for--and her very life. Charles is her only chance. Together, they can defeat the most cunning criminal London has ever faced, but only if Maggie's new lover can forgive her old sins.

Whispers Of The Night

When four London seasons fail to find her a suitable match, Alcyone Carter does the unthinkable and treks across Europe to marry a foreign nobleman she's never met. But on her wedding night, she discovers her handsome, enigmatic husband is not the man he claimed to be. Rather than live a lie, she escapes his estate into the darkness.
But her husband-ignited by his desire and pride--risks everything to follow her from the depths of the forests into the decadent heart of an empire, where they're forced to confront the passion they've discovered--and the dire threat that could cost them both their lives.

I think Joyce’s strength lies in her characterization. I could say I especially like her prose, but in truth, there is nothing special about it. No crafty turns of phrase or passages I’d call elegant or sweeping. She writes well and that’s that.

I could say that I find her suspense elements gripping. And I do. However, they almost always run as an undercurrent, just out of reach of the reader. The result is an overall feeling that the threats—ambiguously delivered and often ignored for great sections of the book—aren’t real. They are of course—and they do serve in part to move the story along—but Joyce wields them more as a characterization tool than a plot device.

I could say I am particularly fond of the worlds she creates. But that would be inaccurate. No world building here, just powerful settings. While less common in historical romance (at least the historicals I read), they are only locales, not worlds. Joyce invites readers into her setting of choice with rich description and historical accuracy. Then she appears to move on, directing reader attention to her characters (those of flesh and bone). The sense of presence, the mood her settings invoke, continues to permeate her narrative however. And, like the suspense, setting seems designed to further characterization more than the plot.

So yes, characterization is king in every Joyce title I’ve read to date (which I believe is all of them). It is the hero and heroine that engage the reader. Often gritty and scarred, they move the story beyond mere attraction to a deeper, sometimes inexplicable connection. Their romance is always accompanied by unease and Joyce uses their imperfections, whatever threat looms and the shadow and starkness natural to her setting to ensure readers are as ill at ease as the H/H. In every story thus far, the HEA feels both hard won and miraculous.

Excellent reads.

Difficult to pick apart and analyze Joyce’s book(s). I struggled to find even these words. Easier for me to just say that she delivers a sensory experience for the reader—something we crave.


  1. I have voices in my TBR! Glad to see you like it.

    It's nice to know that some of the books in my TBR are good ones.

  2. Hi Chantal! These are very good reads, IMO. Joyce is wonderful when it comes to setting the mood--every detail contributes to the book's overall feeling or sense. Focus on just her books, and you won't be disappointed.


Have you read it? What do you think?

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