Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Lily Brand by Sandra Schwab

Title: The Lily Brand
Author: Sandra Schwab

Publisher: Dorchester
Type: Historical Romance

Series: No

Why: TBR list entry from eons ago. A blogger rec I’m sure.

Forever Marked: Troy Sacheverell, fifth earl of Ravenhurst, was captured in France. He'd gone to fight Napoleon, but what he found was much more sinister. Dragged from prison to an old French manor on the outskirts of civilization, he was purchased by a rich and twisted beauty. And more dangerous still was the stepdaughter who claimed him.

Lillian had not chosen to live with Camille, her stepmother, but none escaped the Black Widow's web. And on her nineteenth birthday, Lillian became Camille's heir. Her gift was a plaything: a man to end her naiveté, whose face and body were made for the boudoir. Yet even as Lillian did as she was told, marked that beautiful flesh and branded it with the flower of her name, all she desired was escape. In another place, in another world, she'd desired love. Now, looking into burning blue eyes, there was no place to run. No matter should she flee, no matter where she might go, she and this man were prisoners of passion, inextricably linked by the Lily Brand

So while her heart remains locked in ice, his burns with hate. Will they ever find true happiness?

Comments: Once I got past the disturbing events and images that start the book, I found a deeply emotional, hard-won romance. I’ll admit to having doubts. It was difficult to shake the terrifying humiliation both of these characters endured and move forward to the possibilities they share. Schwab’s intent of course, and beautifully done.

Instead of leaving readers on the outside looking in, she holds us in the same strangling grip of remorse and shame that Troy and Lillian suffer. Like these characters, particularly Lillian, we move rigidly, cautiously ahead, sure that the grip will never be broken. Survival is the reigning emotion here. Schwab is brutally honest with emotion and circumstances throughout. She does not stoop to using passion as salve or titled arrogance as protection against evil. Troy and Lillian do not “find” each other through a mutual passion and both remain highly vulnerable—regardless of position or societal rank. In this sense, The Lily Brand was as far from a typical historical romance as you can get.

Schwab’s prose is as compelling as her characterization skills. Without stumbling, she immerses the reader in the story, enveloping us in rich detail, palpable emotion and stark fear. So despite the discomfort, we remain committed. I like a book that can command my attention like that. An author that can compel me to keep reading.

To Save You Some Time: Schwab’s latest book is Castle Of The Wolf, released in May, 2007. I don’t recall any buzz about this one, but its blurb and my appreciation for The Lily Brand have put it on my TBR list. Next up for her is Bewitched due out in April, 2008. COTW looks to be historical romance; Bewitched appears to be fantasy or paranormal (wherever you lump stories with magic in them).


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Whoops! Wrong comment in the wrong window!

    I meant to say that I bought this book as soon as it came out a couple of years ago and still haven't read it! Must rectify that!

  3. Jennifer, you've made my day ... er ... night! :) Thank you so much for this lovely review of my debut novel. I'm glad to hear you found Lillian and Troy's journey so compelling, and of course I hope you'll also enjoy CASTLE, even though it's very different in tone. TLB is really the darkest novel I've written up to date; CASTLE contains many more humorous elements (it was planned as a really dark gothic romance -- but then the lady with the sturdy boots got into the way and trampled all the gothicness to dust *g*).

    Thanks again and all the best wishes from Frankfurt,

  4. Oh I loved this one too and like you had a hard time getting past the beginning. It was such a super book I still remember my visceral response to it. Oh and I loved Castle of the Wolf too. Schwab has become an autobuy author for me now.

  5. Thank you so much for taking time to comment Sandra, what a treat! "Lady with the sturdy boots..." Now you've got me. I love comedy as much as tragedy and will order Castle up next. *G* Thanks again for a fabulous read!

    Marg - Read this one, it buzzed through blogland a couple of years back for good reason. My only regret was putting it off for so long.

    Linda - Autobuy author for you? That's high praise and I'm right behind you. It was that response to TLB that hooked me.

  6. Again, thank you so much! How exciting to think that I've become somebody's autobuy author! *doing a happy dance*

  7. Arrrgghhh. It's out of print. I've managed to order a 'good' copy from Amazon so hopefully it will be okay.


Have you read it? What do you think?

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