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Heidi Hart

By day, I'm a domestic violence prosecutor. By night, I read romance to restore my faith in love, relationships, and humanity in general. 

Oooh, Pirates! (Plus a Really Good, Angsty Conflict.)

I Kissed an Earl - Julie Anne Long

The first book in Julie Anne Long's Pennyroyal Green series, The Perils of Pleasure, is one of my favorite historical romance novels ever, but as I've been reading the rest of the series (not in order, which is fine, since mostly the books stand alone), I've found them all over the map. Most are solidly entertaining, some are good (none as good as The Perils of Pleasure, yet), and some of them really piss me off. I like Long's writing style, but I often find I don't like her characters. 

 

This one I really enjoyed while I was reading it, and I spent the whole time I was reading thinking that it was nice to have another great story in the Pennyroyal Green series after the last two I read, which were disappointments (Like No Other Lover and Between the Devil and Ian Eversea), but now that I've had some time to reflect, I think I got sucked in by the pirates and the pretty boats and the good, angsty conflict, and really the book isn't all that. 

 

The Good: I really love romance novels where there's an angsty, apparently insurmountable conflict standing in the way of the couple's happiness. Here, the hero and heroine both have the same objective -- to find the heroine's brother -- but with very different ultimate goals: Flint wants to capture and kill him, avenging the death of his (Flint's) mentor and friend, while Violet wants to warn her brother of the search and thus save his life. The success of one would mean the other's failure, and despite their strong and immediate attraction, Flint and Violet both resist each other as long as possible, knowing that the only possible end to their romance will be betrayal. 

 

The Bad: I had a hard time willingly suspending my disbelief through parts of this book, particularly where Violet, blindfolded, threw a dart at a map and hit her target (the tiny island nation of Lacao) on the first try. Yeah, right. But what really, really bothered me is that Flint was too rapey for my tastes. He never actually does rape Violet, but he makes sure that she is ever aware that he could, and most of the sex in this book is Angry Sex. Some readers like that, but not me.