Tuesday, November 16
Title: Seven Nights to Forever*
Author: Evangeline Collins
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Trade sized paperback & digital e-book
Date/Year: November 2010
*This book was provided to me by the author for review
Summary from the publisher:
She offered him one week of pleasure. No more and no less...
Though Rose and James's story takes place over a period of just a few days, the way their love story is told makes it feel as though the intimacy and bond that forms between the two of them is a natural progression in their relationship. It feels sumptuous, unhurried...a languorous love affair that I loved. However, I do wish that one of the love scenes towards the end would have better illustrated the intimacy that evolved in their relationship, i.e. from lust to love that encompassed the feelings that they developed for each other. This may seem like a request for just another love scene, but since their relationship was first based on sex, it would have been nice for one of the love scenes to hold more meaning to each of them....even if they weren't willing to admit it to themselves or each other at the time.
I've seen a few reviews that consider James a man that is spineless and weak, (a result of too many uber-alpha heroes in romance today) however I believe that is a narrow and unjust view of his character. I've also seen a few reviews that criticize him for being no better than his wife, i.e. because he turns to a prostitute even though he is a married man...that too I believe is an unjust judgment of his character. Because at the end...despite his vulnerability, he is commanding and confrontational when he needs to be and is honorable and loyal to those he loves.
The only other thing that I wish would have been explored further in the book was how Rose came to be a courtesan/prostitute/part of the demimonde world. How does a gently bred woman come to the realization that this is her best option? Did she become a mistress in order to settle one of her father's debts, which then eventually led to her decision to be a prostitute instead? I felt that this was important to her character because it definitely influenced Rose and the choices that she made...especially the one in which she decided not to be one man's mistress, as well as why she felt so strongly about not having a patron that was married. I respected and admired Rose for the difficult and self sacrificing choices that she made, even if she was enabling her brother's vices....leading him to follow in his father's footsteps. Her intentions were well meaning and done out of love, but I would have liked to have more insight into her history...not that it would have made a tremendous difference to her character and the story, I just would have understood some of her reasoning better.
Despite my criticisms, I loved this story. I loved James and Rose. I loved that the story was all about them and their struggles internally, with each other, and with their families without getting distracted by perilous plots, hard to believe adventures, and numerous villains. It was just James and Rose and how they came to find love with each other. It's not very often that I feel as passionate about both the hero and the heroine, but I loved them both equally. They are some of my favorite characters I have had the pleasure of reading about this year, and since this story is all about the characters, it made the story that much better in my opinion. If I could sing the praises of Seven Nights to Forever it would almost be an opera! No doubt it will end up on my list of best historical romances for 2010.
Overall: 4.25 stars
Sensuality level: 3.50 (though the heroine is a prostitute the love scenes in this story are sensual and intimate in nature rather than graphic/explicit/adventurous)
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