Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Just One Season in London

Just One Season in London by Leigh Michaels

Publication Date: July 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: Paperback, 384pp
ISBN-13: 9781402244209
ISBN: 1402244207

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks)

Leigh Michaels on the WEB: website, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from Just One Season in London



Viscount Ryecroft's lovely sister Sophie is the family's only hope for climbing out of financial ruin - but Rye has to scrape up the funds to take her to London for the Season, so she can capture a wealthy husband and save them all...


Their mother, Lady Miranda, will do anything for the sake of her children - even taking up again with a man she knew and loved long ago...

With so much riding on their one and only Season in London, Rye, Sophie, and Miranda can't help but get hopelessly entangled with all the wrong people...


Author Leigh Michaels is well known in the publishing world for her immensely popular historical romances. Her latest foray into the fascinating world of Regency England, Just One Season in London, is action packed and filled with not one romantic interlude, but three. Michaels' ability to intertwine all three stories into one satisfying and decadent novel is unparalleled. Love and romance versus duty and sacrifice and it all culminates in one fated season in London!

Viscount Ryecroft is in dire straits. His family has suffered grave financial ruin and there is little to be done. His father left them with an estate in disrepair and no money to speak of. He has to think of some way to protect his mother, Lady Miranda and his sister Sophie. There seems to be only one choice. They must join the Ton for a season in London in order to find or capture the right man for Sophie to marry, who can bail them out with their problems. But Rye finds himself willing to sacrifice his own happiness to keep Sophie or his mother from giving up their own. Meanwhile Lady Miranda has a plan of her own to keep her children's hearts from being broken. She intends to offer herself to an old lover as his mistress, all the while each family member is vying for their own solutions. But life has a way of working things out in most unexpected ways.

There are so many things about this book for historical romance fans to fall in love with. Author Leigh Michaels is an expert when it comes to Regency England. She has done such extensive research that her books give off a very authentic and real feel to them. Just One Season in London is no exception to the rule. Michaels describes the nuances and subtle mores of the Ton with grace and elegance, leaving readers feeling as if they've read a very decadent and satisfying book. Like a fine wine or an exquisite chocolate, the romance in this one is to be savored and enjoyed.

One of the things that I find particularly interesting about Michaels' books of late, is the weaving of several stories into one. Readers saw her use this technique in her very popular book, The Mistress' House and will find her employing it yet again in Just One Season in London. Some would probably speculate that having so many heroes and heroines would leave the reader feeling confused and unable to truly connect with the characters. But in my opinion Michaels pulls it off with style and finesse. She spends enough time with each set of characters to pull the reader in and give them something to identify with. With each character there is a hook.

With Sophie the hook is obviously her youth and innocence. The reader is given a character that they can understand and see a bit of themselves in. Let's face it... many romance readers are young women and these woman have had to sacrifice in their own lives and I think they appreciate the fact that Michaels shows Sophie as an intelligent young woman who is loyal to her family and willing to do what it takes to solve their problems. But they are also rooting for her to find her own Prince Charming so to speak. To have her cake and eat it too...

With Lady Miranda the hook is a little less apparent. She is a beautiful woman who has known love in her life and is willing to do whatever it takes to protect her children. Many readers will identify with that and understand the links to which she is willing to go. I think they will find themselves asking the question... just how far would I go for my family? What would I be willing to sacrifice in my own life? Michaels does a fantastic job of allowing the reader to question her logic and her story.

The hook for Rye is obviously his loyalty to those he loves. He is the epitome of a Regency hero. Good looking, passionate and not about to let his mother and sister take the fall for something he could prevent. He is honorable and will appeal to that sense of justice that readers have. But, no one character in this book is left feeling distant or flimsy. Michaels gives the reader the right balance of information and pulls it all together by shifting the point of view throughout the book to show the story as one continuing tale. It is smooth and effortless and Michaels proves why she is so highly regarded in historical romance circles. This is certainly not something that is easy to pull off without it seeming jerky and disjointed.

I don't usually mention little things like cover art and character name choices in my reviews but I feel like i must comment on a couple of things with this book. The cover art is absolutely gorgeous! Now I don't usually judge a book by it's cover, but it has to be interesting enough to make me want to turn it over and read the blurb. This cover is rich and deep and full of passion. I think it really reflects the essence of the novel. I also found myself liking the names that the author chose for her characters. She stayed within the realm of what was considered fashionable for Regency England yet she continued the theme of richness with her names. Rye was an especially interesting name and Miranda is one of my all time favorites. Michels just seemed to have a plan with this book and she executed it very well.

Just One Season in London is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag! One of my favorites of the year so far!

Leigh Michaels is the author of nearly 100 books, including 80 contemporary novels and more than a dozen non-fiction books. More than 35 million copies of her romance novels have been published by Harlequin. A six time RITA finalist, she has also received two Reviewer's Choice awards from Romantic Times, and was the 2003 recipient of the Johnson Brigham Award. She is the author of On Writing Romance, published in January 2007 by Writers Digest Books. Leigh also teaches romance writing on the Internet at Gotham Writers' Workshop. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa.