Publication Date: 08/05/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Historical Romance
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Sherry Thomas on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Excerpt from, My Beautiful Enemy, courtesy of the author's website
In this spellbinding romance by the acclaimed author of The Luckiest Lady in London, a beautiful and cunning woman meets her match in a man just as dangerous and seductive as she is, putting both her heart and her future at risk…
Hidden beneath Catherine Blade’s uncommon beauty is a daring that matches any man’s. Although this has taken her far in the world, she still doesn’t have the one thing she craves: the freedom to live life as she chooses. Finally given the chance to earn her independence, who should be standing in her way but the only man she’s ever loved, the only person to ever betray her.
Despite the scars Catherine left him, Captain Leighton Atwood has never been able to forget the mysterious girl who once so thoroughly captivated him. When she unexpectedly reappears in his life, he refuses to get close to her. But he cannot deny the yearning she reignites in his heart.
Their reunion, however, plunges them into a web of espionage, treachery, and deadly foes. With everything at stake, Leighton and Catherine are forced to work together to find a way out. If they are ever to find safety and happiness, they must first forgive and learn to trust each other again…
Author Sherry Thomas brings readers the first book in a new series, My Beautiful Enemy. A tale about long lost love, with an exotic locale. Thomas is arguably one of the best authors in the historical romance genre and readers need only look to her engaging and memorable characters to see why. This book combines romance with strong historical detail and a touch of mystery that will have readers glued to their seats. A nice way to start a new series!
What I liked:
Sherry Thomas is one of those authors that will have readers enthralled from the first page of her books. Her books resonate with readers. She has an innate ability to write what historical romance readers want to read. There is something about her writing that makes it seem so much more than the typical writing of this genre. I haven't decided exactly what it is, but I think it has a lot to do with characterization.
In My Beautiful Enemy readers meet two characters who share a past. Catherine and Leighton, met and fell in love, a long time ago, in a far off land. As is the case in a lot of historical romances, things went awry and they were separated by fate, misunderstanding and circumstances beyond their immediate control. When they meet again, the sparks still fly. What I liked about how Thomas writes these two characters would fill up a whole review by itself.
Catherine is intriguing from the git-go. She is an operative working for her step-father. She is no-nonsense, strong, and understands the meaning of loyalty. Her background was so interesting and unusual. Leighton was a spy when they first met and to say things got a bit out of hand with his mission is an understatement. I loved his fierce sense of justice and his ability to forgive, even the face of suspected betrayal. But it was really something in how Thomas writes their emotions and feelings that made this one so memorable. Both are great characters that actually start out in the prequel to this book called, The Hidden Blade.
I loved the setting for this one. Though the action in the story in the here and now takes place in London, readers are treated to flashbacks from Cathrine and Leighton's past that took place in China. That is a not a setting that I often see in historical romance and it was very intriguing. I would definitely like to see more romances set in places other than London. Thomas sets a great example of how to make a setting take on so much significance that it becomes a character in itself.
What I didn't like:
I love this author for a lot of reasons. Her stories are complex and interesting. Her characters are not soon forgotten and her plots have a sophistication that is sometimes missing in the genre. She has a great knack for writing the historical details of her books and for using elements of mystery and intrigue to add to the mix. Unfortunately, I think she had a little too much going on in this novel. She not only had a ton of historical detail in her setting but she also added a mystery to this one and in so doing, a little bit of the romance got lost in the details. Her characterizations were strong and I loved Catherine and Leighton together, but there just wasn't as much passion or romantic moments as I would have liked. Too much emphasis on the background took something away from the main part of the story, the love between the two main characters.
This book has a lot going for it. Though it may not be my favorite from this author, because the romance took a backseat to everything else, it is definitely worth the read. Sherry Thomas is a wonderful author who even on an off day, or an off book, can still outshine many others in the genre. Great characters and setting, but too much other stuff.
My Beautiful Enemy is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed historical romance authors writing today, winning the RITA Award two years running, and appearing on innumerable "Best of the Year" lists, including those of Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Dear Author, and All About Romance. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and sons.
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