The Particulars: Historical romance, Avon, 2000, Out of Print, A sequel to Black Angel
Lady Cassandra St. Ives had sworn off marriage ever since becoming a happy widow, but lately her affections have been engaged by a mysterious, long distance correspondent. Cassandra has shared her soul with her far-off admirer, and when he invites her to visit his home she accepts the invitation gladly. Expecting a kindly of gentleman, Cassandra is stunned to find that Count Basilio Montevarchi is a virile man in his prime who knows her heart's most intimate desires--and is only too willng to fulfill every one...Is It In Wendy's TBR?: Nope. But man oh man, I'm so tempted....
The moment Basilio sets eyes on the vibrant beauty he recognizes a soul mate he will never be able to claim as his own. A long-standing betrothal--and the honor of his family--dictate that Basilio must deny himself Cassandra's love. Still they cannot deny the force of their passion until the confines of responsibility finally force them apart. Now Basilio must find a way to keep his heart's desire--before he loses her forever.
Any Reviews?: Yes, loads of them!
The Romance Reader gave this 4 Hearts (the equivalent to a B grade):
The author employs language invoking several senses - light, sound, smell, taste - in describing Cassandra’s awakening to love and carnal experience. This is one romance where the correct word to characterize the author’s use of language is “lush.” Tuscany is likely to undergo a new influx of tourists based on the descriptions in this book!All About Romance gave it a B+:
It's unusual for an historical romance to be set in Italy, and I very much appreciated the change of scenery. The first half of the book is drenched in the light and heat of Tuscany. Samuel is such a fine writer that you can almost feel the dust, smell the grapes growing, watch the sun go down in a blaze of fire. The contrast between this and the cold and gloom of an English autumn, where the story moves in the second half, serves to underscore the apparent impossibility of reconciling the two worlds the hero and heroine have known.And gird your loins - Mrs. Giggles gave this a 95!:
NOF may lack the usual Napoleon/Irish/Highland intrigue, and instead it just chooses to tell a love story thwarted by the lovers' own nobility and circumstances. It's a beautiful story, and the poeticism in the prose adds to the whole surreal enchantment of the larger-than-life romance that envelops me as well as the two lovers.Anything Else?: Assuming my research is correct, this appears to have been the last full-length historical that Samuel published, and it's part of (a probably now aborted) series about the St. Ives family. Incomplete series give us all a sad. That being said, Samuel is also known to category romance readers as Ruth Wind, and these days you can find her writing under the name Barbara O'Neal. In fact, it was a O'Neal title (The Lost Recipe Of Happiness) that won the 2010 RITA award for Best Novel With Strong Romantic Elements. So obviously the author is doing OK for herself, aborted historical series notwithstanding....
But sigh - Tuscany! A letter-writing romantic couple! So tempted....