Sunday, October 3, 2010

Random Romance Sunday: To Italy, With Love

The Book: Night Of Fire by Barbara Samuel

The Particulars:
Historical romance, Avon, 2000, Out of Print, A sequel to Black Angel

The Blurb:

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...

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.

Is It In Wendy's TBR?: Nope. But man oh man, I'm so tempted....

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....

5 comments:

JamiSings said...

Oh I hate it when series are never finished. Even though I gave up on her, I'm still ticked at Anne Rice for never continuing with her series about Ramses. It's one thing if the author dies but if they're still around and they never complete it....

Hey Wendy, feel free to kick me for being totally off topic now, but since we both work for the same library system. I'm going to be in OC Idol - it's a United Way Fundraiser, you should've gotten an e-mail. Anyway last year I was the only Library person there. It's going to be at the same address where we went for CAPS+ training, but in building 10, Board Hearing Room. First round is November 3rd. If you're off and don't mind sacrificing an hour. It's $5 to get in and if you want to buy extra votes they're $5 apiece. So you don't get to the next round by being talented but by how much money you raise for the UW.

I'm going to see if anyone at my branch wants to come as well. I wasn't sure though if anyone at any other branches wanted to come or were pariticpating this year. It was rather lonely being the only library person there. They made a big deal out of it.

Phyl said...

I like the sound of this one. Sadly, no Kindle ed. yet, but happily, my library has 2 (two!) copies of it. Frankly, that's unusual for a 10-yr-old MMP. I reserved it. Thanks!

Leslie said...

Not crazy about the hero's name, but I do like the setting. And Ms. Giggles gave it a 95! Holy smokes! Heading to UBS tomorrow & will look for both this & The Black Angel.

Looking at the author's websites, there's potential for a major gloaming between the 3 pen names if you like her writing. Thanks for featuring this one.

Alie said...

lmao Basilio? What kind of name is that?

Also random lol: Blogger gave me the word 'nostrap' to type for word verification. I'm so juvenile sometimes ;)

Wendy said...

Jami: Sometimes it's the publisher who pulls the plug - especially if sales aren't all that great. I wonder if Ramses got the ax because Rice's publisher wanted more Lestat? Hmmm....

And I'll definitely try to make it on November 3. I work that day, so I can't promise anything....but I'll see what I can do!

Phyl: That is unusual! Let me know how it is. My library does not have it, but I have a bazillion credits over at Paperback Swap :)

Leslie: I know I have some of her Ruth Wind titles in my TBR. It was the setting of this one that caught my eye.

Alie: It's sexy, and Italian! LOL