Only In Your Arms by Tracy Cozzens was originally published by The Romance Reader in 2000. Back then I rated in 5-Hearts (A grade) with an "R" sensuality content rating (oh boy, times have changed - take that R rating with a grain of salt me thinks).
In 1601 London, Marcus Sinclair is just another actor working with
William Shakespeare when a friend asks him for a very big favor. Lord
Richard Langsforth is determined to marry Lady Judith Ashton, but
despite his attempts at wooing her, Lady Judith is betrothed to the
despicable Viscount Mowbray, a man who has been through four wives
already. So Richard asks Marcus to rescue Lady Judith and return her to
the Langsforth estate so they can marry.
However, there are a few flaws in the plan. For one thing, Marcus finds
himself entranced with Judith and must fight his growing attraction.
After all, he’s a lowly actor, she’s the only daughter of a baron, not
to mention that his best friend wants to marry her!
On top of all this, Lady Judith is reluctant to disobey her father.
While the thought of marrying the Viscount turns her stomach, she was
raised to honor her father. She certainly can’t just run off and marry
an Earl’s son that she vaguely remembers. But Marcus’ pleas for her
safety, and his haunting gray eyes, help Judith realize that maybe true
love isn’t just for fairy tales.
And that’s just the first seven chapters. What happens in the remaining
sixteen? Will Marcus convince Judith to leave her father and her
doomed betrothal? Will she marry Lord Richard? Will Marcus and Judith
find happiness with each other in a society ruled by class, nobility and
Only in Your Arms is emotionally draining and satisfying all at
once. There’s something for every reader within its pages, whether it be
plot, character development or atmosphere, this story has it in spades.
Tracy Cozzens should be commended for her wonderful character
development and plot pacing. All of the main characters are wonderfully
complex, with good and bad qualities. One minute I was disgusted by
their behavior, the next I was cheering them on. Because of this, they
felt distinctly real to me, and I became invested in their struggles.
And what struggles they have! The action in this story is never ending.
Whether it be wrestling with their emotions, or running towards
freedom, there is no down time. The main characters must face one
challenge after another.
But what ultimately sealed this book in 5 Heart glory was Audrey,
Judith’s outspoken and fearless maid. Her story alone could easily have
found its way into another novel, but by weaving her tale in with
Marcus and Judith, Cozzens gives readers two great romances for the
price of one.
Only in Your Arms has everything a great Shakespearean romance
should -- tragedy, comedy, star-crossed lovers, betrayal, conspiracies,
and Elizabethan intrigue. Cozzens is definitely a rising star to
Wendy Looks Back: Yet another book I have no recall on, but obviously back in 2000 (and this was early days in my stint with TRR...) I really loved this book. What I do I recall? This won the RWA Golden Heart in 1998 for Best Unpublished Long Historical manuscript and after reading this book I decided that being assigned by my editor to review Golden Heart winners was not a bad thing. By and large? Even if the book isn't my personal cup o' tea - a Golden Heart winner is sure to at least be a competently written book.
Cozzens wrote several more books for Kensington but seems to have vanished off the Internet map. Where oh where are you Ms. Cozzens? Also, this book is out of print and is not available for purchase as an ebook. If you'd like to read other reviews before going used bookstore hunting (you know, like in the olden days...) - All About Romance gave this one a B+ and Mrs. Giggles gave it high marks, albeit with some quibbles.