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Long's Notorious Countess Confesses
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Tinabelle



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 875
Location: SE Wisconsin

PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
I forgot to mention in my earlier post that I did have a bit of a "you're kidding me" reaction to names in ANCC: a somewhat religion-centered story with the h/h named Adam and Eve?


LOL! Laughing This is too funny! The names just didn't register w/me until you pointed this out. The book is still in my TBR pile but this image will definitely stay w/me when I read it.
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Megancita75



Joined: 03 Jul 2012
Posts: 2
Location: United States

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also picked up on hints that Adam had some supernatural healing power in the previous books, and expected that his own story would at least reference that. I found it very strange (and dissapointing) to not see it mentioned here, and I wonder if its absence was the author's decision or the publisher's.

Regardless, I appreciate Ms. Long's writing and story-crafting skills, and how I never know quite what to expect from her (other than a reliably emotional and character-driven tale).
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Jane A



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 761
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Megancita75 wrote:
I also picked up on hints that Adam had some supernatural healing power in the previous books, and expected that his own story would at least reference that. I found it very strange (and dissapointing) to not see it mentioned here, and I wonder if its absence was the author's decision or the publisher's.


I just finished this book and loved it! Definitely one of my favorite Pennyroyal Green books. The anti-climactic ending was a little bit of a disappointment, as all their previously "insurmountable" problems just seemed to float away. But I still was impressed enough with the bulk of it that I gave it an A.

Regarding Adam's healing powers, I think they are alluded to when Adam sat at Henny's bedside. She was cured from her terrible cold, which had been lingering for quite awhile.
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desiderata



Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 226

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SPOLIERS AHEAD ......





Regarding Adam's healing power -- I also thought he healed Henny. My memory is that she had more than a cold, Eve was very worried about her and afraid she might die. Although the final church scene was somewhat saccharine, my take on it is Adam had made his choice and made it clear he would choose Eve over being the pastor of their church. The congregation knew Eve and had seen her many good qualities, so they capitulated. Rather than lose Adam, they accepted Eve.
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Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1454

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the ending showed the power of religion and of a good minister, plus the women's fascination with Evie and that she had won them over.

Although I can understand some people finding the ending unbelievable, I'm pretty willing, if the author supplies enough grounding, to accept just about anything. After all, I like paranormals. And I can also see why some people might think it was anticlimactic, but for me, the ending was perfect.
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 741
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

{spoilers} I would agree with desiderata that Henny's illness was a serious one involving a fever, which could lead to death. Adam saves her life and this act references back to the previous novel that also implies Adam's healing gifts. But there isn't any further explanation/discussion for this event which seems a missed opportunity here to develop a side of Adam's character that's pretty remarkable. Given that this isn't a paranormal book, some reaction from others seems warranted. I read the ending too as the community accepting Adam and his choice for a wife and perhaps some acceptance of Evie based on the goodness others saw in her. Again, I think more could have been done to pave the way for such acceptance given that it comes quickly on the heels of a near complete shut out of her. So, in that respect the ending feels a bit rushed to me. I would have liked to have had one or two more scenes that could develop the Pennyroyal Green's communal change of heart.
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Islandgirl2



Joined: 14 Nov 2010
Posts: 282

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just wanted to say can't wait to read this one I am a new fan of Julie Ann Long's since reading What I did for a Duke.

Thoroughly enjoyed that one. Had no problem with the age difference. I find that it depends on the personality/intellect/banter of the couple for their to be an issue. If the character behaves childish and begins a romance with an older man then I don't like it. But if the character is mature matches wits and other more important matters with their mate no issue whatsoever.

Anyway looking forward to the latest for it's good reviews.
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Jane A



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 761
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Possible Spoilers..


Blackjack1 wrote:
{spoilers} I read the ending too as the community accepting Adam and his choice for a wife and perhaps some acceptance of Evie based on the goodness others saw in her. Again, I think more could have been done to pave the way for such acceptance given that it comes quickly on the heels of a near complete shut out of her. So, in that respect the ending feels a bit rushed to me. I would have liked to have had one or two more scenes that could develop the Pennyroyal Green's communal change of heart.


Yes, the fact that it feels rushed is perhaps what made me feel it was anti-climactic. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy the acceptance of Evie, it just seemed to happen so suddenly.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1150

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boy, I liked everything about this book except for the on-going, egregious editing errors which also plagued the author's last book. Geez, even someone who can write so well needs some backup. If Avon isn't providing adequate editing, Long needs to hire her own. Very annoying for such terrific books. That said...

I loved the simple rural setting for a change.

I loved the main characters at seemingly opposite ends of the social moral spectrum, and the same tension between the townspeople vs Henny and the elder lady as supporting characters for Eve and Adam. Four characters living by their own lights.

I thought Adam was a minister I'd like to know, a caring, hard-working human who did his best with people and his own humanity. The supernatural element never entered it for me. And I loved Evie for being her own person, playing the hand she was dealt.

Although the ending was a bit theatrical, I enjoyed it immensely, solving the tensions of the supposing opposites. I had thought Adam would've had to leave town to have Evie but was pleasantly surprised by the town turnaround which was prepared for in hindsight and a satisfying HEA if unlikely IRL.

I like what the book does with appearances, judgment, social mores and being true to one's own self. The use of pillows was pitch perfect. Also, preserves. Wink

The initial scene with Evie at the Flaherty's is a favorite and I loved the family in church at the end.

As for Long's writing skills, I think she has been terrific all along; it just depends on the reader's impression or taste IMO. I'm not a fan of hearing that a writer is improving or declining; I don't think that can be determined usually by single reads of single books here and there over time for most. JMO.
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 741
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliza:
Quote:
I'm not a fan of hearing that a writer is improving or declining; I don't think that can be determined usually by single reads of single books here and there over time for most. JMO.


In my own academic work I'm not that inclined toward author-centric analysis though I know fine critics who do interesting work in this area. There is validity though to looking at the body of a writer's work and noting trends, even if that validity is just for yourself, and the overall worthiness of the critiques really depends on what sorts of compelling evidence one can produce to support such an analysis. So, I suppose as with all writing it really depends if you can make your case. I agree that trying to make generalizations without having a broad knowledge of the majority of an author's work probably isn't very compelling. For Long, I have noticed certain trends in her writing over the years as she seems to be a writer interested in women with repressed passionate natures and heroes with "reputations" that are inwardly kind but need a loving and committed relationship to make a change. I wondered if this trend applies to Long's most recent work too as the gender dynamic is flipped here and it's the woman with the "reputation" and the man has to locate and accept his passionate side, even if it means confronting social outrage and disapproval. I suppose too that noting trends in a writer can help a reader decide whether an author's style or proclivities in terms of storytelling lead them to want to read more (or less) of that author's work. For example, I used to like Linda Howard and have noticed over the years that her books no longer appeal to me because of a variety of changes she's made. There are a few other authors I'm keeping my eye on as well as writers I may no longer "auto-buy" if trends continue.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1150

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Blackjack1: I really appreciate your post and don't disagree with the points you made at all. I would like to add some clarity to what I said, though--all too quickly--and base it on what you said so well.

Quote:
the overall worthiness of the critiques really depends on what sorts of compelling evidence one can produce to support such an analysis. So, I suppose as with all writing it really depends if you can make your case. I agree that trying to make generalizations without having a broad knowledge of the majority of an author's work probably isn't very compelling.

Exactly. My basic initial posting was in response to reviews that seem to use improved writing as a tossed in expression without evidence, or that the reviewer has studied the author's work in a comprehensive way. A reviewer may say whatever s/he wishes, of course, but if it's unsupported, it can come off as either uninformed or even arrogant at times to me.

Quote:
I suppose too that noting trends in a writer can help a reader decide whether an author's style or proclivities in terms of storytelling lead them to want to read more (or less) of that author's work. For example, I used to like Linda Howard and have noticed over the years that her books no longer appeal to me because of a variety of changes she's made.

Exactly again. I too follow trends to see if I want to continue with an author, including Linda Howard, who I still think is an accomplished writer but one who goes into areas I no longer wish to follow. I'm obviously making a distinction between writing skill vs story line trends, issues addressed, and the like.

Quote:
There are a few other authors I'm keeping my eye on as well as writers I may no longer "auto-buy" if trends continue.

Me too. I eventually stopped reading Julia Quinn but I'm giving Suzanne Enoch another go after a hiatus. And so on.

Quote:
In my own academic work I'm not that inclined toward author-centric analysis though I know fine critics who do interesting work in this area. There is validity though to looking at the body of a writer's work

I do like looking at the body of an author's work myself, in romance and in classics, and I am interested in serious studies at times. When I find an author I like, I nearly always try to read everything I can get my hands on by that author, not to rank or rate his/hers work but to get to know that author, to see or feel his/hers world view, an overview on how they express themselves. A bigger picture.

And even when there is a generally accepted ranking of an author's work by general readers or academic critics, it's not always unanimous. For romance, many readers think Loretta Chase's best is Lord of Scoundrels (or Kindsale's is Petals in the Storm), but there are plenty who prefer other works. Same with Dickens; while Bleak House is considered his masterwork, I vary between David Copperfield and Little Dorrit as faves while a good friend stands firmly behind the unfinished Edwin Drood.

Again, the distinction for me is between actual writing achievement versus story telling, trends, and personal tastes.
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jaime



Joined: 23 Sep 2011
Posts: 520

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blackjack1 wrote:
Eliza:
Quote:
I'm not a fan of hearing that a writer is improving or declining; I don't think that can be determined usually by single reads of single books here and there over time for most. JMO.


In my own academic work I'm not that inclined toward author-centric analysis though I know fine critics who do interesting work in this area. There is validity though to looking at the body of a writer's work and noting trends, even if that validity is just for yourself, and the overall worthiness of the critiques really depends on what sorts of compelling evidence one can produce to support such an analysis. So, I suppose as with all writing it really depends if you can make your case. I agree that trying to make generalizations without having a broad knowledge of the majority of an author's work probably isn't very compelling. For Long, I have noticed certain trends in her writing over the years as she seems to be a writer interested in women with repressed passionate natures and heroes with "reputations" that are inwardly kind but need a loving and committed relationship to make a change. I wondered if this trend applies to Long's most recent work too as the gender dynamic is flipped here and it's the woman with the "reputation" and the man has to locate and accept his passionate side, even if it means confronting social outrage and disapproval. I suppose too that noting trends in a writer can help a reader decide whether an author's style or proclivities in terms of storytelling lead them to want to read more (or less) of that author's work. For example, I used to like Linda Howard and have noticed over the years that her books no longer appeal to me because of a variety of changes she's made. There are a few other authors I'm keeping my eye on as well as writers I may no longer "auto-buy" if trends continue.


For me when I stop enjoying an author it's usually because of burn-out: I have read too many in a row and have become aware of and tired of the tropes the writer uses. This happened to me with Ann Stuart and I had to go on a break. Or when a writer changes something significant about their writing - like Liz Carlyle did, I don't enjoy her recent books at all.
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 741
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliza wrote:
Quote:
"And even when there is a generally accepted ranking of an author's work by general readers or academic critics, it's not always unanimous. For romance, many readers think Loretta Chase's best is Lord of Scoundrels (or Kindsale's is Petals in the Storm), but there are plenty who prefer other works. Same with Dickens; while Bleak House is considered his masterwork, I vary between David Copperfield and Little Dorrit as faves while a good friend stands firmly behind the unfinished Edwin Drood."


Yes, I agree that there can definitely be disagreement in terms of which books represent an author's best work, most mature work, most anything, etc. Generally, if a particular book receives lots of attention, critical or popular, and I'm interested in that author, I'll make the time to read the work that generates so much attention so that I'm familiar with it and can compare it to the authors' others. The books you mention, Flowers from the Storm and Lord of Scoundrels do seem to be key novels from Kincaid and Chase respectively, and though they may not be everyone's personal favorites, I would definitely think that readers interested in those two authors would benefit from tackling them at some point. I just read Balogh's The Secret Pearl to see what all the fuss was about, and I was left bewildered as to why it's so popular, or even why it's considered a great romance. (Re: Dickens -- my vote goes to the brilliant Bleak House, followed quickly by Great Expectations! My department requires me to teach GE frequently but BH is my own personal favorite, though considered by dept. chair to be far too long and unwieldy for today's undergrads. Oh, well...).
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jaime



Joined: 23 Sep 2011
Posts: 520

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finished this one today. Really liked the heroine, I found her interesting beyond the hooker with a heart of gold trope. About the HEA and how "realistic" or unrealistic it was - I think aristocrats could get away with a lot back then and since the heroine had married into the aristocracy that would count for a lot of tolerance if not goodwill from all.

Very Happy Accepting HEAs in a lot of romances always requires some suspension of disbelief from me personally. On my more cynical days I always wonder when one of those rake heroes who's gotten his HEA with the magical vagina heroine of his choice will get bored with said magical vagina and take a mistress. You know after she pops out a few babies and gains weight and stretch marks. Or I wonder why the promiscuous hero hasn't gotten Syphilis even though he shagged most of the female population of London.

Very Happy Really, realistic thinking not my friend when I am reading romances.

There was one thing very strange about this book. My copy had a lot of mistakes. Considering this is not a self-published novel and Long is a name author I found that shocking.
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Nicole M.



Joined: 20 Dec 2008
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just finished this one yesterday. As usual with Long's books, I raced through it, and loved the humor she integrated throughout. I found both the hero and the heroine to be very likeable, and the side characters--especially Henny and Lady Fennimore--were engaging. The ending was very satisfying, imo, and tied things up nicely.

**Spoilerish ahead regarding Olivia in this book:**



One thing that I found frustrating was where Long appears to be going with Olivia/Lyon. I read one of her responses about these two in a chat, and she indicated that in her mind, if they were to get a book it would have to be the last in the series because it would mark the end of the Eversea/Redmond feud. I don't really agree with her there, but that comment and what happened with Olivia in this book makes me wonder if she's not ultimately going to reunite these two.
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