March 2008, European Historical Romance (Regency England)
Avon, $5.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0061231371 Part of a series
What makes a good romance? In my opinion, it must have plenty of angst and emotion. If it stays on my mind after I read it, then I know the author created something special. And it must be about characters I can admire or at least come to admire. Is it perfect? Do the characters do what you want them to? No, of course not – I’m not the author. But, to this reader, Sophia Nash’s The Kiss is a wonderful story of unrequited love.
Throughout childhood, Quinn, Georgiana, and Anthony were inseparable and the bond between them grew as they did. After a terrible accident, the trio is divided; Quinn Fortesque, the orphaned nephew of the Marquis of Ellesmere, is blamed and banished. Anthony Fortesque, the heir to Ellesmere, is jealously in love. Georgiana Wilde, the steward’s daughter, is now deformed and missing the one person she loves without question.
Years later, Georgiana finally consents to marry Anthony and is shocked when he dies on their wedding night. Though she claims they are truly married, some are in doubt and question her right to live at Penrose. Georgiana doesn’t want the title, but Penrose is the only home she has ever known.
Upon Anthony’s death, Quinn becomes the Marquis of Ellesmere and one of his duties (though he’s put it off) is to straighten out the questions regarding the current Marchioness of Ellesmere, whom he has avoided for many years. Once he travels to Penrose, he knows that Georgiana is not the character his aunt makes her out to be. She is, instead, hardworking, plainspoken, and one of the very few people Quinn has ever trusted. He realizes that he owes it to her and all they ever meant to each other to see Georgianna and her family properly settled. He also finds that his trip to Penrose is the perfect opportunity to find a worthy companion for himself and a capable mother for his nine year-old daughter.
Once Quinn returns, Georgiana is forced to confront her emotions. At a critical moment, Georgiana admits her feelings to Quinn. His reaction forces her to realize that for her own emotional security, she must make some drastic changes. Misunderstandings and past injustices make Quinn close himself off to deep feelings and he believes that he simply wants companionship – something he may be able to find with Georgiana’s good friend, Grace.
From the prologue until the very end, I was captivated by Nash’s story. Georgiana is strong, willing to take chances, and able to move on. Quinn is honorable and one whose actions speak much louder than words. I found the circumstances of their relationship and actions (and those of others involved) most touching and heartbreaking. The secondary characters, though stereotypical, are entertaining and add favorably to the story. However, I must warn that there are a few of the clichéd elements of romance involved in the story, yet they did not bother me or detract from the story.
If you enjoy stories of unrequited love, or even a romance with a love triangle, then I can certainly recommend The Kiss. It is an emotionally intense romance that I still think about and will assuredly read again…and again.
-- Heather Brooks
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