Monday, March 28, 2011
Thunder and Roses by Mary Jo Putney
Those of us who are fans of historical romance know that over the past decade, the genre has been flooded with so many books that it’s hard to find anything unique, and in fact, there are many times you can predict exactly which naive but curious little chit will be ruined by what scandalous event that will take place at precisely the stroke of midnight – or shortly thereafter because the rake/rogue/libertine is almost always late. Well, you get the idea. Fortunately, while there was some predictability to Thunder and Roses, Ms. Putney also gave us plenty of unique events and characters so that I found this story fresh and out of the ordinary. Skinny dipping with penguins in an English estate pond in the springtime? You’re not going to find that in many historical romance novels.
This story begins when Clare, a Methodist school teacher from the village, comes to Nicholas and asks for help improving the dismal lives of his tenants, but Nicholas, bitter from years of rejection and a horrible betrayal, could care less about what they need. He doesn’t want to be there, doesn’t want to deal with anything, let alone someone else’s problems, but Clare won’t be dissuaded. So what’s a heartless rake to do? He makes her an offer he’s certain she’ll refuse: Come live with him for 90 days, and he’ll do whatever Clare thinks is needed to make the village and the lives of its inhabitants better. And while sex isn’t part of the bargain, she has to pretend to be his Mistress and allow him one kiss per day at a time and place of his choosing.
Clare knows that to accept Nicholas’ terms will ruin her reputation, but the people need help and she has enough faith in her friends and the other villagers to believe that they’ll never scorn or judge her once she explains the situation, so, much to Nicholas’ dismay, she accepts his ruinous offer, certain that she can’t be seduced by his kisses.
There were many things that I found entertaining about this story, but I’m not going to go into details other than to say it was interesting to see what life in an English coal mine was like and to learn about the hazards of the job and the technological advances that made the mines a much safer place to work.
Overall, despite one painfully obvious and less than climatic event at the end of the story, I really enjoyed Thunder and Roses.
Posted by Blithely Bookish at 2:16 PM