Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Review: Laura Kinsale’s SEIZE THE FIRE - Masterful, Absorbing Storytelling

This was my first romance by Kinsale and I loved it. An intriguing, well-told tale of a tortured hero who must come to terms with his past, and a brave young woman who must face reality. Kinsale's dialog is snappy, her humor dry and fitting and the characters' inner thinking terribly witty and appropriate for the times. The twists and turns are clever and the angst believable. Very well done!

Set in England, the Falkland Islands, the Middle East and Europe, beginning in 1827, this is the story of Olympia, Princess of Oriens (located between France and Italy), who, as a result of her cruel uncle who killed her parents, is living in exile in England. Her one dream is to see her people free of the monarchy and endowed with a constitutional government, but she is young and naïve and has no idea how to bring that about. When she learns her uncle plans to make her his wife to gain the throne, she decides to travel to Rome to seek help in resisting such a marriage and then return to her country to bring about revolution. In furtherance of this objective, she enlists the aid of a dubious war hero, Captain Sir Sheridan Drake, a jaded rake, who unknown to Olympia, is being leaned on by the British War Department to marry her in order to cement England's control of her country and thwart her uncle's plans to rule. But Sheridan has plans of his own and he doesn't mind if Olympia gets hurt in the process.

Olympia is described as plump with non-classical features and overlarge green eyes (the overall picture a bit hard to conjure but generally not pleasing, though the hero seems to think she is beautiful and we come to believe she is, so go figure). She is also courageous and has good motives and you will like her in any event. She is also in love with Sheridan, which will cause her much pain before it's all over.

There is something for everyone here: a long ocean voyage, sea battles, castaways on an island, betrayal, treachery, loyalty, courage--and a love that overcomes great obstacles.

This story held my interest and kept me turning pages. I highly recommend it.

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