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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ARC Review: Evangeline Collins - Seven Nights To Forever

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade; Original edition (November 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425236838
ISBN-13: 978-0425236833
Purchase at: Book Depository

Cover Summary:
She offered him one week of pleasure. No more and no less...

Some sacrifices are more difficult than others. Left destitute after her father's death, Rose Marlowe has debts to settle and a younger brother to support. But she also possesses an unmatched beauty-one that could command quite a price...

Now, every month, Rose secretly travels from her country home to spend one week at a decadent London brothel, where she's become a sought-after prize. Elegant and accomplished in the art of pleasure, she spends her nights fulfilling the fantasies of the gentlemen of the ton while denying the wish buried deep in her heart.

Then one night a wealthy merchant gentleman walks through her door. Handsome, kind and compassionate, with a lonely soul that matches her own, James Archer is not her usual client. Falling in love with a client, never mind a married one, is unthinkable. Yet Rose can't help but lose herself in his arms as one night becomes seven-and seven nights lead to a chance at forever...

My Review: James is stuck in an arranged marriage, void of love, compassion or even amiability. His hard working attitude hides a very lonely man and the only thing that makes this marriage worthwhile is his wife’s promise to introduce his sister to the bon ton of London during the season. Still, after three long years of being honorable it turns a man starved for a bit of affection and kindness. James promises himself one night with a woman who does not loathe the sight of him and that choice brings him knocking on the door of Rose. Two lonely people meet and feel a magnetic pull neither of them expected.

With SEVEN NIGHTS TO FOREVER, Evangeline Collins delivers a heartwarming historical romance of a man trapped in a loveless marriage and unexpectedly finds a connection to another woman. Even though arranged marriages are very common in the time period of the story and even affairs for both women and men are conventional it is James who made the difference. For all intends and purposes he wanted to abide by his vow but his wife is a self absorbed nightmare of a woman. James might be emotion starved but that doesn’t mean he isn’t struggling with his actions of obtaining some kindness. I found it very easy to sympathize with James, he is a good man, works hard, cares for his family and treats people with respect. To opposite such a man to a dragon of a woman who is haughty, selfish and cold is perhaps an easy way to gain my support for James but it evoked the response nonetheless. Amelia as his wife is one of the reasons I could understand and accept James’ infidelity. A person can only take so much when deprived of even the barest hint of affection and the time period also gave leeway to such a story angle.

James is a character who was all around likable but Rose is right there with him. She’s taken care of her younger brother from the moment her father died and in those days there were very few options open to Rose. She chooses to become a high-priced courtesan for seven nights each month and so the opportunity rises for James and Rose to meet. Rose is everything Amelia is not, she loves the country, she’s kind, compassionate, is even willful at times and makes understandable choices. From the moment James is introduced to Rose there is plenty of tension between then. I would almost call it a refined eroticism, the passion is sizzling hot and frequent but the poignant way it is written curbs the act of sex play and adds the emotional depth to it. It is not only the erotic tension but also their emotional needs that resonate with each other and form a fragile bond of feelings and trust.

The challenges that lay ahead of them mainly revolved around their developing romance that could go no further due to James’ marriage. The problems give appropriate resistance delivering some inner struggles and emotion wrought scenes yet it weren’t insurmountable odds to overcome as the solution proved that. James and Rose need to make decisions and for them to come to certain conclusions was interesting to witness. The romance was moving and the sincerity of the characters made me care all the more about the outcome of it all.

Evangeline Collins manages to write a wonderful historical romance with just a handful of characters where the focus lies on the love, sensuality and interaction. If there is one secondary character, next to Amelia and Rebecca, who intrigued me to no end then it was the male prostitute, Timothy. With only a few scenes and some insightful comments coming from Timothy he becomes a colorful character who triggers my curiosity. His situation, as a male BDSM prostitute, begs for the unraveling of his back story though I wonder if this author would go there.

SEVEN NIGHTS TO FOREVER is a nice blend of a heart rendering romance, sensuality, sincere characters and easy flowing writing skills.  

Quote James struggling with Rose’s profession:
“I…” A furrow tightened his brow, his voice dropping to a grave rumble. “It’s hard sometimes knowing I won’t ever be your first anything. But I won’t let it come between us anymore. You have my word.”

How she wished he could have been her first everything. The first man who touched her, kissed her, made love to her. Her first and only. But none of that mattered. None had even come close to leaving a mark on her heart. “You’re the first man I have ever wanted to be with,” she confessed. The tight line of his mouth softened. The gravity left his eyes, the green depths warming with an emotion she should not date give name to. “Thank you,” he whispered, almost awed, as though she presented him with the rarest of treasures.


Fiction Vixen said...

Lovely review! I really enjoyed this one.

Aurian said...

Nice review Leontine! What an original story line.

VampFanGirl said...

Ooo yeah, Timothy. I wonder if Evangeline will write about him next...

Great review Leontine!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful review Leontine. I enjoyed this tale.

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