Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reading a Whirlwind

Santos was supposed to be here today.

That's Santos Cordero the hero of Cordero's Forced Bride. He was supposed to be playing his part in the Here Come the Grooms Contest as the Groom in question in that book (the groom twice over in fact as the book starts with what is supposed to be his marriage to someone else). So he was supposed to be here telling you all about what happened and how he ended up not marrying that bride and being someone else's groom instead. He was looking forward to it too - but then he's been feeling pretty smug for the last week or so. Ever since he discovered that the ebook version of his story has been at #1 on the eHarlequin ebook bestseller list and the print book is in the Top 10 Bestsellers on ths site and as I write this they both still are.

So Santos was quite happy to come and tell you a bit about himself. He was even going to sort out Nick Jago - the Groom from Liz Fielding's book who has been taking the mick out of him and PJ (Anne McAllister's groom) over on Liz's blog.

But things change. And Santos is going to have to wait his turn. I thought he might be peeved by this, seeing as it's that Nick Jago I want to talk about. But that #1 slot has made him pretty happy - and being married to 'the right Montague daughter' has made him even happier. So he's let me have the blog today.

Things have changed because life happened last night - well, in the early hours of this morning. Yesterday I must have eaten something that - er - disagreed with me and, let's just say that the early hours of the morning were not pleasant and . . .well, I don't need to go into details. Suffice it to say that when the Magnet got up to leave for work, doing the same was the last thing I felt like and so I took a therapeutic rest - and stayed where I was with a book for company.

Now I have a confession to make. Liz Fielding sent me a copy of her Wedded in A Whirlwind back in November when the book actually came out. I wanted to read it then but life, book revisions, Christmas etc all got in the way. Then yesterday Anne McAllister were talking about the Here Come the Grooms Contest and I thought that I had better read Liz's (and N Jago's ) book so that I knew what I was talking about. So Liz's book was the one I picked up this morning.

And I don't think I could have picked up a better read to distract me from the miserable way I was feeling. I've read quite a few books recently - many of them romances - and I'll admit that some of them have been a disappointment to me. Not that they are bad books - just not books that didn't work for me at all. It's a problem with the job. Sometimes hard to lose yourself in a romance and not start editing it or critiquing it as you read.

No such problem with Liz's book. As soon as I read the first few pages, I was hooked and once 'Nick Jago slid onto a stool . . .' I didn't want to put the book down until I'd finished it. I read on and on . . .

If the Liz Fielding books you know (and probaly love) are her light and lovely, witty romances then this book will surprise you. But then if you've read The Bride's Baby or The Marriage Miracle you'll be aware of the wonderful talent she has for taking your heart in her words and twisting it till you hurt - but you wouldn't want it any other way. So don't let the lovely - but way too light-hearted and pretty image on the cover decive you. This is no soft-centre romance but a book that takes its hero and heroine on a heartfelt emotional journey that changes them for ever.

Trapped in the dark, certain she's about to die, Miranda Grenville believes things can't get worse. She's wrong. She's trapped with Nick Jago...

Miranda is a survivor. Her rare beauty masks the scars of an emotionally deprived childhood and self-destructive youth; the protective barriers she’s built against hurt.

Desperate to escape a surfeit of “happy ever after” family events, be alone for a while, she grabs a flight to the remote island paradise of Cordillera where “alone” takes on a terrifying new meaning when an earthquake hits.

Trapped deep underground in the total darkness of an ancient temple, her first encounter with an embittered Nick Jago is not promising but to escape they must co-operate and as they embark on a life-changing journey towards the light their protective layers are peeled away, every truth revealed. But once free will they go their separate ways or will that very special bond of trust lead to something more lasting?

I'll admit that when I knew that WIAW had Miranda Grenville as its heroine I was a bit concerned. Remembering her from Reunited: Marriage in A Million, I wondered just how Liz would take this spiky, at times difficult to like woman and turn her into a sympathetic, appealing heroine. I needn't have worried. Manda reveals her true vulnerable and lovable self to the reader just as she does to the wonderfully sexy archaeologist Nick Jago - Indiana Jones with deep wells of strength, understanding and vulnerability himself. And yet at the same time she keeps the very real parts of herself that make her essentially the woman we read about in the first book, but now understand why they are there.

One of my favourite romances was a book by Day Leclaire - unfortunately I can't recall the name of it now - that begins with the hero and heroine trapped in a lift when the elecrticity has failed and they can't even see each other. I was impressed by the way that the attraction, the start of the relationship developed so well in spipte of/because of the fact that they couldn't see each other. In Day's book this lasts for almost three chapters. Liz manages this feat for very nearly ten chapters. In many ways, the 'action' is almost non-existent - trapped underground, Manda and Nick try to find a way out of their captivity. But the emotional 'action' is huge, deeply involving and absorbing. As a reader I was hooked, caring about these two wounded characters, wanting to see them edge closer, learn more about each other, open up to each other, The mere hours covered by the first ten chapters or so cover the growth of an emotional lifetime. And as a writer I was full of admiration for the ability that made those hours pass in such a 'whirlwind' of emotion.

I have always been a fan of the way that Liz Fielding writes, but this book added a new depth to my admiration of her as a writer. I'm really proud to have my book offered as a prize in a joint contest with such a wonderful story as Wedded in A Whirlwind. I'm only sorry that I got to reading it so late instead of in November when it first came out so that I could encourage you all to go and buy it, read it - and enjoy it.

You still can of course. It's still available on Amazon.co.uk. or .com. On the Mills & Boon site or eharlequin as a print or an ebook. If you're one of the three lucky winners of the Here Come the Grooms Contest then you'll get your own signed copy of this great book. And if you don't, then put Wedded in A Whirlwind on your list for the next time you go book shoppping.

If this book doesn't end up on some award shortlists in 2009 then I'll be very very suprised.

So to have a chance to win enter the Here Come the Grooms contest now - details are on the Contest page of my web site.
Closing date is January 21st

Next I'm going to read Antonides' Forbidden Bride . . . Poor Santos may have to wait even longer for his chance to post!


Anne McAllister said...

Well, I can see I'm going to have to read Wedded in a Whirlwind -- and the sooner the better. My copy is on its way from Amazon even as I write this. And I'll make PJ read it, too. Maybe he'll change his opinion of Jago!

Anonymous said...

Hope you're feeling better, Kate?

I haven't read one of Liz's for a while - been reading newer authors to keep up with what the eds are buying and have been missing out on some of my favourite authors' books. Thanks for the recommendation; I know if you loved it, I will so had to dash over to the M&B website and get the e-book!

Sue Child

Nick said...

Hi Kate. I hope you're feeling a little better this morning.

I dropped by because think I may have ruffled a few feathers with my comments on Liz's blog.

Santos dropped by and assured me that he's found the right woman and despite the fact that PJ inferred that I'm a drunk -- not true, I'm not that dumb -- he made me laugh so much that I've forgiven him.

Kate, you're a star and I'm glad you came to love Manda as much as I do. Once you crack through the protective coating she's got a heart as big as a house. Belle, smart woman, recognised that before anyone else. It took a close encounter with eternity before Manda could see it for herself. But that goes for both of us.


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