Saturday, August 14, 2010

REVIEW: The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne

ISBN 9780425235614
Genre: Historical Romance
(c) June 2010, Berkley Sensation

Rating: 5 stars

"A great story of adventure, romance, passion and courage in one of the most dangerous times in history"

I've read Joanna Bourne's first book, The Spymaster's Lady, and loved it. She has a way of writing that is fresh and unique among all the historical romance novels out there. Not only that, but she has the ability to write strong, complex characters and a love story that is able to transcend difficulties and overcome obstacles that would have felled lesser men.

However, when I heard that she'd written about Maggie and Doyle in The Forbidden Rose, I wasn't inclined to read it, for these two had appeared in the first book and I wasn't too impressed with them. I mean, they didn't leave much of an impression, as I was too busy being impressed with Annique and Grey, the lead characters. As should be. But when reviews extolled this book's virtues, I decided, what the hell. I might as well give it a try.

I wasn't disappointed.

Ms. Bourne held me in her grip from the first page all the way through to the end. She has a way with words that held you spellbound, and I would've read the book in one sitting in one day if time had permitted.

Ever read an opening chapter where the heroine was having a conversation with a rabbit and be intrigued and hooked by it? No? Then you haven't read The Forbidden Rose.

Marguerite de Fleurignac leads a dangerous double life as a French noblewoman and as the Finch, the leader of an organization that smuggles people out of France to safety during the French Revolution. She came up against English spy William Doyle when he was hunting for her father in her burned down chateau. For his own purposes, he agreed to escort her to Paris, where she meant to flush out the mole who was betraying them.

From the start, both Maggie and Doyle lied about their identities to protect themselves, yet nobody was fooling anybody. I love this twist in the usual concept of hidden identities, yet their personalities shone through the facade they're employing, causing Doyle to decide he liked this woman. Very much. Thus did their romance start, not with lust for an appreciation of the other's physical attributes, although there is that, but much more, there's the appreciation of each other's intellectual capacities and abilities. Both of them were sly and cunning and masters in their field, and it was a joy to watch them gang up together to outdo the enemy and to see the silent rapport they had established as they bonded on the way to Paris.

I like Maggie. She's smart, really smart, not pretending-to-be-smart like some of the other heroines, but she was really clever and able to think on her feet, because well, how else could she devise strategies to bring so many "sparrows" out of France and get them out of so many jams? Only someone as sharp as William Doyle could match her cunning and her strength. He was described as a great lummox of a man, a "walking lump", yet there is kindness in him, something that also drew Maggie to him. Alone, they are capable of a great many things, but together, they were invinsible.

The humor is sly and subtle, much like the characters themselves, and the action is fast-paced and gripping. The characters intrigued and engaged me so much I didn't want their story to end. In fact, I'm going to pick up my copy of The Spymaster's Lady and browsed the parts that contained Maggie and Doyle.

The back cover summary is a tepid teaser to a great story of adventure, romance, passion and courage in one of the most dangerous times in history. Ms Bourne brought the situation and chaos of the French Revolution to life, making this book one that is steeped with the flavor of the time without overpowering Maggie and Doyle's story. Recommended for all lovers of romance.


Scorpio M. said...

Thank you for the review. I have The Spymaster's Lady in my TBR to tackle before moving on to this one. I follow Jo Bourne's blog and she is such an engaging writer even when she's just blogging! Her wit, humor, smarts...all there. =)

gamistress66 said...

great review & I agree :) I liked Doyle in the 1st 2 books but fell in love with him in this one. And while you knew Maggie from the others, in this you came to understand why she was perfect for him. I loved it.

dor said...

Great review. It is a good thing not to let first impressions hold you back. See, that is my lesson for today. :)

dorcontest at gmail dot com

Blodeuedd said...

Great review!
Must read Bourne, must read, must read, lol, I shall

jedisakora @ The Little Corner of the World said...

Thanks for the review. I've been on the edge on this you and you just sent me over it. ^^


Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

gorgeous cover! i still need to read her other books too!

jeanette8042 said...

Love your review! I still need to read this one, it's in my TBR pile somewhere.

Pink Panther said...

I've never read any of Joanna's books before, but your review got me hooked! Can't wait to read The Forbidden Rose! :)

Darlyn said...

Pretty interesting and gorgeous cover too!

Carol L. said...

Love the cover, beautiful and loved the review.
I also have to read the other books.
Carol L.

Elisa Beatty said...

Yup, yup, yup...Joanna Bourne's books are amazing! Run, don't walk to get them!

Beth said...

Ever read an opening chapter where the heroine was having a conversation with a rabbit

Ummm, Alice in Wonderland? :) Interesting that I never saw that connection before.

Joanna Bourne is an amazing writer, isn't she? You didn't mention having read her second book, so I hope you'll check that one out sometime, too. Of the three, though, I think Forbidden Rose is my favorite.

Carole said...

@Scorpio M Thanks for the tip, I'm gonna follow her blog now too! Yeah, really love her books and the way she writes.

@gamistress Yes, Maggie is just so perfect for him. I usually like the hero over the heroine in most books I read, but here, I have to say Maggie holds the greater portion of my heart!

@jedisakora Hope you enjoyed it!

@Beth I never even connected that to Alice until you mentioned it. LOL Yup, I got her second book in the TBR and as soon as I have the chance, I'm gonna read it. Of the two that I've read, I can't even choose a favorite. I think they're both good in their own way, and I love both!

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