The Gentleman Caller is set in 19th century New Orleans where traditions and societal strictures still hold sway, and voodoo is still secretly practiced. The gentleman caller is none other than Jack Waters, whom Garland Lafon, one of New Orleans’ wealthiest, has invited home as house guest and offered the chance of becoming his heir IF he wins Lafon’s eldest daughter Rosalie’s hand in marriage. But there’s a catch: he has to keep his hands off her sister, Corinne, who’s easily one of the most beautiful woman Jack has ever seen and determined to pursue him. Just as Rosalie is determined to take the veil and become a nun.
After three long, hard years in prison, Jack will do anything to succeed and regain the respect and self-worth he has lost. As he eludes Corinne’s seductive snare, and goes after the reluctant Rosalie, Jack finds that there is a greater prize he desires more than the inheritance awaiting him … Rosalie’s heart and love.
Here, finally, is a romance set in early America, and I find the setting a refreshing change from the Regency romances that have flooded the stores in recent years. Ms Chance, who is new to me, has an engaging style which makes it easy for the reader to become absorbed in the story. The poignant emotions in the book are handled with a sensitivity that brought a lump to my throat many a times during that plane ride to Tokyo. I was captivated not just by the vivid imagery of New Orleans in that era, but also the stirring evolvement of Jack and Rosalie’s love story. Their path wasn’t really smooth but the encounters between them left deep feelings, and I’m quite pleased that the author chose to let Jack lose his chance at becoming the Lafon heir. But he gained something that was far more crucial to him: self-respect, absolution and forgiveness, and the lady’s love.
The Scot, The Witch and The Wardrobe by Annette Blair, another new author to me, was entertaining and uproariously sexy. This lighthearted romantic comedy throws together reluctant witch, Victoria Cartright, and Rory MacKenzie, a carousel carver/ sculptor who is determined to restore his ancestral clan to glory by reclaiming an antique carousel unicorn that Vickie discovered in the mysterious wardrobe left by her ancestor in her attic.
While one sought his birthright and the other fought hers, the two of them were thrown together in circumstances that could only be the result of some serious magic … or maybe it was just love in the air.
Ms Blair made me laugh with the double entredres and sensual innuendos spouting out of the two main character’s mouths. There were tender moments to balance the laughs and I enjoyed this light, happy story after all that double dealing action and intense emotional baggage in Cold as Ice.