Hello and Welcome to the Bookworm Express on Scribbler Alliance with a new book recommendation for this week. This week we have a book in the historical romance genre with a dash of forbidden love and intrigue to it. Yes, you should keep a box of tissues nearby as well as a change of erm well, clothing. Yes, a cold shower could be a necessity after this steamy read. 😉
Lisa Kleypas’ Midnight Angel starts with a prologue set in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The setting reminds me always of two things I adore, first the movie Anastasia which was set in St. Petersburg and whose legend has always intrigued me.
Second, it reminds me of the book I read in Fifth grade and has always captured my imagination in the wildest of ways; a book I feel to this day has no equal.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer which is set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, Missouri. Not to be confused with the nonfictional St. Petersburg in Russia.
So immediately my curiosity was piqued. Perhaps St. Petersburg has become akin to a lucky charm for me wherever a book or movie is concerned.
The prologue starts with an attention grabber and so putting away my coffee mug I pull up the covers and settle in, ready to lose myself in one thrilling adventure. The warmth of the coffee warms my hand and mingles with the warmth of my soul that often is accompanied with that tingle you feel when you realize you are about to embark on a quest with the best of novels.
Did you know the Russians like many other cultures of the world, believe that if someone stares into your eyes, they might steal your soul?
The feminist in me roars mightily as Tasia, the heroine of this novel, stares unblinkingly at a man trying to take advantage of her and leaving him sputtering with fear. Some time ago, there was a Facebook post that was circulating around about how an Indian girl had to pretend to be possessed to get a man to control his “uncontrollable” desires. Ironic how times may have changed but some men haven’t, and women still have to resort to such means!
This incredibly well-written book is capable of having you hooked body, mind and soul from the very first page. You feel as the characters feel. The line between reality and fantasy grows so fine you are unable to let go.
The story is set in 1870, Russia, which by the way sort of reminds me of the legend of Anastasia in which the heroine is a princess supposed to be killed in the Russian Revolution. In this book, Tasia, its heroine is a noblewoman who is imprisoned to be hanged for the death of her cousin.
Tasia is a young woman driven by her strong faith, finds her answers in the Holy Book and in a dramatic scene very similar to the one in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, where Juliet’s fakes her own death. Her faith is not for naught. She is reincarnated. Well perhaps I shouldn’t be so dramatic. She lives but she spends some time dead if you will.
To quote her Uncle:
“I didn’t believe in this resurrection of yours..but I have seen it with my own eyes. I pried the lid off your coffin myself. You were as stiff and cold as a corpse. Now you are alive again.”
Much like the Firebird, her father used to call her who according to Russian folklore:
‘falls into deathlike sleep at sunset, and later awakens to new life.’
Tasia begins her life anew, now the governess of an English Lord who
‘couldn’t stand mysteries, couldn’t leave them alone. He had the typical Englishman’s passion for organizing and making sense of things. The urge ran too deep to be denied. There was no temptation greater than an unanswered question’
For such a man, the new governess was like live bait, dangling precariously in front of the broken hearted widower. Full of mysteries and with a regal air around her.
Initially I was intrigued. Luke is every bit the brooding tormented hero with a hint of tragedy about him. One feels compassion for him, he needs to be loved. But slowly as the story unravels his actions make it hard to stay compassionate.
The author makes her characters incredibly real. They are not flawless, and neither is her hero. At times you will feel contempt for him and at times you will despise him. But when he reaches his redemption, you learn he is like most people−just a sad lonely man with the weight of the world bearing down on him.
Tasia is much like an angel as the name of the book suggests with an air of purity and innocence about her despite her many ‘sins’.
The chemistry between Tasia and Luke is fiery despite her angelic aura. A great contradiction due to how innocent and pure Tasia appears.
While reading the book I thought there could be no heat between them. It seemed unimaginable but the author has weaved the events in such a way that Tasia having a passionate response appears so natural.
Perhaps to maintain that perfect coordination of these two aspects of Tasia’s personality, Luke seems to treat Tasia with fragility while being very ardent. He seems to coax her baser desires and the inner seductress that resides in all of us.
For all her faith, Tasia is no saint but as human as any of us. She suffers from the same desires as me or you.
The story goes somewhat like this. Tasia takes refuge in England as a governess and turns her employer, Luke, a grieving widower’s life upside down.
Never having seen such a woman in his life, Luke is intrigued. Add the dash of mystery and grief that seems to shroud Tasia leaves a Luke who is very determined to unravel Tasia’s story..
According to the book, Luke is every bit the ‘Englishman’ in that he likes his life to be systematic and proper and the presence of a mystery drives him crazy.
In his search to uncover the mysterious governess’s haunting past Luke finds himself falling desperately headlong in love with the beautiful Russian governess.
What follows is a cat and mouse chase as vengeance rears its ugly head and Tasia finds herself making tough choices.
To find out whether Tasia ever marries her employer or what the great secret is that she hides, read the book.
Thank you for reading. Please let us know in the comments below if you read this book and tell us which book you want us to review next. 🙂