Ah yes.....picture it. A man who isn't afraid of hard work, back-breaking, long-into-the-night kind of work. His body is tanned and toned, every muscle and chord stark proof of the hours spent toiling in the fields. Yet, put him in a gentleman's dress....expensive tailoured waistcoat and breeches, hair tied back in a tight cue, and he fits right in. His manner is charming, witty and extremely intelligent. Brawn and brains....an enticing mixture in a man, one each and every female would be happy to have. At least, I would. And so does our heroine, Brighid, in Pamela's Clare's second historical entitled "Carnal Gift".
Jamie is visiting his friend Sheffield Tate on his estate in Ireland. Quite quickly, Jamie realizes that his friend has changed, and not for the better. While hunting, they come upon a group of Irish Catholic peasants gathered to bury a baby. It is the mid 1700's and the English are notorious for their cruelty to the Irish and Catholicism was banned. Sheff, in his villainous way, decides this group of "filthy Irish" need to be punished for disobeying the laws of the land. But wait.....Jamie spies the lovely Brighid and cannot help but be instantly drawn to her. Of course, he is not looking for companionship or that illustrious notion called "love". Jamie is there to sway many political figures into supporting the need for troops in the colonies in order to fight the French and their native allies. It is when Brighid's hot-tempered brother takes a stand against Sheff that he knows he must put a stop to Sheff killing these poor people. But Sheff, knowing Jamie well, realizes that his friend has taken a liking to the Irish beauty and insists on capturing her and "giving" her to Jamie as a gift. Being the honourable man that he is, Jamie will not force himself upon any woman. But Jamie knows that Sheff wants Brighid for himself...to use her, defile her body, and possibly kill her. Jamie will never let this happen.
I really enjoyed this book. Having read "Sweet Release", the first book of the trilogy, I already knew our hero Jamie, although he was just a child in that book. I already had the backstory and thus I was more connected to the characters. I liked how the setting moved from picturesque Ireland to the bustle of England. The other characters in the story were also well developed to the point where I wished for their happy ending as well. In true Pamela Clare fashion, the love scenes are HOT and the romance is touching. Although I enjoyed "Sweet Release" more, "Carnal Gift" is a great tale on its own...a tale of love, commitment and trust...the basis for all unions, even today.
"Carnal Gift" is book number seven in the 2011 Historical Romance Challenge.
Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas- Review
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