Monday, May 16, 2011

"Swept Away by a Kiss" by Katharine Ashe

One of the best historical romances I've ever read is "Swept Away by a Kiss" by Durham, N.C. resident Katharine Ashe. Her heroine, Lady Valerie Monroe, is assertive yet compassionate and avant-garde when it comes to passion. She's "swept away by a kiss" of Etienne La Marque, whom she believes is a Jesuit priest. Unbeknowst to her, he has assumed the disguise in his quest for justice. Later she meets him in his true identity, Viscount Steven Ashford. Valerie recognizes his attraction to her but can't understand why he continues to avoid direct contact with her until he reveals his mission.

The historical detail Ashe weaves into the story brings readers to the scene. They don't have to be familiar with the transportation, vocabulary or clothing of the early 1800s. They are immersed in it and understand the times because of Ashe's superb style.

When pirates board the ship carrying Valerie and Etienne from America to England, readers experience the cruelty of the pirates and the determination of the hero and heroine. When Etienne, now Steven, is in a "playful" fencing match, readers know what's happening in the scene even if they never heard the fencing terms.

The book has it all: memorable characters, heightened conflict and satisfying conclusion. Readers will be pleased to have this title on their book shelves.