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The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne

Recently added bykara-karina, LynnePriest, arena300, INorris, rebmica, private library, taglinethis, Pap3rLady



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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
I've said it time and again, - Joanna Bourne is incredible. Her books are pure poetry, philosophical, deep, melancholic and immensely romantic. She also put huge amount of research in the subject - French Revolution and Napoleon's Empire.

French Revolution is one of my favourite settings for historical romances - spies, assassins, looser morals, than in Victorian era, desperation and survival of the fittest... It's wild, brutal, and it's time of great changes.

The Black Hawk follows the life of two spies - a French one, Justine, and an English one, Adrian. The book starts in the present and goes back in flashes through years of their complicated relations, because Adrian and Justine have know each other since they were children.

Even as children they are so old ad wise for their age it's creepy and sad. Adrian grew up on the streets of London as a thief, Justine, a daughter of an aristocrat, was molested as a child and sold into a brothel. Both escaped and survived by being picked up and trained to be spies.

Even as teens they are mad for each other, but their responsibilities come first. It's hugely romantic how they snatch precious moments to meet risking their lives over both sides of the Channel, how they save each others' lives countless times despite trying to reject their relationship for each others safety.

They are pure star-crossed lovers, and when they reunite in their late thirties, Justine is dying, and it's up to Adrian to save her life and find those responsible for an attempt to assassinate her.

Joanna's writing is gorgeous, and this book was one of the two best historical romances I've read last year. Highly recommended.

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  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
An intriguing historical romance with a good plot and interesting blend of now and then but sometimes the story would stall with too many details on an insignificant event such as a luncheon. French spy Justine is stabbed and drags herself to the nearby the home of Hawk an old lover.
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  Dawn772 | Jan 29, 2015 |
Dipping back into the world of the spy's of Meeks Street just makes me want to assemble these fascinating lives in order (a bit of a challenge in this series, with so many histories and intrigues woven together). Reading Adrian's HEA was a simple pleasure, his romance with Justine manages to span a lifetime while still keeping me at the edge of my seat. ( )
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
Adrian is one of those delicious heroes you can’t get enough of and, as is so rare in romance novels featuring a truly memorable hero, Justine is worthy of him.

They share an epic romance that spans decades, a love forged in war but defeated by peace. Their sentimental moments are believable and heart-wrenching. Their cold, pragmatic separations are also believable and heart-wrenching.

Basically, Joanna Bourne is reliably excellent author. She writes beautifully. She creates complex characters and exciting stories. She has a really good handle on French quirks and mannerisms and she immerses you in the history without ever getting bogged down by it.

All that being said, nothing she’s written has excited me quite like MY LORD AND SPYMASTER. In BLACK HAWK, she tells Adrian and Justine’s story by mixing flashbacks of their developing romance with the inciting incident that brings them together in the present, when Justine is stabbed only steps away from Meeks Street. I was eager to read each timeline – I wanted to know about their young love, I wanted to see how they’d find their happily ever after – but the tension is never that high.

Justine and Adrian respect and understand one another, and that means that even as enemy spies there’s a certain serenity to their relationship. It really seems bizarrely healthy and balanced, no matter how crazy their actual actions are. It’s really, really easily to believe they’ll be a happy couple for years and decades to come. And BLACK HAWK is a good read, a very good read. It just never quite had me on the edge of my seat.
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  MlleEhreen | Apr 3, 2013 |
Why I read it: I'm a fan. Adrian = Rowr.What it's about: Fans of the series will know that this is Adrian and Justine's story. If you haven't read the other books, I'd recommend doing so as it will make this read a richer experience. So, get thee to a bookshop stat and come back once you've read the others. It doesn't really tell you much, but here's the blurb from Goodreads - Attacked on a rainy London street, veteran spy Justine DeCabrillan knows only one man can help her: Hawker, who also happens to be the enemy. With London crawling with hidden assassins and someone out to frame Hawker for the assault, the two spies must work together to find who's out to destroy them...What I thought (aka What worked for me and what didn't): I've been sitting on this review for a few weeks now, letting things percolate in my head. In my desire to savour the joy that is the lyricism of Joanna Bourne's prose and to soak up all the lovely goodness, I think I did this book a disservice. The further away from it I get, the more disconnected I feel. Yet, when I refresh myself with some quotes from the book, I'm immediately sucked back into the vortex (in a good way!). I think I took too long to read it. I think maybe I should have allowed myself to glom and then savoured on a re-read. Or, maybe, now that I have savoured, I need to re-read and glom to properly appreciate this book. I'm convinced it is all me in any event. The book is wonderful, Adrian is a glorious hero and Justine is pretty darn special too. It's just that for some reason when I finished, I felt disconnected; like I'd missed something somehow. There are so many scenes in this book which, when I remind myself of them, I sigh over. The first love scene is just beautiful. Justine had been sold to a brothel as a child and she has a very understandable fear/disdain of physical intimacy. However, she loves Adrian and feels passion for him. Adrian is fully aware of Justine's past and his constant (but not in an annoying way) - "look at me, it's me, Adrian" (that's not a direct quote by the way) just showed how well he knew her. He knew what she needed to be able to have a happy sexual experience with him. I love the way Adrian knows her completely and loves her, not in spite of it and not quite because of it but rather, in everything and without any kind of judgement. Oh, he says it better really: "I liked you as a pretty young girl." He let men and women brush past on either side of him and only looked at her. "I like the woman you became better than the girl you were. I like the story you've written on your face." (my emphasis)And yet, he's not so sensitive that he won't take his chances when he can get them: "Wait a minute. I'm still back thinking about you opening the window and letting me in. What were you wearing?"Adrian has a cutting sense of humour and he's not afraid to use it, even just in his own head. Reams looked particularly self-satisfied this morning. Possibly he felt he'd done something clever. He was probably wrong.I found the flashbacks, not disorienting, but in some way a little frustrating. I think it's that I wanted the WHOLE story - I would have been happy to read everything and not just the 'excerpts' of their lives that made it into the book - does that make sense.What else? The cover is something of a disappointment to me. At the same time as I feel I'm being unnecessarily picky, I'm still going to say that the cover model doesn't look anything like Adrian and the step back had a really boring picture of the Eiffel Tower and no picture of Justine. Just as well I don't buy books because of their covers.I think this whole series will be a re-read for me at some point (I've already read The Spymaster's Lady twice and listened to it on audio) and I suspect I will find more hidden gems and nuance in the books as I do so. Pax has an important part to play in this book and his book is next. As much as I had been looking forward to Adrian's book, I'm kind of surprised that my level of anticipation for Pax's book is nearly as high. I still think my favourite book of the series so far is The Forbidden Rose but the whole series is sitting on my keeper shelf.Grade: B ( )
  Kaetrin | Aug 13, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
"Beautifully flawed, intensely human characters, a deadly puzzle, and a love that survives incredible odds combine to make this another emotionally riveting page-turner from Bourne (The Forbidden Rose), whose novels always deliver. Fans of historical romance will be all over this one."
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Kristin Ramsdell (Nov 1, 2011)
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The past caught up to her in the rain, in Braddy Square, six hundred yards from Meeks Street.
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"Someone is stalking agent Justine DeCabrillac through London's gray streets. Under cover of the rain, the assassin strikes--and Justine staggers to the door of the one man who can save her. The man she once loved. The man she hated. Adrian Hawkhurst. Adrian wanted the treacherous beauty known as 'Owl' back in his bed, but not wounded and clinging to life. Now, as he helps her heal, the two must learn to trust each other to confront the hidden menace that's trying to kill them--and survive long enough to explore the passion simmering between them once again."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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