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The Bride Wore Pearls by Liz Carlyle
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The Bride Wore Pearls (edition 2012)

by Liz Carlyle

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886137,094 (3.26)1
Member:Frannycesca
Title:The Bride Wore Pearls
Authors:Liz Carlyle
Info:Avon (2012), Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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The Bride Wore Pearls by Liz Carlyle

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Widowed and let to raise her two twin boys and her step brother on her own, the heroine packs up and leaves India for the society of London England. Meeting her at the pier if her brothers friends and fellow guardian. Immediately she's struck by his charm and his flirtatious personality and in the year since settling into her new life, she and the hero have developed a lasting and deep friendship. But both parties acknowledge to some degree the sexual tension sparking between them. The heroine is far more open with her desire for the hero. She may be playing the English widow but inside she is a strong independent and sexual woman who knows what she wants-even if she lacks the courage to follow through. The hero on the other hand has spent so long denying his lust for his friends sister that she's actually begun to doubt his desire for any woman-especially after finding him and another man in a strange circumstance. But as she soon finds out, the hero's desire for her burns hot within him, leaving him in torment for the past year and tortured with the need to deny himself what he wants the most-her. Many factors play into why he so adamantly fights their relationship. Firstly, the fact that he is indeed a convicted criminal. Never mind that he was pardoned from execution, the reality is that many still feel he is guilty of the crime. Secondly, he is consumed with the need for revenge and to punish whoever set him up and framed him so he can finally clear his name. These two reasons convince him that he can never be worthy of a woman such as the heroine. Someone so good at heart, selfless and with two young children to care for. How could he taint her name just as she's trying to settling into a culture she doesn't fit into? How could he do that to her children? And no one can say that in a lot of ways, he did court disaster with his past behavior. Not that he deserved to be killed or anything but wasn't always a model citizen. Though he never cheated at the gambling hall using is abilities, he did whore around and make a general ass of himself with the liquid. He can say he learned from his actions and has since become a better man-though he still flirts shamelessly and uses absinth, he is dedicated to his position of Guardian and takes his responsibilities seriously-this includes seeing the heroine protected whle her brother is away. But as usually is the case, eventually his will is worn down. With the heroine pressing him and his jealousy over the suitors she begins to receive, the hero succumbs to his passions. But that doesn't stop him from going right to putting up that wall and hiding behind what he considers to be the gentlemanly thing to do-which is suffer for the eventually happiness of someone else. Yet that doesn't stop him from becoming extremely jealous over the idea of her with another man. Or the fact that he turns to the Green Fairy in order to escape into his own head. Throughout this game of cat and mouse-the woman being the definite aggressor in their relationship, together they track down clues and attempt to solve the mystery of who had the most to gain from the hero's death. Although I can't say I disliked this story, I feel confident in saying I didn't love it either. Mostly, I found the plot to be a tad boring. I thought the rhythm was off- it just didn't flow like the previous book. Maybe it was the uneventful crime mystery that disenchanted me but I fear it was the hero's character that really put me off. When I say I truly enjoy tortured characters I mean it. I love the 'woe is me', 'I don't deserve you' thing as much as the next man, but in this case it just succeeded in putting my teeth on edge. I just wanted him to man up already! Jesus dude, the hot woman you've fantasized about for almost a year is practically throwing herself on you dick and you have to get all emotional about it. I wanted him to take charge of his own desires and fight for her, if he really loved her than fight for what you love! But regardless of this flaw, I enjoyed the book well enough. Passing grade, but defiantly so not honor roll. ( )
  Eden00 | May 14, 2016 |
stubborness to the extreme, opium use in excess, arguing constantly for first 90 pages.
  2Sunny | Apr 6, 2013 |
s dramatic openings go, it would be hard to beat hanging the hero before he ever meets the heroine of a romance but that is just what happens in this latest installment of Liz Carlyle's series of books centered around the secret St. James Society. Opening with Rance Welham being paraded out to be publicly hanged for the murder of young Lord Percy Peveril, a murder he maintains he did not commit, this Victorian-set historical romance immediately launches the reader into the driving force in Rance's life and a major factor in delaying the destined romance.

Lady Anisha Stafford and Rance Welham, Earl of Lazonby, meet years after the attempted hanging when Rance is sent to collect Anisha from the ship that she, her two sons, and her younger half-brother have taken from India to England to live with her oldest brother Lord Ruthveyn following the death of both Anisha's father and her husband. They have an immediate awareness of each other and yet a full year passes off the page as the two of them develop a close and treasured friendship. Each is attracted to the other but they are unwilling or unable to act on this attraction. Rance is consumed by finding out the real murderer and clearing his name once and for all and feels he cannot sully Anisha with his reputation or with the sordidness of the quest. Anisha just wants to be seen as a grown woman who is capable of making her own decisions and not be protected and coddled.

In addition to the mystery of who would have had reason to frame Rance, there is a touch of the exotic in this tale as Anisha is bi-racial with a Scots father and an Indian mother. This fact makes it hard for her to be seen as acceptable in the eyes of English society and so her closest friends and confidantes are all members or related to members of the St. James Society, which is a genteel front for an ancient organization of people possessed of second sight and those sworn to protect them. Anisha herself can read palms and has a basic understanding of astrology thanks to her mother. Rance, while more properly a Guardian (or protector), himself has extraordinary insight into people and their emotions. But despite their gifts with others, neither of them can read each other.

As is often the case when sexual tension is high and being denied, they bicker with each other and dig their respective heels in on their decisions no matter what. Rance is tortured both by his inability to keep his hands off Anisha and by the dead ends he finds as he tries to uncover the real murderer so he sinks himself into the dangerous depravity that is absinthe. Anisha, meanwhile, tortures Rance with the threat that she will look elsewhere to fulfill her needs if he's not willing to share her bed. But ultimately they must partner together in all ways to have the life they want to lead.

There are a plethora of secondary characters in this novel and often they are only on the page fleetingly, leaving the reader to wonder at their purpose. Perhaps as this is one in a series, their presence is necessary to prior or future books. Rance as a character spends a lot of time wallowing (in a crystal glass filled with a cloudy green liquid) in his unsuitableness for Anisha and the sordidness of his past rather than actively pursuing a resolution. But the two characters had good chemistry and their scenes together sizzle. As an escapist read, this definitely fit the bill. ( )
  whitreidtan | Aug 22, 2012 |
I usually like Carlyle's books, but this one just didn't click with me for some reason. I ended up kind of skimming it. ( )
  readinggeek451 | Aug 16, 2012 |
I haven't read a romance novel in quite a while so I figured it was time I did. I don't recall having read any by Ms. Carlyle in the past but giving my reading volume and my bad brain I'm sure I have. I went through a stage more years ago than I care to count where I read many a historical romance...

In this tale we meet Lady Anisha Stafford, recently returned to England after the death of her husband. She has come back to family - namely her brother a member of a mysterious group called the St. James Society. He is not available to meet her upon her arrival so he sends his friend, Rance Welham, the Earl of Lazonby, a man with a very nasty past. Of course it's love at first sight for both of them but the rules of society decree that THEY CAN'T BE TOGETHER.

Anisha decides to help Rance clear his name from the murder his purportedly committed even though he has been supposedly exonerated. HE won't feel he is free until he finds the real killer. And so they embark upon a dangerous path to find who did the killing of Percival. (Percival?!)

I will say that while the tale conformed to the boy meets girl, etc., plot line it was not as predictable as it might have been. There was a modicum of change in the manner leading to the requisite happy ending. I had hoped for more from Rance but all he seemed to do was drink, complain and lust after Anisha. She was at least an interesting character; like most of her ilk in these books she had intelligence and spunk but her mystical elements and her bits of life from India made for interesting character development.

It was, overall a satisfactory beach read. I understand that this might be part of an ongoing series and perhaps that might be part of my dissatisfaction - there was a certain feeling of not always understanding what was going on with all of the ancillary characters. ( )
  BrokenTeepee | Aug 9, 2012 |
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Book description
Beneath the elegant façade of Victorian high society, the mysterious men of the St. James Society play only by rules of danger and desire.

Rance Welham, the Earl of Lazonby, has survived scandal and disgrace, even evading the Queen’s justice at the end of a hangman’s rope. Now he’s about to gamble everything on something far more dangerous—desire.

An exotic and elegant beauty, Lady Anisha Stafford fled her native India to seek refuge within London’s secretive St. James Society. But accepting protection from someone called a cold-hearted killer is a double-edged sword... especially when he’s the most intriguing man Anisha has ever laid eyes upon.

In a world where treachery abounds, no one can be trusted—and no true passion can be denied. Together, these two tempestuous souls will risk their lives for a love that could redeem them... or destroy everything they hold dear.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061965774, Mass Market Paperback)

Beneath the elegant façade of Victorian high society, the mysterious men of the St. James Society play only by rules of danger and desire.

Rance Welham, the Earl of Lazonby, has survived scandal and disgrace, even evading the Queen’s justice at the end of a hangman’s rope. Now he’s about to gamble everything on something far more dangerous—desire.

An exotic and elegant beauty, Lady Anisha Stafford fled her native India to seek refuge within London’s secretive St. James Society. But accepting protection from someone called a cold-hearted killer is a double-edged sword . . . especially when he’s the most intriguing man Anisha has ever laid eyes upon.

In a world where treachery abounds, no one can be trusted—and no true passion can be denied. Together, these two tempestuous souls will risk their lives for a love that could redeem them . . . or destroy everything they hold dear.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Fleeing her native India to seek refuge within London's secretive St. James Society, exotic beauty Lady Anisha Stafford is intrigued by her protector, the Earl of Lazonby, and, with no one to trust, these two passionate souls risk everything for a love that could be their salvation or destruction.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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