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My Beautiful Enemy by Sherry Thomas
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O_o! Atwood and Ying-Ying are back, and they are all grown up and very dangerous! Such a delicious story, full of spies, political intrigues and serious heartbreak. Reminded me a bit of Mr and Mrs. Smith, the main characters are so capable and confident. Throughout the story which involves quite a few years and couple of continents it's Atwood who is more vulnerable and desperate to find his love, and Catherine who is reticent and stoic. Really, really loved it, and recommend it to almost anyone but the most cynical reader. ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
The sequel to The Hidden Blade, although it can be read separately. The Hidden Blade does however explain certain things about the core characters and their motivations - and provides a certain level of depth to the story that would be lacking without it. Read together - it's a good story. Both lack something without the other.

This is the romance between Leighton Atwood and Catherine (Ying-Ying) Blade, the characters introduced in the previous novel. And unlike The Hidden Blade, the focus is on the romance. It is not erotica and there are no explicit sex scenes. So readers who require that sort of thing, will be disappointed.
The focus here is more on fight scenes, of which we get several. And the exploration of the characters feelings for each other, and how they fell in love. Thomas excels at the reunited lover's trope - examining why it didn't work out, and how years later they somehow come back together again. Older and wiser.

Thomas also excels at subverting trite and true romance gender tropes, and flipping the roles, while examining along the way how women have been treated and what they had to do to survive. In addition she does an excellent job (in the first book, The Hidden Blade, less so here) of depicting a loving homosexual relationship torn apart by religious intolerance and cruelty. And demonstrating the differences between the Chinese and British cultures, neither come off well - the British are homophobic and cruel, as well as a bit small minded, yet women in Britain have more freedom in some respects than women in China. Both cultures abuse power and both make mistakes in the name of nationalism - this is demonstrated in both books. Thomas is not quite subtle about it, but she doesn't hammer you over the head either.

Here - the female character, Catherine Blade is the fighter, hard edges, brooding, scarred, and world-weary - while Leighton is far more temperate, a dancer, and the nurturer, good at languages, and clever. Also, Catherine's on the quest, while Leighton supports her and waits until she's completed it.
Often it is the opposite.

At the end, a sweet romance off the beaten path. ( )
  cmlloyd67 | Jun 7, 2015 |
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On a storm-whipped sea, some prayed, some puked.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425268896, Mass Market Paperback)

In this spellbinding romance by the acclaimed author of The Luckiest Lady in London, a beautiful and cunning woman meets her match in a man just as dangerous and seductive as she is, putting both her heart and her future at risk…
Hidden beneath Catherine Blade’s uncommon beauty is a daring that matches any man’s. Although this has taken her far in the world, she still doesn’t have the one thing she craves: the freedom to live life as she chooses. Finally given the chance to earn her independence, who should be standing in her way but the only man she’s ever loved, the only person to ever betray her.

Despite the scars Catherine left him, Captain Leighton Atwood has never been able to forget the mysterious girl who once so thoroughly captivated him. When she unexpectedly reappears in his life, he refuses to get close to her. But he cannot deny the yearning she reignites in his heart.

Their reunion, however, plunges them into a web of espionage, treachery, and deadly foes. With everything at stake, Leighton and Catherine are forced to work together to find a way out. If they are ever to find safety and happiness, they must first forgive and learn to trust each other again…

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:27 -0400)

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