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:~: Thursday, June 14, 2007 :~:

Review: LEARNING CHARITY by Summer Devon

I love stories that are outside the norm. I like underdog characters. I relish a HEA that isn't your everyday happily-ever-after.

In the short story "Learning Charity," Summer Devon (a.k.a. Kate Rothwell) certainly delivers.

Eliot Stevens is my kind of hero -- an upstart American traveling in London, he's a self-made man with still a few rough edges. Eliot obviously enjoys a challenge (it's there from the first page) and his newest challenge is finding a respectable society girl to be his wife. Events I won't divulge lead him to a London brothel where he meets Cherry, the working psuedonym of Charity Vincent, a well-bred English girl driven by circumstances to a life of prostitution.

Charity is my kind of heroine. She isn't the cliched "happy hooker with a heart of gold." She despises what she has to do to survive and has created the Cherry persona to help her deal. Inside, she has a strength that I don't think even she is aware of.

But Eliot is.

The story's setting involves mere hours. In those hours, Eliot seeks to learn how to approach a lady, how to interact with her, how to woo and win her. Devon makes it obvious Eliot is the right woman's dream -- he's teasing and funny, innately respectful, and the way he gentles Charity when she is tense, frightened or angry is swoon-material. Watching Charity come alive as a woman under Eliot's influence is pretty swoon-inducing, too.

In terms of style, Devon is a straight-forward writer, but there are absolute gems in her subtle use of metaphor. (The whisper-scream one of desire had me stopping and re-reading with a "wow.") There were a couple of rough transitions, where I stumbled and had to reread, but overall the story flows smoothly and quickly, just as a short read should.

And if Devon had me with her first line (love it!), she really had me with her ending. As mentioned above, I like a not-the-normal HEA. I dislike stories where the hero/heroine know one another a few hours and are trading "I love you's." Instead, Devon delivers with a proposal to die for and a heroine's realization that's even better. I was left with the feeling that Eliot and Charity will lead a long, happy, adventurous life -- just as it should be.

For more on the book (including a gander at Scott Carpenter's fabulous cover art) and an excerpt, visit Samhain Publishing.



Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Oooh. Great cover. And the excerpt was fab, too. Definitely one to look for.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Elisa said...

I read this book a few months ago, and loved it.

3:40 AM  

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