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Smashwords book reviews by Bellcanto

  • The Parfit Knight on Aug. 27, 2012
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    5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Wonderful, 27/08/2012 By "Belle" This review is from: The Parfit Knight (Smashwords Edition) The Parfit Knight is `Simply Wonderful'. That's the only way I can begin this review of Stella Riley's latest re-work of a novel first published in 1987. That was when I first read about the Marquis of Amberley and Rosalind. I enjoyed it then and enjoyed it again this time round.. The Marquis of Amberley is more than just an eligible bachelor - he is a law unto himself plus he has a great sense of humour. And Rosalind, blinded in an accident on the day before her tenth birthday, is not weak or self-pitying but bright and lively. And then we have the circumstances of their meeting - highway robbery and a snow storm. Throw into the mix, Rosalind's mistrusting brother Philip, his wastrel friend Robert, a crazy parrot called Broody - and, last but not least, the suave Duke of Rockcliffe ... all of them interweaving throughout the book and all with a part to play in this classic love story. As you would expect, the course of true love never runs smoothly and, harbouring a deep secret, Amberley is haunted by something in his past. The introduction of the charismatic Duke of Rockcliffe is surely a forewarning of yet another brilliant hero destined to break a few hearts, as we readers fall in love with him! I know I'm looking forward to meeting him again in The Mésalliance - let's hope it's soon. What I particularly admire about Ms Riley is her use of dialogue to bring her characters right off the page. Throughout her narrative is real and utterly believable so that sometimes it's almost like watching a play. The scene in Vauxhall Gardens, the duel and the final revelation are all superbly written. And the line that caused me to shed a tear is when Amberley, having finally asked Rosalind to marry him says, `I'm not proposing to be your eyes - though I'd give you mine if I could. But I can't. And unless you love me, I've nothing at all to offer.' Simply Wonderful! Well done, Stella Riley, please keep them coming! Help other customers find the most helpful reviews  Was this review helpful to you? Yes
  • The Mésalliance on Sep. 30, 2012

    Outstanding! When I heard this book was coming, I looked forward to it so much I wondered if it might prove a disappointment. I needn’t have worried. In my opinion, Stella Riley never fails to hit the mark. The story-line may not be hugely original but it is extremely engaging and moves along easily and at just the right pace to keep you turning pages. But the areas where, as always, Ms Riley really shines are in characterisation and dialogue. The writing throughout is extremely stylish, the dialogue is natural, often witty and the characters are so well-drawn you feel you know them personally. As for Rockliffe – where do I start? Wow! As far as romantic leads go, he is outstanding. Charming, attractive and clever – but also fair-minded, possessed of a strong sense of humour and, above all, kind. This is a man who could probably get any girl he wanted but, though he knows he can seduce Adeline, he is by no means sure he can win her heart – a quality that I found particularly endearing. During the course of the book, we get to know him really well. The scene between him and Joanna, Adeline’s mother, was particularly touching. However, best of all, in the last chapter, we finally see him completely unravel. Everything he’s felt and thought for months comes pouring out in a torrent of emotion – and, if I have a favourite bit, this was probably it. Truthfully, I haven’t fallen this hard for a hero since Alex Deveril in ‘The Marigold Chain’. There is a great deal of sexual tension in the book and, though the sex scene itself is by no means explicit, it still creates a frisson or two. I get the impression that Ms Riley works on the assumption that, since we all know how it works, we don’t need a manual. All the other characters are extremely believable. You understand why Adeline behaves the way she does; you want to give Diana a slap and wish Rockliffe knew the truth so he could kill the wicked uncle. The two big set-piece scenes are also brilliant; first the Franklin ball which turns into a farce and then, in the penultimate chapter, the Queensberry ball where everything finally comes to a head. The latter is fairly gut-wrenching but what an ending! Apparently ‘A Splendid Defiance’ is coming next – and, though I haven’t come across a copy in years, I remember Justin Ambrose. Will I love him more than Rockliffe? It’s a tough call but one I look forward to making. Please keep them coming Ms Riley. You’re making this reader very happy.