Candice Proctor project
This was a great project, I got behind in my other readings, but it was good to know that my memory wasn't playing tricks with me. I wish she still wrote romance.

So, in order of preference here goes:
1. Beyond Sunrise A+
2. Whispers of Heaven A
3. A Night in Eden A-
4. September Moon A-
5. The Last Knight B
6. The Bequest
7. Midnight Confessions C-

You really have to pick up one of these Candice Proctor books, I promise you, you'll enjoy them.

Beyond Sunrise, rollicking adventure! A cross between Romancing the Stone and African Queen. And at last a book by Ms. Proctor that has some laughs in it. The story of a starched-up spinster by the name of India and a rude hard-living rogue by the name of Ryder.

The background for this book is set in the lush South Pacific islands, as we follow these two through one adventure after another. This is a fast paced book, raced with a lot of humor as these two people butt heads. This book has some really fun bickering as these two characters fall in love. And once again Ms. Proctor proves that she can create complex secondary characters, including the villain.

I'm rating this one my favorite, I loved these two people. They were fun and poign
ant at the same time.

You really have to pick up one of these Candice Proctor books, I promise you, you'll enjoy them.

Time/Place: 1800's, South Pacific

Sensuality Rating: Warm

Warning! I hates the Yankees to piecccesss, ya'all!

Ok, it seems that I like Candice Proctor books when they are not in the Unite
d States. Midnight Confessions takes place in 1862 New Orleans. And New Orleans is beautifully, atmospherically written in this book. However, I couldn't like the heroine Emmanuelle, a TSTL heroine.

You see Emmanuelle is a Confederate sympathizer and her husband was killed by a dirty Yankee. So, she isn't fond of Yankees, especially dirty ones.. The hero, Zach Cooper is the resident provost marshal...dirty Yankee. Emmanuelle is a witness to a murder, Emmanuelle sees things, she knows things, she must protect her son, she may be the intended victim. But does she tell any of this to Zach? Nooooo, he's a dirty Yankee.

Anyway, this is more of a murder mystery story than a romance and because I really did not like the heroine, I think this must rank among my least favorite of Candice Proctor's books. This story has one of my pet peeves: non-communication between the hero and the heroine, so this love story does not work.

But the scenery is nice. Thank goodness, this was not her first book.

Time/Place: Civil War/Reconstruction New Orleans

Sensuality Rating: Warm

Another good one from Candice Proctor!!
Whispers of Heaven is set in Tasmania in the 1840's and once again we get to see the prison system that was part of the Engli
sh empire. This time it isn't quite as rough as Night in Eden.

The heroine, Jesmond, is returning to a land she loves from 2 years spent schooling in England. She returns to an aristocratic overbearing mother, a brother who has some problems of his own, an English gentry stuffed shirt fiancee. She assumes she will be returning to the life she left behind and just do what is expected of her. Enter Lucas Gallagher, a convict laborer on their estate.

Now, this may sound like a plot from some other books, however, in the hands o
f Ms. Proctor the story turns into something truly magical. This is really Jessie's story, its a truly amazing story of her struggle to conform to the role that has been created for her. Her struggle is presented realistically; she doesn't reject her way of life as soon as the hero makes his appearance. This is a character driven story, and the tension in the story is mainly from those characters with very little external conflict. While I found Lucas to be a interesting hero, it is Jessie that steals the show. Also, Ms. Proctor has once again created some very intriguing secondary characters, I wish that she had written a sequel or something with them in it; but, noooo, she had to start writing murder mysteries!

This book is what romance novels are all about.

Tasmania 1840's

Sensuality Rating: Warm

The Last Knight, another vivid novel by Proctor, this one in Medieval England during the reign of Henry II and his dysfunctional family. That dysfunctional family is the background story for which the romance is built around.

Basically, Attica, a woman of her time not some 21st century woman, is awaiting an arranged marriage to a 14 year-old boy nickname Fulk the Fat. She stumbles across some secret message about Henry II and decides that the only one she can trust is her brother Stephen, who is with Henry II. So, she dresses up as a boy and on her journey stumbles across our surly hero Damion de Jamac, a knight with some problems.

The book is really well researched, and full of the noise, images and smells of the time. The love story is not a love at first sight story, we get to watch them fall. And, while they are doing that, they stay true to the time period. The villains are all very interesting and have their own story, which I would have liked to read more of, but alas, that could not be. The middle of the book bogged down a little, but the ending more than made up for it. The one big problem I had was with the solution of Stephen. I'm not going to write what that was, however, because of what happens to Stephen, I wondered if the couple could really ever have a happy ending. According to Candice Proctor they can, so it must be true.

Time/Place: 1180's France-Brittany
Sensuality Rating: Warm/Hot

Note to self: When rereading a heavy-duty beloved writer, throw a Julia Quinn in for laughs.

September Moon! Candice Proctor returns to the Australian outback with this tale of a destitute English spinster (29) taking on the job of governess for 3 children who have systematically chased off all of their other governesses.

Amanda Davenport is a so very proper Englishwoman, when she arrives to take care of Patrick O'Reilly's children from hell and if they aren't bad enough, there is a drought going on. Patrick's English wife has left him for another man when the youngest of his children was a baby, so he has a slight grudge against Englishwomen. Amanda slowly grows to care for the children;and these children were not 21 parading as nine, but very realistically portrayed. There is some really great sexual tension between Patrick and Amanda. There are some very touching moments with the children, and we get to watch Amanda gradually change from hating Australia to loving it. All of the characters in this book are well-drawn and one of the most compelling secondary characters is the Australian outback itself. What a harsh place, and what an interesting portrait Candice Proctor has drawn of it.

Time/Place: Australian Outback 1864

Sensuality rating: Warm/Hot

The Bequest is set in Colorado in the late 1800's and once again this not a light fluffy read. This is also not as good as Night in Eden. Maybe it's because it is a western and I'm not a great fan of westerns. This one has the Girl Raised in Convent Inherents Her Mothers Brothel And Falls For The Half Owner plot.

In the hands of Proctor this is a pretty gritty, filthy, smelly story and there is way too much violence in it for my taste. I could use a good comedy right now, but I'm going on with my project.

This was really too realistic for my tastes, and I couldn't really give it a good rating because I didn't like it. Although the writing was superb.

Time/Place: Colorado 1870
Sensuality Rating: Warm/Hot

A Night in Eden
When I started reading A Night in Eden, I had to keep reminding myself that this was Candice Proctor's debut romance novel. The more I read, the more I wished she was still writing romance instead of mystery. Sigh...

This book has a number of unsettling things in it; it is not a light fluffy read. The heroine, Bryony is a convict who has been sent to the New South Wales penal colony (Australia). The harsh treatment of the women and the heroine in this book is not sugar coated. When Bryony arrives, she has lost everything, her children, her husband, her home. She is a dirty, vermin-ridden sad creature. The hero, Hayden,...let me tell you, his entrance into the book is some of the best descriptive writing I've read. I really could visualize him, with his big ol' hat shading his eyes, smoking his cheroot.

Hayden has come seeking a woman who will be a wet-nurse to his son, so, Bryony becomes his prisoner/servant/slave.

This book by Ms. Proctor is refreshing. It is powerful in it's descriptions, from a horrible justice system to the extraordinarily magnificent landscape that is Australia. And, this was her first book, keep repeating it.

I highly recommend this book, but remember this isn't something that is going to make you laugh...this is a deeply disturbing, moving story.

Now, I did give this story a minus. The reason: I had a minor issue with a tiny little sentence (I am not going to say what sentence, but it is one of my hot buttons) and one of the characters in the book just kind of disappeared. But, these were little.

Read it!
Time/Place: 1800's New South Wales/Australia
Sensuality Rating: Hot

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Beyond Sunrise is a great book. Very descriptive. The characters came alive. The story was very well thought out and interesting.