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    Can An Ugly Hero Take Your Breath Away?
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  • Published: Sep 23rd, 2009

indiscreet_JewelIndiscreet by Carolyn Jewel
Reviewed by Marisa O’Neill
Publisher: Penguin
3.5 Stars

Dear Reader:

Short Review: Overall, Indiscreet was a book I enjoyed; however, I found the plot a bit too simplistic. The writing is extremely well done and the characters are worth the read. If you’re new to Carolyn Jewel’s books and love historical romance, I think you’ve found yourself a new author. For those of you who loved Ms. Jewel’s first book Scandal, I’d be curious to know what you think about this one.

Long Review: A hero who is unattractive?  Huh, who’d a thunk it, but in Carolyn Jewel’s latest release Indiscreet, that’s just what we have. Now I must admit that I had a hard time picturing him at first.  I mean so many of the romances I read paint the hero as tall dark and handsome. They are certainly not described as: “…his nose was hooked, and the remainder of his features were set irregularly in his face, as if someone had put the parts together and then given him a hard shake before everything had quite settled into place.” No, that’s not the kind of hero I often read about.  But due to Ms. Jewel’s ability to immerse the reader in the nuances of language and feeling, it wasn’t long before I got past this particular peccadillo and found myself liking the Marquess of Foye for the man he was, not the man he looked like. Well done.

Many Regency romances take place in the drawing rooms of Bath or Brighton, or on the streets of London, but this one travels from London to Constantinople to Syria and back giving the story a flavor of the exotic and a context for the hero to save the heroine. In this case for Edward, Marquess of Foye to save Sabine Godard.  Again, well done.

For both Edward and Sabine, life has not been fair. They’ve both seen their share of troubles and heartache; Edward was jilted by his fiancé, and Sabine is haunted by scandal. She never thought to meet him in Turkey – as far away from a London drawing room as one can get. But there you have it. They meet, they fall in love and then trouble ensues.  The trouble is rather typical of a romance plot; Sabine is kidnapped by Nazim Pasha with the intent of keeping her in his harem. Edward is bound and determined to rescue the woman he loves.  Actually, it’s really not that cut and dry, and I don’t mean to make light of the plot, but the plot, in general, is a simple one. However, in the talented hands of Ms. Jewel, the plot becomes a device for us to really get to know both Edward and Sabine. And that really is the heart of this book; getting to know the motivations behind the characters and allowing us, the reader, to want to know more about them.

Ms. Jewel paints vivid pictures that unfold like a BBC television production. You can see Sabine and Edward in the market places of Turkey, you can smell the sea, hear the clatter of tea cups against their saucers, and feel the tension between the two protagonists as they get to know one another and fight to stay together. The tentativeness in Sabine’s words and thoughts due to her youth, yet the strength of her courage due to her intelligence give her credit as a heroine. Edward’s strength lies in his character, a character that is part and parcel of his station in life and his belief that power and respect are automatically due him. Together I’m not so sure they make the most likely couple, that I had a hard time believing in. And yet, I must confess, I did keep reading. I believe that is a testament to Ms. Jewell’s writing style. It is engaging.

So dear reader, if you’re looking for a Regency romance, with a Marquess who is not typical (and I mean that in the very best sense of the word), a heroine who is young and courageous, exotic travel, simple and straight forward plot devices and yes, a happy ending, might I suggest Indiscreet.

Until next time happy reading,


9 Responses to “Can An Ugly Hero Take Your Breath Away?”

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  1. Pam P
    on Sep 23rd, 2009
    @ 1:08 am

    Scandal was one of my top reads, so will be interesting after reading your review to see what I think of this one, if I end up liking these two as a couple.. I don’t mind the hero not being your typical handsome guy, it’s the person himself, how he acts, his morals and ethics, personality, that’s important.

  2. Katie
    on Sep 23rd, 2009
    @ 3:53 am

    I have a hard time seeing past the names she gives her heroes. The names are ugly and distracting.

  3. Stacy ~
    on Sep 23rd, 2009
    @ 6:06 am

    I liked Scandal well enough, but I didn’t love it. There were a few issues I had with the story that were enough to prevent me from being caught under its spell, but I will stay Ms. Jewel tells an engaging story.

    As for Indiscreet, I do and I don’t want to read this story. I do because it sounds interesting enough, but I don’t because I don’t want to be disappointed. Dilemma. Guess I’ll wait for a few more reviews before I decide….

  4. The Imp
    on Sep 23rd, 2009
    @ 7:30 am

    Not sure the “ugly” thing works when the guy on the cover is super-hot. 😉

  5. Anida Adler
    on Sep 23rd, 2009
    @ 8:04 am

    Yeah, imp, that was my first thought, too lol!

    I must say, a hero who is not drop-dead gorgeous is actually something I wouldn’t mind. I read a description in a novel last night, and thought: “Yeah, right.” There just aren’t that many perfect men out there. And I also think to myself that a guy who is in good shape without being a cover model is more likely to not get lazy and fat as he ages (Maradonna, anyone?) once he’s got you snared. I mean, we are talking happily *ever after* here, so I think about these things.

  6. Laura
    on Sep 23rd, 2009
    @ 10:24 am

    I actually like it when the characters I read have something wrong with their looks. It makes the read more realistic. One of my biggest pet peeves is the perfect “10” guy. In real life, they are usually very obnoxious or conceited. So I will read this one! Here’s to the plain Tom’s in the World!

  7. Maria Lokken
    on Sep 23rd, 2009
    @ 2:43 pm

    It doesn’t matter if the hero isn’t drop dead gorgeous – I can get past it. After all a very small percentage of people in the world are that beautiful. Shall I dare say it? Yes, I shall — beauty comes from within.

    Now about that cover. What the heck is the heroine doing with her left hand???

  8. Wendy
    on Sep 23rd, 2009
    @ 3:09 pm

    I have not read any of her books so far but I am interested more now than before, why because the plain hero is not a bad thing. I know in many romances novels the hero must be this tall, dark, and handsome man but in the real world it is, well for me, personality and humor. Looks change no matter how good someone looks year change everyone. So I am all for the hero that is not a perfect 10. Same with my heroines, they don’t need to be the most beautiful supermodels either.

    Also with the cover art, often they have very little to do with the book and with her left hand there, man I am not sure I want to know what she is doing. Hopefully they are in private for that special moment though.

  9. Dee
    on Sep 23rd, 2009
    @ 8:52 pm

    As far as the cover art…maybe he whispered a command in her ear.

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