Since I started writing regularly, I haven't read as much as I did before. But part of being a good writer is knowing what others are putting forth, so for 2012, one of my goals was to read and review fifty books. Astraea Press recently initiated a book club, making available one book per month ABSOLUTELY FREE! All you need to do is request the book within the first two weeks of the month and it's emailed to you. You're encouraged to post your thoughts on the book somewhere (Goodreads, Amazon, your blog, etc) and then join the author for a facebook chat at the end of the month.
This month's Book Club selection is His Chosen Bride by British author Sherry Gloag. This is the second in a series about four brothers, all members of a royal family. Prince Liam's story was told in From Now Until Forever, which I read earlier this year. Book One is a wonderful, fast-paced adventure, so I was eager to read about Liam's elder brother, Henri. I wasn't disappointed.
Henri is the crown prince, and he takes his duties seriously – so seriously that his father, the king, orders him to take a vacation. When he does, he visits his brother in Scotland where he is put in close contact with a woman who has haunted his dreams since the day he saw her at his brother's wedding. He doesn't like the way he reacts whenever he's near, and he blames her for his forced break from his duties.
Monica is busy with her equine therapy school and doesn't have time for Henri's seemlingly hot-and-cold attitude toward her. But because he's her best friend and partner's brother-in-law, she tolerates him, as well as her own blazing reaction to the handsome prince. Another source of conflict is her special gift, which causes her much grief as many don't accept or understand it, but which Henri eventually comes to appreciate.
This is a quick read, and though some reviewers describe it as a paranormal romance, I didn't really see it that way. It's all about the love story, and the instantaneous attraction that becomes true love. I would have liked to see a little more development of that love – other than the physical attraction, what did they see in each other? This is book two of a four book series, so I'm sure Monica and Henri will be back. If you haven't already joined the Astraea Press Book Club, click HERE and then follow the directions to receive your free copy. But hurry – the free copies will only be available for a few more days!
To further entice you, Sherry has provided a short excerpt:
She lost track of time until the flames caught her attention once more. They flickered from orange to gold, to silver, to white.
A flurry of snowflakes masked the flames and for a second Monica watched the most beautiful, pristine snow-scene she’d ever seen. Her lips curved in longing. How she’d love to get a toboggan and slide down that slope. She knew where it was, and had done just that many times in her childhood, first with her parents and then, in clandestine manner, with her brother. Sneaking an old tin tray from the back of her mother’s walk-in pantry, she’d then grabbed Billy’s hand and they’d rushed out the back gate, heading for the lakeside track that led up into the hills.
Darkness, dense and thick with grief dropped over the scene. Startled and disconcerted by the strength of emotion emanating from the vision Monica shifted to her knees, ready to stand, when a voice, a deep male voice, sharp with fear called out her name.
She knew she’d never heard the voice before, and yet—it was as familiar to her as the image she saw in her mirror each morning.
"Help me, Monica.”
Desperate for more clues, she searched the darkness within the flames until it sputtered and faded. With a curse she jumped up and ran for the phone. With her outstretched hand hovering over it she halted and let her hand drop to her side once more. What could she say? What would the police or rescue team think of her if she called them and told them she’d seen a vision of a man in distress?
They’d laugh in her face and classify her as a lunatic. Well, maybe not. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d contacted them with positive information but something—an instinctive gut reaction told her what she’d seen this time hadn’t happened yet.