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Shelley Munro – The Spurned Viscountess

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In a time when witches were burned, having a special ability could be a gift or a curse. It could even be both.

Publisher: Carina Press
Pages: 241
Type: Fiction
Age: Adult
ISBN: 978-1-4268-9058-1
First Published: 2005
Date Reviewed: 27th April 2011
Rating: 4/5

Please note that this is a revised version of an earlier book and that it is the earlier book’s release date I have referred to.

Rosalind, a young woman considered a witch by her village, took her chance and married Viscount Hastings, the man her cousin didn’t want. But there is far more to Hastings than the scar that everyone looks away from, as he comes with baggage from a doomed previous marriage. Rosalind can read people’s thoughts and comes to accept Hastings’ issues, but can he? And who keeps trying to harm Rosalind and why?

I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. The title suggested something clichéd, and the historic period and romance genre emphasised my thoughts. But I wanted to read more romance and it seemed a good place to begin, something away from Mills & Boon but not something erotic. This is in my attempt to get a good overview of romance and all it offers.

Aside from a weak start, which did suggest cheese, The Spurned Viscountess is rather good. There are a few repetitions employed by Munro that could have been left out, such as Rosalind always lifting her chin, and “a moue of disappointment” used a few too many times for one to appreciate the interesting description, but the story is sound and the characters agreeable.

What is great about the development of Rosalind is that it is something that affects the reader more than the character, that is to say that in the beginning Rosalind doesn’t impress very well but as the story continues it becomes easy to root for her. She doesn’t listen to advice from men to stay at home, although admittedly sometimes she should, and apart from a few stubborn moments, is a strong woman. Hastings is a good hero and his slow development into realising his true feelings is well written. That he bucks the trend of the day and doesn’t wear a white wig is fantastic. Even the bad characters are interesting.

The romance is important, as expected, but it doesn’t rule the story so much that you forget the backdrop. The mystery surrounding Hastings’ problems and Rosalind’s accidents comes to the fore many a time and is the reason to keep reading as you already know where the romance will lead. The identity of the mystery person may surprise you, the descriptions of locations delight. Although the book focuses on the two main characters you get to experience the odd social event.

As this is a romance rather than erotic romance the love scenes are few and comfortable enough to read.

There is a slight paranormal bent coming from Rosalind’s telepathy, but it is not treated in the same way as general paranormal fiction and is actually quite believable for the way in which it is written.

As a lover of the classics and what is known as “literary fiction”, although I do not like the term myself, you may wonder why I rate this book so highly. True, the writing is in a different league to the books I generally read, but for what it is it is good and it is with this in mind that I rate it. As a romance it is worthy of a read and provides that all important element – for it’s story and mystery it stays in your head after you’ve finished it.

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Cindy Swanson

July 3, 2011, 3:43 am

This book actually sounds like something I would enjoy. It’s going on my to-read list! Thanks for the excellent, balanced review.

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