Renee Ryan's A Touch of Scarlet, Gilded Promise's Book Two
(Brilliance Audio, January 2017)
Lovely Gilded Age story set in New York City.
Four Stars ****
Four Stars **** for Narration
Never was there a more charmed debutante than the impeccable Elizabeth St. James. Her sterling reputation makes her a favored guest in the most exclusive homes in New York City. But behind the gilded curtain of turn-of-the-century society, Elizabeth despises being her mother's perfect "specimen" and refuses to forgive the woman for her treacherous family betrayal. Now, with only two months before Elizabeth sets sail for London to marry a British lord, she resolves to live a lifetime of adventure - including kissing a man under the moon and stars. And Elizabeth has the perfect candidate in mind: Luke.
Lucian Griffin, the brother of Elizabeth's dearest friend, intends to protect Elizabeth from letting her adventures forever sully her reputation. He knows too well the regrets that come from taking unnecessary risks. Soon his earnest fondness for the sweet debutante gives way to deep affection. But if either is to have a chance at true love and happiness, they must have the courage to let go of the past - and the grace to embrace forgiveness.
This is my second book of Renee Ryan's and A Touch of Scarlet won't be the last. I'm hoping to listen to the third book in this series Once An Heiress which releases in September. I'm really looking forward to Gigi's story because she is acting as a maid in the first two book and my heroine, Maude Welling, in My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island acts as a maid at the Grand Hotel.
But back to this audiobook. Although the narrator, for this novel, Karen Peakes, was fantastic for the first novel in this series. In the second one, her over-the-top emotionally charged narration distracted me. It was weird because I loved the first audiobook. It was like I never got an emotional break from the romantic tension. Some of that was how the story was written, though. This is a highly romantic story with less of the beautiful scenes and Gilded Age decor, etc., and more focused on the love story.
In contrast to book one, where we have a super-sympathetic Caroline St. James, and English woman coming to seek justice from her grandfather, in this book we have a young woman who had grown up in a wealthy family and has had many privileges. She simply isn't as sympathetic a character as Caroline was. I think if this wasn't the second story and I'd just listened to the other first I'd have found her even more likable than I did.
I missed the historic details that were sprinkled throughout the first story. But I think the author was trying to stay true to this heroine's story -- which was, like I mentioned, a super-charged romance. The writing is good, this was a good listen and I do recommend it particularly for those who enjoy a soaked-in-romance story throughout. I like more history in my historical romances and I get complaints that my own writing isn't as filled with romance as some readers would like.
This entire series is likely to be a stunner when it wraps up and I am looking forward to Gigi's story in September. It will be available on audiobook for sure, as indicated on Amazon.
I listened to this as an Audible.com download. If you'd like to listen to this audiobook and haven't received any free downloads from Audible in the past there's a way for me to ask them to send a copy of this audible download to one person. Leave a comment if you'd like to try that and I'll draw one of our guests for that!