Monday, October 13, 2008

Karen Ranney - After The Kiss


Margaret Esterly is desperate - and desperation can lead to shocking behavior! Beautiful and gently-bred, she was the essence of prim, proper English womanhood - until fate widowed her and thrust her into the poverty overnight. Now she finds herself at a dazzling masked ball, determined to sell a volume of scandalous memoirs to the gala's noble host. But amid the heated fantasy of the evening, Margaret boldly, impetuously, shares a moment of passion with a darkly handsome gentleman...and then flees into the night.

Who was this exquisite creature who swept into Michael Hawthorne's arms and then vanished? The startled, yet pleasingly stimulated Earl of Montraine is not about to forget the intoxicating woman of mystery so easily - especially since Michael's heart tells him that he has at last found his perfect bride. But once he locates her again, will he be able to convince the reticent lady that their moment of ecstasy was no mere accident...and that just one kiss can lead to paradise! .

It's been awhile since I had read a Karen Ranney novel. I have accumulated a lot of books since I first started reading romance and now I don't really remember why some of them were added to my shelves but I am determined to read them all and find out.

This book is mostly about the relationship between Michael and Margaret. I usually like books that are character driven and I was happy when I realized this one was one of those. The characters are sympathetic, Michael is a repressed and rational man who suddenly finds himself doing all sorts of irrational things due to his attraction to Margaret, and Margaret is a sensible woman, determined to live alone and support herself, who finds herself going against her moral principles because of her attraction to Michael.

I think this could have worked really well for me but in the end I felt that there was not enough character development and complexity to fully convince me. Margaret's decision to have a child out of wedlock and Michael's decision to not look for a rich bride (who could save his estates) and instead marry a penniless commoner should have been thought of and analyzed and debated a lot more I think. As it is, it ended up feeling a bit too "light" a read. Entertaining yes, but forgettable since nothing really stands out.

Grade: C+

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