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Wednesday, 04 August 2010 08:32

Book Review - Awakened by a Kiss

Written by Sarah M. Anderson, Romance Novel News
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AwakenedByaKissThree racy retellings of classic tales


“Awakened by a Kiss” (Historical, Berkley Sensation, 368 pages, $15.00) by Lila DiPasqua: This summer has brought a spate of fairy-tale inspired romances and Lila DiPasqua’s debut collection titled “Awakened by a Kiss,” with her own racy renditions of classics “Sleeping Beauty,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “Puss in Boots,” is a solid effort.


In “Sleeping Beau,” Adrien, Marquis de Beaulain, is awakened by a kiss from the mysterious Catherine de Sanvais. They engage in a night of passion that neither can forget. Catherine chose a stranger to be her first, hoping it would prepare her for a loveless marriage. She experiences a passion that has remained unmatched for five years. Now on the verge of a second loveless marriage, she is tempted by her mysterious first love - a rake of great repute.


Anne de Vignon is a poetess in “Little Red Writing,” but she also writes under the pen name Gilbert Leduc, secretly publishing pen portraits and scathing literary caricatures of France’s most powerful men. Leduc has earned the displeasure of the King.


Nicolas de Savignac, known as “the Wolf” for his voracious sexual appetite, is the Musketeer assigned to arrest Leduc. He plans to seduce the poetess and get her to confess.


The strongest of the collection, “Bewitching in Boots,” follows Elisabeth de Roussel, the King’s daughter. Elisabeth has been well-schooled in surviving court. Her only weakness is Tristan de Tiersonnier, a former commander of the King’s Guard now down and out and living in a crumbling chateau.


When Elisabeth shows up at Tristan’s door demanding fencing lessons, despite his disdain, he is happy to oblige. But little does Tristan know that she has more in mind than a week of instruction.


In “Awakened by His Kiss,” the first in the “Fiery Tales” series, DiPasqua provides her characters with a well-rounded history and builds tension early, but her love scenes are not as “fiery” as anticipated. For three separate stories depicting notorious rakes, more sexual variety was expected.


DiPasqua switches between using anatomic references and more charged euphemisms, which can take a reader out of the moment. Some vocabulary choices do not seem to correspond to 17th century France.


“The Princess in His Bed,” DiPasqua’s second installment in the “Fiery Tales,” series, is scheduled for release in November.


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