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BEGUILING THE BEAUTY BY Thomas
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Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1465

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 2:41 pm    Post subject: BEGUILING THE BEAUTY BY Thomas Reply with quote

So, what you do all think? I haven't read it, but would like your opinions.
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HEAreader



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
Posts: 159

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally!

I have been waiting for someone to start a thread on this book. Dabney's review is excellent, IMO, and I am sure others on the forum will want to analyze the book in detail. Instead, I am going to give you my gut reaction.

After waiting so long for this one, I raced almost straight through it (with intentions of reading it a second time at a more leisurely pace - this is the norm for me with favorite authors). My expectations were HIGH, and I kept asking myself "Is this as good as ___?" Lots of things I like (past characters mentioned, for example) - and lots of things that reminded me of past books (this is just like PA, or NQAH - is that good or bad?). I was so caught up in my expectations of a DIK, if not a RITA winner, that BTB fell a little short. But...the book stayed with me...and I found myself going back to it again and again. That, in essence, is a Sherry Thomas book for me. She writes a compelling story. I have read a dozen books in the last two weeks, and this is the only one that I truly remember.
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Minerva



Joined: 05 Jul 2007
Posts: 153

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been waiting for someone to start a thread on this, too!

Hands down, Sherry Thomas is a fabulous writer. However, I wasn't quite as swept into this book as I have been with some of her others. I think, for me, it was because I just could not connect with the heroine. Despite that, I still think this is a strong B+ read.

I can't wait for Fitz and Millie's book. I found them far more interesting than I did the hero and heroine of BTB.
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msaggie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 697

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 5:19 pm    Post subject: Beguiling the Beauty by Sherry Thomas Reply with quote

I just finished this a few hours ago (past 2am as I could not put it down!) and I agree with Dabney's review here - it is a strong B+ for me too. The writing is lush, but at times, I felt it was a bit melodramatic. It is a homage to Judith Ivory's Beast , and the descriptions of the fossils, and the hero and heroine's love of these, reminded me of Eva Ibbotson's A Morning Gift.

I liked the examination of the role of beauty in this book - the contrast between Christian's obsession with Venetia's beauty, which led to his disgust with himself as he thought himself a rational scientific man, and then his falling in love with someone whose face he could not see.

The only small gripe I have is that the end scene was a bit unsatisfactory for me [spoiler in white font] the scene with the gossips did not quite hold true for me; the good thing was that both Christian and Venetia tried to protect each other because they loved each other - but I felt it was overly contrived how the gossips declared themselves, etc. For some reason, the gossips reminded me of the portrayal of the Thenardiers in the musical of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables - comic villains who were not quite believable I wish it was maybe 50 pages longer, as the story proper is only 280 pages, so that the resolution could be more polished. the last 16 pages of the book are an excerpt from Ravishing the Heiress, Fitz and Millie's book, which I am very much looking forward to as well (I have pre-ordered this entire series!)
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bijoux



Joined: 30 Jan 2009
Posts: 398

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

msaggie, I'm not a fa of that scene either. It's just too zany. I don't mind zany in and off itself but it doesn't really gel with the rest of the book.

It's a B+ for me as well. Very, very, very good, but not just quite great. I loved their time on the ship and how Thomas actually had them talking to one another, so I really got how they fell in love. The contrast to not-talking and misunderstandings back in England is very pronounced and quite heartbreaking.
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HEAreader



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
Posts: 159

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That scene was unbelievable for me - and made for a not quite satisfactory ending (and the B+ grade).

I was VERY SURPRISED to see those same two had already appeared in Private Arrangementsand their reputations as gossips were well known. They are also the aunts of the Duke of Perrin, who married Gigi's mother. This bit of history justified their BTB scene a bit more because I could see the author's viewpoint. Still wished for a longer ending and resolution, though.


Last edited by HEAreader on Mon May 14, 2012 10:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1693

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was a decent read, maybe between B- and C+. It didn't live up to its potential for a few reasons (spoilers ahead):

First of all, I couldn't quite believe Lexington was so obsessed with Venetia after seeing her only once and without even talking to her! Not healthy for a normal guy.

Secondly, he was too quick to believe bad rumors about her - for a logical man he's supposed to be, he should have found out for himself.

I also agree the resolution was too rushed and contrived (gossips, really?). And yes, I was also reminded of Beast, which is not my favorite Ivory book (the hero was too creepy).

And for crying out loud, Sherry, please, you can't "decimate" someone's name! I wish the authors stop using the word in such a manner (at least in historicals).

On a plus side, I really liked secondary characters and will definitely read their stories.

I'd also like to warn those who like their love scenes on the hotter side - I don't know what's going on with AAR's sensuality ratings these days, but this books is nowhere near "hot". I'd say it's less "warm" than a Balogh book.
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msaggie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 697

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 8:50 am    Post subject: Beguiling the Beauty by Sherry Thomas Reply with quote

Natalie wrote:
It was a decent read, maybe between B- and C+. It didn't live up to its potential for a few reasons (spoilers ahead):

First of all, I couldn't quite believe Lexington was so obsessed with Venetia after seeing her only once and without even talking to her! Not healthy for a normal guy.

Secondly, he was too quick to believe bad rumors about her - for a logical man he's supposed to be, he should have found out for himself.

I also agree the resolution was too rushed and contrived (gossips, really?). And yes, I was also reminded of Beast, which is not my favorite Ivory book (the hero was too creepy).

And for crying out loud, Sherry, please, you can't "decimate" someone's name! I wish the authors stop using the word in such a manner (at least in historicals).

On a plus side, I really liked secondary characters and will definitely read their stories.

I'd also like to warn those who like their love scenes on the hotter side - I don't know what's going on with AAR's sensuality ratings these days, but this books is nowhere near "hot". I'd say it's less "warm" than a Balogh book.
Natalie I agree with all that you said. There were a few modern terms which really pulled me out of the 1890s (when this book is set) - Venetia's sister's "publishing firm" - I would have preferred "publishing business".

Some of the descriptions were lovely, but others were excessive. Preference for different styles of prose is a personal choice - but in some parts, I feel Sherry Thomas' is over-written.

I quite liked Judith Ivory's Beast myself, but agree that the hero is not typical at all. I think Christian's obsession with Venetia is inexplicable to everyone (we the readers, and he himself) - this is why he was so cross about it. It does make us think "what's wrong with this guy?" and I think this is what the author intends. When he falls in love with the baroness on the ship, he is relieved that his feelings are not bound by external beauty alone; I think his anger and despair when he sees Venetia in the flesh again in England dismays him so much that he becomes more hateful to her (because he's really still bound by her physical beauty, although he loves another woman, the baroness). Definitely the first part of the book was better written than the last part! All in all though, it is still a very enjoyable book.
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bijoux



Joined: 30 Jan 2009
Posts: 398

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Natalie wrote:

I'd also like to warn those who like their love scenes on the hotter side - I don't know what's going on with AAR's sensuality ratings these days, but this books is nowhere near "hot". I'd say it's less "warm" than a Balogh book.

Yeah, they're really not. I don't know if I'm misremembering but I thought Not Quite a Husband had a few steamy encounters. I've read His at Night and Private Arrangements more recently though, and they're in the same warm zone as this one. Maybe Thomas just isn't that sort of writer. At least not at this time.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1194

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 3:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Beguiling the Beauty by Sherry Thomas Reply with quote

Quote:
The writing is lush, but at times, I felt it was a bit melodramatic.


Quote:
Some of the descriptions were lovely, but others were excessive. Preference for different styles of prose is a personal choice - but in some parts, I feel Sherry Thomas' is over-written.


msaggie, I agree styles of prose is a choice (of course), so I was very interested in your comments. Would you mind going into the writing aspect a little more or maybe give an example (if you have the time)? Do you think Thomas's writing is anything like Duran's in At Your Pleasure?

I ask because while I can see that both Thomas and Duran are talented, I don't have the same feel or reactions others seem to have had, and I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly why. For instance, Islandgirl has a post about having more dialogue, and I know some readers don't like longer descriptive passages. I guess both quantity and quality matter.

Anywho, I was debating whether to read this one or not because it looked intriguing to me, and because the beast theme is mentioned, a favorite of mine. Any additional discussion on the writing aspects of this book would be much appreciated.
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Islandgirl2



Joined: 14 Nov 2010
Posts: 282

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just finished it off during lunch today and started it yesterday. Rarely does a book keep me up at night straining my eyes to get to the next chapter because I'm so engrossed. But tha'ts just what Sherry Thomas does for me. I was actually expecting to not be so involved in the first of the trilogy because since reading the premise of Ravishing a Heiress that took all of my attention and I admit I probably wanted to just get bits of Fitz and Millie in Beguiling the Beauty. But I must say this was a good read for many reasons. If you want interactions for the next couples in the trilogy you will enjoy the sneak peaks you are given. If you like being kept in suspense because you just never know quite what Sherry Thomas will have her couple do to each other you will enjoy this read.

We start off with as many stated this ridiculous love at first site obsession from Christian and this may deter you. But keep reading because somehow for me Sherry Thomas is gifted enough to stop my eye roll and make me pay attention by giving that concept more depth. It's human nature to prefer pretty things and choose with our eyes first but the character development of making that mistake and learning from it and getting to the heart of what's deep within is done well in this story. And as I'm a huge fan myself of Judith Ivory and loved Beast this homeage is great due to taking that theme and using it in the exact opposite situation with the Beauty Venetia.

I too enjoyed hearing the names of past characters. I admit I love connections especially since Sherry doesn't do flat characters but gives you layers. A mention is just too fun hearing of a few past characters we've read.

I have to say that I also am eager now not only for Ravishing the Heiress but also the story for Lord Hastings and Helena.

But honestly I have to say I had fun that Venetia could match wits and even get as deceptive as Christian could be if she had too. One of my pet peeves in romances is when I feel the fight is uneven and the hero holds all the cards. When it's on equal footing it makes it much more fun to see who will come out on top and it's not just a fargone conclusion that the hero has the checkmate in the end.

Actually both do in this case which is why I enjoyed it all the more. Each could be loving or harsh to the other. We just have to read to find out the end decison on both their parts.

Hope anyone else giving this book a try enjoys it as much as I did. For me you just can't go wrong with a Sherry Thomas read.
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msaggie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 697

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 4:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Beguiling the Beauty by Sherry Thomas Reply with quote

Eliza wrote:
Quote:
The writing is lush, but at times, I felt it was a bit melodramatic.


Quote:
Some of the descriptions were lovely, but others were excessive. Preference for different styles of prose is a personal choice - but in some parts, I feel Sherry Thomas' is over-written.


msaggie, I agree styles of prose is a choice (of course), so I was very interested in your comments. Would you mind going into the writing aspect a little more or maybe give an example (if you have the time)? Do you think Thomas's writing is anything like Duran's in At Your Pleasure?

I ask because while I can see that both Thomas and Duran are talented, I don't have the same feel or reactions others seem to have had, and I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly why. For instance, Islandgirl has a post about having more dialogue, and I know some readers don't like longer descriptive passages. I guess both quantity and quality matter.

Anywho, I was debating whether to read this one or not because it looked intriguing to me, and because the beast theme is mentioned, a favorite of mine. Any additional discussion on the writing aspects of this book would be much appreciated.
Eliza I haven't had time to re-read BTB yet, so I can't give specific examples. I would recommend this book highly (so please read it yourself!) with the caveats we have talked about in this thread. I find Meredith Duran inconsistent in engaging me - my favourite is Bound by your Touch and I quite liked A Lady's Lesson in Scandal but gave away all her other books. I have not read her latest. The prose in BTB actually reminded me of Joanna Bourne's on occasions, who I think does more convoluted plots. I am very eclectic in my tastes, and enjoy books from AS Byatt's verbose Possession to sparse direct prose which tells the story in a succinct manner without too many frills such as (off the top of my head) Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.
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roseisa



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 334
Location: CA

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed it. The hero and heroine were intelligent, spared well, good dialog and the hero was mature enough to acknowledge when he was wrong.

ST is the best!

Cool Sunny California - time for gardening.
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 778
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really liked this book so much and found it to be just as intellectually engaging as it was romantically. Very much in the vein of Ivory's Beast, the story explores illusions of love and the shallowness of first impressions and superficial judgments of others. I vacillated constantly between sympathy for each character's state of mind. Each scene with the two leads reads as a vignette and explores a different stage of both infatuation and misperception. As the story evolves, so do both Venetia and Christian. They are much changed by the end of the novel, not only for their love for each other but for the lessons they learn along the way. I think this is a novel that requires much of the reader, just as Beast does.

Ultimately a great start to a trilogy and I'm so looking forward to July!
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stl_reader



Joined: 03 Aug 2011
Posts: 231
Location: Missouri

PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

B-

I keep wondering if I'd have dialed that down to a C+ if the author were someone new to me.

The story wasn't bad. It was just very hard for me to buy into a lot of the story line, particularly the events that had to occur in order for the author to get the H/h on the Rhodesia and engaged in an affair.

I realize it was written in a sort of "fairy tale" vein, but even so, I only have so much credulity to bring to the table. The convenient lecture set-up...the flowers sent to the wrong lady at the hotel, precipitating Venetia's decision to pursue the Duke...the veil (and Christian's willingness to not attempt to persuade Venetia to remove it at any time)...the speed with which he falls in love with the Baroness...it often seemed just a little too contrived for me.

Now, one of my all-time favorite romance novels is Not Quite a Husband. I think Sherry Thomas is an elegant writer, and if BtB was not her best, it was still okay. And as always, I really appreciate the author's pacing. I never find her books "draggy."

I look forward to not only Millie's book but also Helena's story (which I assume at this point will feature Hastings in the role of hero).
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