Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: Capturing Bliss by Nicole Hurley Moore

       Title: Capturing Bliss
       Author: Nicole Hurley Moore
       Release Date: February 2, 2012
       Publisher: Pink Petal Books
       Category: Historical Romance
       Type: Kindle
       Ms. Moore’s Website

In 12th-century England, love isn't part of the marriage equation. But Lady Blissot de Woodville adores her younger sister too much to see her suffer such a fate. Instead, Bliss recklessly switches places with her sister—and marries a total stranger under false pretenses! Fortunately, she soon discovers she shares a rare passion and genuine love with her new husband, the ardent Lord William Reynard. Yet the happier Bliss becomes, the more her secret weighs heavily on her heart...because one desperate lie could destroy everything she's come to cherish.

Bliss took a deep breath as her chestnut mare clattered into the courtyard of Lord William Reynard’s holding, Foxwoods Hall. She looked at the strong stone walls and  thought  it  appeared  more  like  a  small  castle  than  a  hall.  She  shivered  a  little  as  the  cool  grey  stone  sat  solidly  before  her    cold,  hard  with  an  air  of  desolation  and  impregnability.  The  late  afternoon  sun  shone  brightly  into  the  courtyard  and  illuminated  the  walls  of  Foxwoods  and  yet  it  shed  no  warmth  or  softness  to  the  surroundings.  Her  uncle’s  men  rode  in  behind  her,  protecting  her  back  or  more  importantly cutting off the only route of escape, she thought with a wince. Until this moment she had been so certain of herself and her actions; so sure that she was doing the right thing.  Now  she  would  have  done  nearly  anything  to  have  Ivetta  standing  next to her side for support. But that could not be, as three nights ago she had stood in the small clearing and bid a tearful farewell to her sister and Adelard. Bliss felt her  heart  beat  faster  and  her  breath  quicken    and  as  she  noticed  the  tall  figure  in  the  distance beginning to descend down the stairs quickly towards her; she felt panic grip  her insides and slowly begin to tighten its hold.
“Just breathe, child,” a low voice whispered beside her. “Just breathe and all will be well.”
Turning  her  head  she  saw  Sir  John  smiling  reassuringly  at  her.  “Surely this is  madness? I convinced myself that this was the right course; and yet now faced with it, I fear my heart is failing.”
“Mayhap it is, but the die is cast and this is the fate you have chosen. And whether  the future be bad or good; always remember that you were strong enough to choose  your  destiny  and  did  not  let  your  snivelling  uncle  do  it  for  you,”  he  answered  as  he  nodded his grey head.
“My thanks Sir John, your counsel gives me strength.” She felt his words wash over her and the panic began to recede. “You are right. I have chosen my future and many a maid cannot say thus.”
“You are your father’s daughter, with his mind and his honour. Blissot, you have made the right decision. You have gifted a life of gladness to Ivetta. May you too be as blessed.”
“Ivetta is safe and with the man who loves her above all things. I daren’t ask for anything else.”
“Ah, but what of your happiness and contentment, Bliss?  Do you not wish for these things? You deserve them as much as Ivetta.”
“Ivetta’s happiness is payment enough,” she answered quietly and watched as the tall man strode forward until he stood before her. He had broad shoulders, slim hips and hair as dark as the night sky.  Yet  it  was  his  face  that  made  her  pause,  he  was handsome with high cheekbones, green eyes and full lips, but his expression seemed as  cold  and  as  unmoving  as  the  walls  of  Foxwoods  Hall.  And for an instant, Bliss wondered if he possessed any warmth within himself, and if so, was it possible to draw it out?  Without  a  word  he  reached  up  and  encircled  her  waist  with  his  large  hands, lifting her from her mount as if she weighed no more than a feather. She placed her hands  instinctively  on  his  broad  shoulders  and  stifled  a  gasp  as  her  body  slid  down against his. Through the thin layers of her dress she felt the hard planes and heat from his body.  Bliss  felt  her  cheeks  flush  but  there  was  also  a  flare  of  excitement  which instantaneously coursed through her being.
“My  Lady  de  Woodville,  I  welcome  you  to  Foxwoods,”  he  said  as  his  hands lingered  a  moment  too  long  around  her  waist.  With a hint of hesitation, he relinquished her and bowed before her. “I trust that your journey was not too taxing.”
Bliss dropped into a low curtsey.  “I am Ivetta and you have my thanks for your concern, Lord William. The journey was uneventful, although a little long.”
“Come Lady,” he commanded as he kissed her  hand.  “I will take you to your chamber before we are wed.”
Bliss  stared  at  Lord  William  expecting  him  to  smile  in  jest,  and  yet  he  did  not. “Today? You wish us to wed today?” she asked with alarm resonating in her voice.
“Aye, everything is prepared and the priest awaits our pleasure as do our guests,” he said simply as he tucked his arm around hers and started to walk towards the hall.
“Forgive  me,  but  I  do  not  understand  the  haste,”  Bliss  answered  as  she  tried  to keep up with William’s pace.
He stopped at the top of the stone stairs and faced her, his fingers gently traced the side of her face and Bliss felt every burning spark from his fingertips. “You are my prize, my beautiful Lady Ivetta and I am done with waiting,” he answered as his green eyes bore into hers.

Dialogue Highlight:
Bliss  raised  her  head  as  the  door  opened  and  William  quietly  slipped  into  the room.  He  gave  her  a small  smile  as  he  walked  over  to the  bed  and  knelt  before  her.
Taking  her  hands  in  his,  he  studied  her  face  for  a  moment  before  speaking  in  a  low and gentle voice. “Are you feeling recovered?”
She could hear the concern in his voice and it touched her. Bliss nodded, “Aye, I just needed a little time to myself.”
“Lady,  we  are  strangers,”  he  continued  and  Bliss  swore  that  he  appeared  to  be  a little uncomfortable, “who have been thrown together to make a future for ourselves. It  is  difficult  as  we  know  nothing  of  each  other,  yet  I  meant  what  I  said,  that  you would never regret taking me as your husband.”
Bliss felt her heart skip a beat at his soft words and she smiled as she replied, “I am sure that I never will.”
His  green  eyes  warmed  as  he  glanced  to  the  large  ring  twinkling  on  her  finger. “Ivetta this is our wedding night and if we had world enough and time I would court you as you deserve – slowly… gently … softly. Yet we have had Brother Terrowin pray over us and our marriage is for naught if it is not consummated. Do you understand what I am saying?”
Bliss felt her face blush and she could not meet his eyes. “I do, William,” she said with a nod of her head.
His hand caught her under the chin and he slowly raised her head until she was looking at his face. “All will be well, I give you my oath,” he whispered as he leaned in and  softly  brushed  his  lips  against  hers.  “I  ask  you  to  trust  me  this  night.  I  promise that I will not hurt you.”
Bliss pulled back a little and met his gaze. “I know,” she answered with conviction.
~* * *~
William stared at her as her simple words washed over him and snared his heart.  He regarded her in silence and searched her face to see if she believed what she said.  Slowly he moved towards her and gently ran his hand down the side of her face. She trusted  him  and  that  simple  fact  made  him  feel    something    he  wasn’t  sure  what exactly but he knew that on some level it pleased him. Her skin was soft as the finest silk and he found himself being drawn in by her beauty. She was his for the taking – by right, by the King’s decree. Yet he had not lied when he had said that given more time he would have wooed her. He vowed that he would kiss and tantalize her until she wanted him as much as he wanted her.
She  had  accepted  him,  kissed  him  and  shown  that  she  trusted  him    something that  no  other  woman  had  ever  done.  He watched as Ivetta’s brown eyes widen in surprise. She parted her lips and William sent up a silent prayer of thanks as he knew that she was not impervious to his touch.

I originally entered to win this book because I enjoyed the blurb I read about it. Never one to pass up a historical romance read, I took a chance … and won! I knew nothing of this author and was taking a chance based solely on the blurb. I can honestly say that I am glad that I went with my instinct. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and hope to be able to experience another of Ms. Moore’s books again in the future.
This story is sort of a snippet of a story surrounding an actual story. It begins with Nerissa, who is visiting Foxwoods Hall in the hopes of fulfilling her dream of painting the famed medieval gardens. As she looks around her surroundings she wonders if the people she views in the portraits were truly happy ~ and so the real story begins.
Blissot and Ivetta live under their Uncle’s rule. He is interested only in how he can further his own position and arranges Ivetta’s marriage. But Ivetta is in love with another and so the women scheme to switch places. While Ivetta’s love spirits her away for their secret marriage, Bliss is be on her way to marry her unknown intended. Bliss is firm in her resolve to carry out the plan, but second guesses herself for walking into a marriage with a man she knows nothing about. But after a few words with William, she knows without a doubt that she can trust him.
Williams was recently a landless knight but because of his brave actions, was gifted with land, a title, and a marriage bargain. He looks forward to beginning his future, but wonders what his intended will think of marrying a formerly landless knight. Ivetta’s beauty is well known, but William wonders what she will be like on the inside with so many praising her appearance. He is immediately taken with her and her gentle spirit, kind words, and firm resolve; ultimately surprised by her lack of narcissism. Before long he realizes just what a treasure he was given in Ivetta. Except that he still does not know that she is truly Bliss. And Bliss struggles each day to tell him the truth, fearful that he will see her trickery as a betrayal. The longer she puts it off, the more she tears herself up inside as she falls deeper in love with William. She fears that finding out both her identity and that he did not marry the beautiful sister will crush any feelings of affection he has for her.
This story was quick and engaging. I did not realize that it was a novella at first and was worried a bit about its integrity with such a page limitation. I was thrilled to discover that this story was well put together with engaging characters and a very enjoyable premise. While the story was fast paced, I did not feel that any crucial moments were left out. Ms. Moore kept it flowing throughout. William is perhaps a bit more understanding than I would have expected him to be given his status as a knight, but he is also portrayed as a hard worker and fair. Ultimately his love for Bliss is what he values above all else. Bliss is a bit more self-conscious than I would have liked her to be, but I found her a generally likeable character. Her willingness to sacrifice all for her sister is commendable and her longing for the same kind of love Ivetta possesses with her husband is endearing.
Following Bliss and William’s story, the reader returns to Nerissa getting lost within the Hall and encountering one of the Reynard relatives. A couple of insinuations are hinted at, allowing the reader to infer what would likely transpire next. Overall, this story was very entertaining. As a lover of historical romance, I found it to be a great read to pass an hour or two. If you are looking for something quick and enjoy HR, then definitely read this one. And if you haven’t read much or any HR, this would be a terrific story to read as a glimpse into the genre. Highly recommended!
(eBook copy won from LibraryThing early reviewers; provided by author/publisher company in exchange for an honest review.)

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