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!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review: Rapture Becomes Her (Becomes Her 5) By Shirlee Busbee

Title: Rapture Becomes Her
Author: Shirlee Busbee
        Becomes Her Series 5
(Re)Release Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Zebra HR ~ Kensington
Category: Historical Romance
Type: Digital, Audio, Paperback


To save her village and what's left of her family fortune from her wastrel cousin, gently bred Emily Townsend secretly leads a ring of smugglers. With the king's forces and deadly rivals closing in, she has but one last shipment to acquire. But when her men rescue an injured stranger from the sea one stormy night, Emily faces her most formidable - and tempting - adversary ever. 
For Barnaby, the new Viscount Joslyn, is determined to uncover who tried to kill him the moment he set foot in England. Yet proving to Miss Townsend that he can also be trusted with her deepest secrets is an equally intriguing challenge. Now Barnaby and Emily's boldest gambit rests on unthinkable risk - and surrendering to an undeniable love...


He was going to die, Barnaby thought incredulously. He was going to drown in the middle of the night, in the midst of a storm sweeping across the English Channel, and no one would ever know what had happened to the most recent holder of the title Viscount Joslyn. He would have simply vanished.
A crackling bolt of silver lightning snaked across the black night sky, and through the heavy rain, Barnaby glanced desperately around, trying to get his bearings, searching frantically for something to use to save himself, but all that met his gaze was roiling seas. There was no land or sign of rescue to be seen. He was going to die, he thought again as the brightness from the lightning vanished and he was left alone in the blackness. Fighting to keep afloat in the churning water, he admitted that there would be some in London who would rejoice at his passing, and heading that list would be his newly met English cousin, Mathew Joslyn.
Mathew had been furious that the title, long considered his, was going to an American and with it the Joslyn family fortune and estates. "A bloody, half-breed colonist, Viscount Joslyn? It is an insult!" Mathew snarled at their first meeting three months ago in October in the London solicitor's office.
Barnaby didn't blame Mathew for being angry. In Mathew's shoes he might have felt the same way, but he wasn't about to allow the slur to pass. "You are mistaken," Barnaby drawled. "It was my grandmother who was half-Cherokee." He smiled, showing his excellent teeth. "But I warn you—you would be wise not to use that term again in my hearing. As for being a colonist ..." His black eyes full of mockery, he continued. "I think you forget that America gained her independence from Britain a decade ago. I am a citizen of the United States."
"Very well," Mathew snapped, his cheeks faintly flushed, "but it is insupportable that someone like you should think to step so easily into command of my great-uncle's estates. Good God, man, you don't know the first thing about running an estate like Windmere. You're little more than a backwoods upstart!"
Barnaby held on to his temper with an effort, thinking that it wouldn't help his cause any if his first act as Lord Joslyn was to throttle his cousin. He took a deep breath and, letting that last comment ride for now, said curtly, "I would remind you that I am not uneducated and that I have been overseeing my own plantation in Virginia for a number of years. I'll grant you that Green Hill is not as vast as Windmere—there will be differences, but I'm quite capable of managing Windmere."
Mathew's lips tightened. "Perhaps, but you are a fool if you think that someone with a grandmother who is a half ... uh, part savage will be eagerly accepted by the ton as Viscount Joslyn."
"Considering the situation with France, you should be more worried about the fact that my grandmother's father was a Frenchman," Barnaby retorted. The expressions of horror on the faces of those present at this new abomination had Barnaby biting the inside of his cheek to keep from grinning. His gaze swept the handsome room, and with his foes momentarily silenced, he rose to his impressive height and walked to the door. His hand on the knob, he looked back at Mathew and said softly, "Upstart I may be, but I've never lived in the backwoods and you, sir, can go hang—and for all I care, take the damn title with you!"
It had been a pleasurable moment, but as he lifted his face above the next wave and the cold seeped deeper into his bones, Barnaby tried to remember the events leading up to his present predicament, but his thoughts were sluggish and erratic. Like a serpent curling around its prey, the icy water was inexorably draining the life from him and with every second, his will to survive wavered.
It would be so easy, so simple, he thought, to let the storm have its way, so easy to stop fighting and allow himself to be pulled down into the depths.... A wave slapped him in the face, startling him and shattering the seductive song of death that crooned in his head.

Dialogue Highlight:

Mathew was surprised to see that Barnaby had company. His annoyed expression immediately changed. Smiling politely at Anne and Emily, he said, “I beg your pardon, ladies. I did not realize my cousin had visitors.”
“We are not visitors exactly,” Anne said after acknowledging the newcomers. “Lord Joslyn rescued us when our buggy was stuck in a ditch and our mare went lame. After helping us free the vehicle, he graciously offered us shelter.” She smiled at Barnaby. “He was most gallant.”
Mathew, looking as if he had swallowed a hedgehog, murmured, “Really? How, er, heroic of him.”
Barnaby, lounging at one side of the table, his long legs stretched out in front of him, grinned. “Even we crude Americans know how to do the right thing, cousin.”
“I don’t believe that my brother,” said Tom Joslyn austerely, “ever called you crude.”
“No,” said Simon, walking over to help himself to a cup of coffee, “Matt never called him crude, but I seem to remember –“ he smiled wickedly and looked at his eldest brother – “that you referred to him as that ‘uncouth barbarian.’”
“Uncouth?” Barnaby asked, a gleam in his black eyes. “Surely not.”
Mathew flushed and said testily, “You know we have had our differences, cousin, and in a moment of anger I may have allowed my tongue to run away with me. Under Barnaby’s calm gaze, he almost fidgeted. Stiffly, he added, “I apologize.”
Emily’s eyes went from one man to another searching for the family resemblance. She could find little beyond the impression that Lord Joslyn and Mathew had a shared ancestry. Lord Joslyn was big and tough looking, his features lacking the Greek perfection of Mathew’s and, as she had though earlier, even seated, Lord Joslyn commanded the attention of everyone in the room. She bit her lip to keep from smiling. Compared to Lord Joslyn, Mathew, a noted Corinthian, more resembled a pretty Pink of the ton. While Lord Joslyn … She swallowed. Lord Joslyn looked like a lazy tiger sizing up his prey … very large, very powerful and dangerous …
“Oh, for God’s sake, climb down off your high horse and help yourself to something to eat and sit down,” Barnaby said without heat. “I’m sure if positions were reversed, I would have called you a great many worse names.”
“Handsomely done,” murmured Simon.
“Yes, it was,” Barnaby agreed. Smiling at Simon, he added, “And you need to quit throwing the cat amongst the pigeons.”
Simon looked crushed. “But how else shall I find entertainment?” he asked mournfully, the blue eyes dancing.
“Oh stop trying to act like a court jester and behave yourself,” Tom said, approaching the sideboard. After pouring himself some coffee, he took a sip and made a face. “Good Gid! This is colder than yesterday’s porridge. Ring for Peckham and order us some hot coffee”
Barnaby’s brow lifted, his eyes, their expression unreadable, on Thomas unreadable, but he said nothing. As the seconds passed, Thomas’s cheeks deepened to a hard red. Barnaby let him dangle for a moment longer, then breaking the growing tension, said softly, “You know where the bell rope is … With my permission you may ring for him.”
“I d-d-didn’t mean t-t-to be rude,” Tom stuttered. “It is just that …”
“I know,” Barnaby said wearily, “until a few months ago, your brother was considered heir to all of this and you all we used to running tame through the place and treating it as your own.”
Her sympathy aroused, Anne said, “This must be very hard for all of you.”
“Not for me,” Simon said cheerfully, making himself comfortable beside Emily at the table, He grinned at Emily. “I was never in the running for the title.”
Emily grinned back at him. “I know that, you fool, and so does everyone else.”
“Fool?” Simon clutched his chest. “Fair maiden, how can you be so cruel? Your words have cut me to the quick. I shall never recover.”
Barnaby’s eyes narrowed at the easy intimacy between Emily and Simon. He hadn’t missed the smile or the wink Simon had sent her when he walked into the room either. He liked Simon. He hoped he wasn’t going to have to show the impudent cub his punishing right.


I requested to review this title because I had previously read one of Ms. Busbee’s novels and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy this book as well, but I struggled a bit. Upon discovering that this book is the 5th in the series, I did a bit of research to find out whom the previous books were about. I was astonished to find that I did not recognize a single name in the 4 previous books. If any other characters mentioned in the blurbs were any part of this book, it was so fleeting that I never picked up on it. This puzzles me and now I am not much inclined to read the previous books. I am thinking that the Becomes Her series is more of a theme than of intertwined characters revisited however briefly. 

That said, I found this book enjoyable. Ms. Busbee has a talent for writing larger-than-average books and never stopping to slow down one bit. From start to finish, something is always happening. Her characters are enjoyable and most possess a likeable amount of wit. Each has their strength and, opposingly, their weakness. But the characters together form a rather vivacious group that can’t help but be liked. Ms.Busbee has a knack for bringing together a little bit of everything within her characters and their interactions, which adds a great amount of depth to her characters. 

Barnaby is the American newcomer to the ton. He almost represents the perfectly created hero with every trait appreciated in HR from America to England. Emily is similar in her traits, though solely from England, she represents a proper member of the ton while balking at areas of respectability in secretive exploits. As a pair, they fit together perfectly. Also appreciated are the several secondary characters, most of which I included in the dialogue highlight. Many of them I enjoyed. Mathew for example struggles to maintain a balance between hating what Barnaby took from him, but behaving respectably, and also grudgingly liking the man. I also very much liked Cornelia, the head-strong Aunt who is quite a wonderful character. 

But I got lost by the end of the story. Perhaps “lost” is not precisely to correct word. There was so much left unfinished. Jeffrey goes untouched and basically unmentioned toward the last quarter of the book as does Anne and Hugh. At one point, I sensed an air of doom to befall Cornelia, but it never occurred. Mrs. Gilbert and her brood become virtually non-existent toward the end as well. Many of the key players in the beginning of the book seem to wither away and end up simply gone  at the conclusion. But there never really was a conclusion. No justice mete out and a cruel gang leader escapes with barely a hair out of place. I can only hope that this means there is more to come, which is why I looked back to the previous books. But based on what I saw, it will not. In the end I would say that there were too many characters and way too much plot. It is almost cruel to introduce so many, throw them under a bus, and then wrap up the book with so much unfinished business. 

Maybe it is just me, but I am still sitting here thinking “What the hell just happened?” I can’t figure it out. Maybe someone else knows and can lift this crap feeling I have at not having any idea why a book would be ended in such a way. Rest assured, I will be looking to see if any of these characters return, but at this time, hope seems futile. Maybe I just pay too much attention. In any case, this book is still enjoyable and packed full of action. As far as sexual tension, it is well written and what I would consider tame. Not a bad thing at all. I only wish the characters I enjoyed so much at first hadn’t become lost by the end and that more loose ends had been tied up. If not for my slight feeling of betrayal at the rushed ending and missing characters, I would have easily been able to rate this novel a 5. But my sense of loss will not allow it. 

Paperback provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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