Sunday, June 26, 2016

Review: Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries

Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries writing as Deborah Martin
Series: Wales, Book 1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781451665543
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Sabrina Jeffries Reading Order

New York Times bestseller Sabrina Jeffries reignites a daring love affair in this intriguing tale of desire and deception—originally written as Deborah Martin and newly revised for today’s audience.

The first wedding night that Lady Juliana St. Albans spent with the dark and daring Rhys Vaughan was intoxicating, the heady culmination of her new husband’s driving hunger and her own awakened sensuality. When he mysteriously disappeared the next morning, she waited for him in hope and desperation. And when he was finally proclaimed dead in a shipwreck, she bitterly mourned the loss of her love.

The second wedding night that Juliana spent with Rhys Vaughan was six years later, after he returned to claim her just as she was about to wed another. This Rhys was different—bolder, harder, and convinced that she’d betrayed him. Only their blazing passion remains from their years apart. But is it enough to light their way through the maze of mystery, menace, and mistrust—to the love they once shared and would have to find again?

I love a good second chance romance, and Stormswept is a passionate, compelling one. Rhys and Juliana’s story is one of love, betrayal, heartbreak, bitterness, and hope.

When they first meet, Rhys is a Welsh radical and the son of a disgraced squire and Juliana is a young English lady and the daughter of the man who stole Rhys’s family estate. The attraction is instantaneous and the two of them are so young and sweet you can’t help but smile as they fall in love. It’s their innocence – Juliana’s in particular – that is also their downfall, as Juliana’s brothers have Rhys impressed in the navy and she is manipulated into keeping her marriage a secret. I’m so glad we spend a significant amount of time with Juliana and Rhys when they were younger, because that brief happy period for them sets the foundation for the book and brings hope to the dark road ahead.

When Rhys returns six years later, he’s got vengeance on his mind and he blames Juliana for what was done to him. Rhys’s anger and his determination to believe the worst of Juliana makes the road to happily ever after turn into an uphill battle for our kind heroine. Juliana is sweet and generous, but she isn’t crushed by the force of her husband’s bitterness. She goes toe-to-toe with him, and can out-stubborn him when she needs to. Their battle of wills is tempered slightly by the attraction between them that neither can deny. It’s that passion, that great chemistry between them, that keeps Stormswept moving at a fast pace. Add in the infrequently seen (in historical romance) backdrop of Wales and the bits of Welsh history and poetry woven into the story, and I was hooked.

I’m a big fan of Sabrina Jeffries’s writing, so of course I was delighted to read this story, which was first published in 1995 when Ms. Jeffries was writing as Deborah Martin. I haven’t read the original, so I’m not sure how much was revised for this reissue, but the tone of this story is markedly different from Ms. Jeffries’s more modern works. Stormswept still has that 90s historical romance feel, with its darker, less endearing heroes, and I enjoyed the change of pace. I may never have adored Rhys, but I still thoroughly enjoyed his and Juliana’s romance. Stormswept is a rich, emotional read with interesting characters and a heroine you have to cheer on as she fights for the man she loves and the life they could have together. I thoroughly enjoyed Stormswept and I hope to read more of Ms. Jeffries’s Deborah Martin titles.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.