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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

If He’s Wild by Hannah Howell

If He’s Wild by Hannah Howell
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (342 pages)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

She Sees His Face Everywhere…

Lady Alethea Vaughn Channing is haunted by a vision of a man in danger—the same man who she has seen in dreams time and time again. She doesn’t even know his name, and yet she feels the connection between them, knows she is the only one standing between him and disaster.

…Yet They Have Never Met

But rakish Lord Hartley Greville is capable of protecting himself, as he has proven more than once in his perilous work as a spy for the crown. If he’s to carry out his duty, he’ll need to put aside the achingly beautiful woman with the strange gift. And yet, when Alethea’s visions reveal a plot that could endanger children, Hartley will not be able to ignore the destiny that binds them together—or resist the passion burning between them…

A widow and a rake are brought together by a horrifying premonition that takes them both on a journey into peril and adventure and left this reader breathless.

I don’t usually read historical romances. Something has to grab me and reel me in with an intriguing hook and Ms. Howell succeeded with flying colors. It was the paranormal aspect and the thought of taking a man of logic and making him a believer of all things unseen and the reality of love. The story had great suspense and excitement and a lot of interesting characters to flavor the environment. There was tragedy and sadness, hope and horror. The deviousness and viciousness of the villains was perfectly portrayed and the scope of their perfidy is unraveled like a ball of yarn. Each layer discovered moved the plot along and pitted the hero and heroine against was seemed like insurmountable odds. And through it all, the heroine was a peach and I adored her character.

Lady Alethea, a name I wish I knew how exactly to pronounce, is the heroine with a bit of extra specialness that starts the whole ball rolling. She has a prosaic attitude about whom fate has in store for her future mate. She didn’t start off thinking the hero was going to be more than just someone she had to warn about potential harm, but she soon learned differently the first time they looked into each other’s eyes. The romance started right then. It was pivotal and I loved how the hero was ensnared right from the get go. Not that they realized it was a budding relationship. That process was fun, you know, that slow stumbling along as things accidentally get revealed and they take on a life of their own. Lady Alethea isn’t one to observe life but jumps right in because she feels it’s her duty and her obligation – at first. Soon she discovers feelings for the reluctant hero and I enjoyed her deviations into sensual wonderings. The reasons for her doing everything become very personal indeed. Also, there are many humorous moments throughout the story. One of my favorites is when she was caught red handed with a certain kind of book and the resulting scene was quite…let’s just say I re-read that scene more than once. It was fun!

The man who has Alethea’s rapt attention is Lord Hartley. There is a lot to like about his character. I enjoyed his taste in friends. I was quite happy with how Ms. Howell had Hartley interact with his peers because it helped bring him more alive and made him more interesting. I loved the byplay between him, Aldus and Gifford, and the way they had each others’ backs. Not only that but I like the fact that they were employed in a very exciting profession. Little did they know that it was going to get even more exciting as the story unfolded and I enjoyed every minute of it. Hartley’s gradual acceptance of Alethea’s gifts was well done and sweet with quite a few moments of humor thrown in. I loved his strength, his vulnerability and his caring personality, once it was free to be expressed. Once he embraced the reality of the changes in his life, it was amazing. I really liked how Ms. Howell had him express his devotion and sincerity towards Alethea and eventually extending it to her whole family and relations. I also giggled over his marriage proposal. That was cute. The dastardly things done to him in the course of the story truly were effective and dramatic. I appreciated Ms. Howell letting me get into his thoughts during that time of stress. His inner dialogue was so interesting.

The villains in the story were really vile. The author did a great job of making me believe that there was no hope for redemption nor need for sympathy for these characters. They truly earned their comeuppance when it finally gets them. How it finally happens is a great bit of storytelling which kept me on the edge of my seat.

The happily ever after is awesome on so many levels. Not only do the hero and heroine finally get the peace they deserve and a bigger and stronger family unit because of it, but the ending is huggable. That’s the only thing I can think of to say. As far as a romance storybook ending it was perfect but there’s something else that happens that brought a huge smile to my face and a giggle too. I forgot to mention the cast of secondary characters. There were so many but they didn’t dilute the story or focus from the hero and heroine at all. It just made the story so much more fascinating for me and adventurous. Each one contributed something valuable to the tale.

If He’s Wild is a book that grabbed me and entertained me all the way through. I had such a fun time watching Alethea and Hartley fall in love despite all the plots against them and those they love. The author presented a well balanced story filled with intrigue, love, laughter and hope. I am so glad I read If He’s Wild and I think fans of historical romances and those of paranormal flair will flock to this book in droves. How can they not? This book rocks! I enthusiastically give this a five book rating.