Eloisa James writes exceptionally good novellas. I can't imagine how hard it is to create a strong, memorable romance in roughly 100 pages, but James does it every time (Courtney Milan is the only other author who does an equally good job). In a surprising, if mildly frustrating twist, James' new novella, With This Kiss, is being released in three-part serial form over the next three weeks.
Summary: Lady Grace Ryburn, the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Ashbrook, has fallen wildly in love with Colin Barry, a dashing young lieutenant serving his country in the Royal Navy. When he returns home to exuberant celebrations, will he even notice the quiet wallflower he grew up with … or will he fall for Grace's sparkling, gorgeous sister? - Goodreads
My thoughts: If you enjoy delayed gratification, download the first part of With This Kiss right now. In a short 30 pages, Eloisa James crafts a completely believable unrequited love story that ends on a heart-wrenching cliffhanger. If you're the type of reader who wants your happily-ever-after asap (I confess to being one of these), you might want to wait until March 26 to get all three parts together and read them in one sitting.
Lady Grace Ryburn is the daughter of Theo and James from The Ugly Duchess (my review here). Grace's parents' happy ending was hard-fought and they're determined their children won't face the same trials by marrying too young. Unfortunately, Grace has been in love with Colin Barry (son of Griffin and Phoebe of Seduced by a Pirate) since she was ten years old. Grace is very much like her mother, a plain and shy girl who is generous to those she loves and has a desperate desire to sparkle. Poor Grace has always been overshadowed by her vivacious and beautiful younger sister, Lily.
Colin is constrained by the duty he fails to follow in his adopted father's footsteps by going to sea. Despite his quick rise through the ranks of the Royal Navy, Colin isn't cut out for bloodshed and war. Over the years, Grace's frequent letters to him become Colin's lifeline, his connection to his family and civilization. For Grace, the letters are an act of love, a way to indirectly demonstrate her feelings for Colin.
I love stories where couples gradually fall in love via letter (Lisa Kleypas' Love in the Afternoon is my favorite) and With This Kiss is an interesting twist on this. It's a one-sided love story in which one party falls in love without without realizing it and without even actively participating in the correspondence. Eloisa James makes this relationship work, however, and creates an intense and believable romance. There isn't much physical action in this book but there is the promise of great, steamy things to come and trust me, Parts Two and Three, are plenty steamy.
A note on pricing: With This Kiss (Part One) is a 30-page electronic novella priced at $0.99. As You Wish, a paperback that contains the entire With This Kiss novella plus Seduced by a Pirate (my review here) will be available on March 26, priced at $5.99.
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
Length: 30 pages
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.