Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review - - With This Kiss - Part One

With This Kiss
A Serial Romance - Part One
By Eloisa James
Publisher:  Avon Impulse
Release Date:  March 12, 2013

Lady Grace Ryburn has known Colin Barry her entire life.  Their parents are good friends; their fathers, cousins and former pirate partners. Grace, a quiet, intelligent and kind girl, has always held Colin in esteem but as an older brother or good family friend.  Until the summer twenty-year-old Colin returns from two years at sea:

The year Grace turned fourteen, Colin walked through the door in a uniform, and her heart gave one big thump and never beat exactly the same way again.

Colin Barry has always known he would need to earn his way in the world.  Adopted by Griffin and Phoebe Barry, Colin is not his father's heir but has always dreamed of following in Griffin's footsteps with a career at sea.  Four years in the Navy have taught Colin that while he loves the ocean, he has neither the heart nor the stomach for the fighting.  Grace determines to ease his time at sea by writing him letters filled with stories from home, many featuring Lily, Grace's two-years younger sister.  Where Grace prefers to be on the sidelines, Lily is the type of girl who loves being the center of attention, with a sparkling personality that draws people to her like bees to honey.  Her antics provide excellent stories to ease a young man's weary heart, especially when told by Grace, a young woman with a gift for writing and a special talent for drawing the sketches she includes with her letters.

By the time Colin returns home in 1836, Grace, at nineteen, knows exactly how she feels and what she wants.  She's fallen deeply in love with Colin and has convinced herself that he feels the same. While Lily has taken the ton by storm, Grace, quiet and uncomfortable with the whole process, chooses to observe on the fringes, out of the spotlight.  She waits for Colin and is certain that this trip home will change everything.  It does, but not in the way she thinks.

He had been changed by the war, by the deaths he'd seen and the deaths he'd caused.  There was no going back, not when rivers of blood ran through a man's dreams.

Colin's soul is filled with darkness and Grace alone knows the anguish he endures.  When he arrives at the ball the Ryburns are attending, Grace waits in her most attractive dress but when he enters, it's the brightness, the gaiety, the sparkle of Lily that lights the darkness inside him and draws him to her like a moth to a flame.  This time, when Colin returns to sea, he unknowingly, in the way of clueless males everywhere,  leaves behind a heartbroken Grace.  He eventually realizes his stupidity as well as his true feelings for Grace but by that time, Colin is far at sea.  Grace has waited for him all these years and he hopes - prays - that she will continue to do so and that he will continue to remain injury-free to return home to her.  But Grace, whose love for Colin is deep and pure enough to want his happiness above her own, makes a heart-wrenching decision, stepping aside, giving her blessing for what she believes he most wants, and finally moving on.  She meets a Scottish lord who courts her, appreciates her for all her wonderful qualities and who never, ever gives her sister, Lily a second be continued.

From the very beginning, Eloisa James captivated me with this story.  The characters, Grace in particular, are so richly drawn that I felt as though I was right there at the Barry's summer home and, later, in London, living it with them.  The relationships are complex, with twists and turns that keep the reader engaged and the cliffhanger will have you counting the hours until Part Two is released next week.  I say this almost every time I read an Eloisa James book but it bears repeating.  Ms. James has a command of the English language that flows across the page like the notes of a beautiful song.  I don't so much read her words as feel them, such as in the following excerpt where Colin awakens to the difference between Lily and Grace:

It wasn't Lily's fault that she wasn't as intelligent as her sister.  Nor as witty and kind.  That wasn't fair:  Lily was kind.  But she was shallow compared to Grace.

She was a waltz, and Grace was a hymn.

Will Colin make it home in time to convince Grace she belongs with him?  Will Grace be happier with her Scottish lord?  What will happen with Lily?  We'll find out in Part Two!

With This Kiss is a serial romance, published in three weekly increments beginning March 12 and continuing with Part Two on March 19 and Part Three on March 26.  Each part can be purchased in digital format or readers may wait and purchase a print version of the entire story (all three parts) on March 26.

What do you think of the serial format?  Will you be giving it a try or waiting for the complete story in a print version?  Have you read Part One of With This Kiss?  What do you think will happen next?  I'm giving away three copies of With This Kiss, Part One to random commenters.  (If you already have Part One, I'll substitute Part Two when it releases on March 19.)


Review copy received from Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


  1. As I don't own an e-reader I will have to wait for it to come out in print. I don't like to read books on my computer. My chair's uncomfortable and the back screen is too bright for my eyes.

    It is an interesting concept. I can see it catching on.

    I think that Grace will continue with her plans to marry the Scottish lord. However, I think that in part 3 Colin will return in time to rescue her during the marriage ceremony before she says I Do.

  2. I have a hard enough time waiting for a book in a series to come out, so a serial would drive me nuts. I would wait for all of the parts/chapters/whatnot to come out in a full book before reading....

  3. I'm undecided about serials. If I like the first part, I'll finish the full book. I do like that this one is released weekly, so there's not much delay for installments. Also the price can't be beat.

  4. I prefer to read it all at once. But I do enjoy her books!

  5. Eloisa James has such a magic touch with fairy tale type novels and I am really looking forward to reading this series. I usually don’t care for series novels because they’re usually published so far part from one another that the reader (or may it’s just me!) tends to forget the general plot. However, I’m thinking that this series will not be hard to keep up with.

  6. I think I would rather read it all at once. I am not real fond of this idea.

  7. I don't like it drawn out. I didn't read it & I will wait for the print version. I don't mind book series, but I don't like the idea of one story in 3 parts. Like you, I love Eloisa's writing style & have never read a book by her that I didn't like, so I will definitely read this once the full story is out.

  8. I always prefered a paperback than a digital format. And since i know that it's a three-part, i'll wait for the complete version before reading. If i can stand the wait that is :D

  9. Thanks for the great post! I haven't tried one yet to be honest and I don't know if I will. I think that I'd rather wait for them all to be released and buy the bundle. But... I'm open to the idea...

  10. When I start a story, I like to read it straight through. That being said, having to wait allows me to think about the characters and the story. Anticipate what might happen and analyze what has already happened. Not a bad idea.

    I prefer print books, but am trying to switch over to e-books. I have no room for more bookcases.

  11. I'm fascinated by the new serials because they remind me of the serial publication of novels by authors such as Charles Dickens and Edith Wharton and by early romance novelists like Faith Baldwin and Kathleen Norris whose novels were published serially in women's magazines before they were released in full-length form. But I prefer reading the novel at once. I grow impatient waiting for the next book in a series to be released. With that said, I'll read whatever Eloisa James publishes in any form. I love With This Kiss!

  12. I'm undecided about reading serials. If they're priced right and don't exceed the cost of a full length print copy, then I might read one. I haven't done it yet, however.

  13. This is my first experience with a serialized novella and while I don't like the wait, I do love the stories/characters. These three parts are only spaced a week apart and are 99 cents each. For the enjoyment factor alone, that's pretty low cost. Eloisa said that the publisher wanted to have a two week wait between sections but she fought for only one week. Thank goodness! She even has a temporary Book Club on FB dedicated to WITH THIS KISS. It's a lot of fun to talk and speculate about the story with Eloisa and other readers. Here's a link to join if you're interested:!/groups/WithThisKiss/

    I'm a big fan of her writing, if you hadn't figured it out by my gushing. :D

    Marcy Shuler

  14. since I don't have an eReader I'll have to wait for the print version

  15. I'm kinda with Kim. Price is always a consideration with me. And I've got so many TBR on my list... I guess I just might wait til the print copy comes out.

  16. *swoons* She was a waltz; and Grace was a hymn...I LOVE THAT LINE!

    I will be reading it in print version; I don't like eReaders enough to bother. I'd rather have the whole thing than wait...I don't long for the days of Charles Dickens' drama. *LOL*