Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review - - The Songbird's Seduction

The Songbird's Seduction
By Connie Brockway
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: September 16, 2014






Sometimes I think writing a book review is much like cooking a restaurant review:   I’m using the same craft to critique that at which the artist should be most skilled.   Not such a problem for me if said artist is mediocre.   I can comfortably pit my writing against theirs.  But a GIANT problem if said artist is that rarified breed of the best the industry has to offer.  

Let’s just say, dear book lover, that in this specific review of Connie Brockway’s The Songbird’s Seduction, I feel like I’m cooking you a TV dinner in the hopes you’ll somehow understand that Brockway’s book is a Michelin-starred restaurant.  

So there will be book quotes in this review. 

Because Brockway’s writing speaks far better for itself than I surely can.

And here’s where I squirm to give you broad strokes of the basic plot, which in no way speak to the sparking characters—one of whom is my favorite to date—nor do my broad strokes do justice to the entertaining dialog or adventurous plot:  

Experiences that would make a lesser woman bitter have made Lucy Eastlake--a young operetta singer in London--optimistic, charming, and refreshingly wise.   Orphaned at a young age, Lucy hopped from one house to another, finally settling in with two of her great-aunts, whose finances have been plummeting.   There is hope on the horizon, however, as a great fortune is to be granted to one of Lucy’s aunts, if Lucy can just get her to a small town in the Pyrenees to claim it.

Professor Ptolemy Archibald Grant has made himself into everything a professor should be: honorable, conservative, and predictable.  The problem is, when he’s asked by his grandfather to escort Lucy Eastlake and her aunts on their journey south, everything about the sparkling young singer brings out the opposite in Ptolemy.  Suddenly this tweedy scholar is hurtling 10 feet onto ferryboats, sneaking out of hotels in the middle of the night, pretending to be a gypsy, and fighting village brutes.   God forbid everything Lucy’s bringing out in him is his true self.

Once setting eyes on the gorgeous professor, Lucy sees him.  Not the him he’s trying to present to the world but the real man underneath.  And now Lucy’s doing everything in her power to show “Archie” a joyous time.   Because when you love a man, even one who’s planning to marry another, joy is a pretty strong thing to deny.   Love even more so.  

The Songbird’s Seduction has everything I want and expect in a Brockway book: original characters who are both astute and humorous, original writing, and a romance arc that encompasses the heart of what is important in life… at just the right pacing.  

What’s more, there are bits of sage wisdom sprinkled throughout the book, all present to show why Lucy is forever on my list of favorite heroines:

“[Lucy] couldn’t even console herself with the age-old excuse that she was in love and she wasn’t thinking.  Because wasn’t loving someone, really loving someone, actually thinking more?  Wasn’t it putting another’s best interests ahead of your own, making their happiness your priority?”  

Rarely is love twisted to show a person using their head.  

Or how about this bit of wisdom:

“[Archie had] been distracted by her, as though he saw in her something he recognized but couldn’t quite place.  Something he’d almost forgotten.  She knew, because she’d had the same sensation, except she remembered what it was she saw in him:   a feeling of being recognized, understood, and accepted.   Which is why he always knew when she was acting: because he knew, on some deep ineffable level, who she was when she wasn’t.” 

If that doesn’t speak to the true nature of love, I don’t know what does.

You can see why Lucy is the best Brockway has to offer, why this book resonates so deeply even while it makes a reader laugh. 

Speaking of laughter, there are too many instances where Lucy fairly sparkles off the page and you find yourself giggling in an empty room.   One such instance is the following when Lucy is thinking of the woman Ptolemy, the hero, intends to marry: 

“[Lucy] stared glumly at the road ahead, her conscience prickling annoyingly.  Fine, she supposed she ought to spend some time, at least a few minutes, considering that other woman’s feelings.
            She tromped along and considered them.
            They didn’t change a thing.”

Lucy is the sort of person who gently assumes people love her and so they do.   It’s a quiet kind of confidence and expectation that people line up to meet…. including me.   But Lucy doesn’t do it in a way that is arrogant.   No,  it comes from a place honed out of her personal tragedy.   It comes from charm fashioned out of the mess of pain.   And I’ve taken a lesson from it.

Do not miss this book.   It constricts your heart, makes you laugh, and introduces you to characters you wished graced your life in ways that extended well beyond the page.  

And if Lucy Eastlake were flesh and blood, I wouldn’t be attempting to write this review right now because she and I would be at one of those Michelin-starred restaurants having lunch.     Only the best food for the best sort of person!  

But there’s another part of me that thanks all that’s holy she lives in a romance novel.   Because I’d truly hate for her to have anything other than a happily ever after. 

J Perry Stone



14 comments:

  1. Thank you for the review. This sounds like a must read book, for all the right reasons, wonderful characters and a good story. I have several of Connie Brockway's books in my massive TBR pile. I will certainly be digging them out.

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  2. She never fails to surprise me, librarypat....a difficult thing to do as I've been reading for ages.

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  3. I am reading it now and bingo! You are spot on, Lucy!!! She has my utter devotion as a friend. I want her to be here in my life ! The book isn't so deep you drown but it has amazing depth of thought, reason an

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  4. Oops and love! I am lost in this story and I think Lucy is the main reason! Let's do lunch Lucy... What a joy it would be

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    1. She's both fun AND smart, isn't she, Hope?

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  5. I've not read her as yet but this review makes it sound like something very enjoyable - thanks.

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  6. I have listened to the 4 audio-books available at Audible UK and enjoyed them all. I particularly liked 'No Place for a Dame' with the female astronomer trying hard to get her discoveries recognised.

    The lovable heroine struggling to make headway in a male dominated world is a favourite theme of mine and Brockway handles it with brilliance and humour!

    'Songbird's Seduction' makes the fifth novel at Audible and I'm definitely going to buy .... thanks for the informative review. :)

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    1. Quantum, your enjoyment of her books only speaks to your stellar taste, my friend.

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  7. What a great review, PJ! I just took this out from the library & look forward to reading it!

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  8. I love Connie Brockway's books! But I had missed this one. Thanks for a great review and a nudge toward the bookstore. :-)

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  9. MILLE GRAZE, J PERRY. I'm so pleased you like it.

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