by Anna Campbell
I discovered Liz Carlyle fairly late in the piece, thanks to my wonderful writer friend Christine Wells who is a long-time fan. It's wonderful when you discover a great author who's got a BACKLIST!!!! Yum!
So I'm gradually catching up on the older Liz Carlyles and gaining a lot of reading pleasure as a result. Still got a couple to go. And in the meantime, I'm reading the newer stuff. Given that all her books are linked, I'm beginning to feel a bit like a time traveller, but that's OK. A bit of dizziness is welcome when the stories are as delicious as these.
WICKED ALL DAY is the second in the current series. The first was the luscious TEMPTED ALL NIGHT. The books will stand alone and my experience indicates you don't have to read them in order. But having said that, it's nice to see how the different threads of the stories weave together.
Zoe Armstrong is the Marquess of Rannoch's troublesome daughter who has inherited far too much of her father's stubbornness, temper, spirit and determination to settle into life as a decorous Regency miss. Zoe is wild and inclined to kick over the traces at the slightest - or sometimes even no! - provocation. She's spectacularly beautiful and in possession of a huge dowry, thanks to her father who loves her dearly even though he struggles to control her unruly ways.
Zoe has received a number of offers of marriage and has refused them all. Her father is at his wit's end as to how he can settle this passionate, difficult child who is so close to his heart. Because Zoe has one insurmountable mark against her in the Regency marriage market - she's illegitimate. And while she's tolerated in society because of her connections and her dowry and her beauty, her outlandish behavior through several Seasons threatens to make her persona non grata outside her family.
Then disaster strikes. Zoe and her distant cousin Robin Rowland are caught in each other's arms in a private room at a ball. She's forced to accept Robin as her betrothed to avoid a major scandal.
Robin and Zoe have always been best friends, a pair of mischief makers in league against the world, so this arrangement should suit everyone. Unfortunately, Robin is in love with another woman and while he lines up to do the honorable thing, his wretched unhappiness casts a blight on the whole family and particularly on Zoe. Zoe too comes to loathe her engagement, not just because it has changed Robin, but because she gradually realizes that while she loves Robin like a brother, the man she loves like a soul mate is his older brother, Stuart, the Marquess of Mercer.
Stuart is of a type that is among my favorite romance heroes. The pattern of perfection, the high stickler, the immovable object. He's long been aware of Zoe's manifold attractions, but her wildness convinces him they would be utterly miserable together. He's held himself at a distance from her since a passionate kiss many years ago because he knows if he comes within range of the woman who fascinates him so powerfully, he'll forget good sense and fall under her spell. Zoe, who as a girl hero worshipped Stuart, has been hurt by his coldness in recent years, so the estrangement has only worsened.
Now Stuart is trapped in a nightmare where Zoe is to marry his brother. He has no hope of ever escaping her - and worse, he'll have to treat her as his beloved brother's wife, a member of his family. Understandably, he's in complete emotional turmoil for much of the story!
So we have a number of classic plot devices set up. The stick-in-the-mud hero and the headstrong heroine struggling against blazing attraction. Forbidden love that won't be gainsaid. Childhood affinity developing into a mature passion.
A family party in the country provides ample opportunity for confusion and mayhem. While Zoe and Stuart's romance is tempestuous and occasionally heart-wrenching, the secondary characters add enormous richness to the story. Robin in particular will touch you, as he struggles to change from a good-time Charlie to a man worthy of the woman he loves and of Zoe, who he loves like a sister. One of the many things I admire about Liz Carlyle's books is that while she often includes a cast of thousands, none of these people are cyphers. All are individuals with important roles in the story. Carlyle puts her characters into motion and the reader lies back with a big smile on her face and watches the increasingly complicated events unfold until the blissfully happy ending.
Oh, and did I mention the love scenes? Liz Carlyle does some of the best in the business. It's been a hot summer here in Australia but believe me, reading this book made it a HOT summer! And she writes like an angel with a wit and a wisdom that make her books keepers for me.
Be warned - when you pick up WICKED ALL DAY, it will make you READ all day!
I couldn't agree with you more, Anna, on all accounts. Her backlist are all wonderful reads. So rich and so intense. Yum! Liz Carlyle is brilliant. I loved reading Zoe's story with little glimpses of past characters.ReplyDelete
I am chomping at the bit for the next book in the series.
Hey, Santa, didn't know you were a fellow LC fan although I should have. Isn't she great? Her characters are so incredibly real. I keep haunting the Book Depository hoping the new one is up (this morning, in fact!) but no luck as yet.ReplyDelete
What a title! And that woman on the cover!! Makes me want to be wicked all day too. I have an order in at Amazon but I'm thinking before I hit the pay-all-my-money button, I might have to add a Carlyle to it! And like you, I love finding an awesome author with an equally awesome backlist. It's going to be a winter of reading. Yay =)ReplyDelete
Ooh, now I know what to spend my gift voucher on--Liz Carlyle's back catalogue! WICKED ALL DAY sounds, as you say, wonderful. Thanks, Anna!ReplyDelete
Bronwyn, is Liz C new to you? I think you'll love her. Actually the first one I read and still one of my favorites is The Devil to Pay. Love it when the hero gets tied up by the heroine ;-) If you're getting Wicked All Day, I'd really recommend getting Tempted All Night as well - they're a series. Tempted All Night is an absolutely delicious read too.ReplyDelete
Happy birthday for yesterday, Miss Vanessa. Although your birthday is still alive in parts of America. I really love LC which I think is pretty obvious from the review! It's really smart romance and she really understands the heart. Wonderful stuff!ReplyDelete
Sounds like a keeper!! I love that kind of hero too :)ReplyDelete
Carrie, there's something really enchanting in seeing Mr Perfect getting rattled by love, isn't there? It never fails for me!ReplyDelete
I've been a fan of LC since I picked up her Devil books. Giles from "A Deal with the Devil" is one of my favorite heroes.
Jane, I ADORE that book. I read it over my Christmas break this year and devoured it like chocolate (actually I devoured it WITH chocolate but that's another story). That's such a sizzling hot love story brimming with sexual tension, isn't it? And I loved the decrepit castle!ReplyDelete
Hapy Birthday, Vanessa!ReplyDelete
I'm still working through Liz Carylyle's earlier books, but never miss any now, Anna, autobuy for me. I liked Zoe in the first book, Tempted All Night (which is my favorite of these two). I, too, recommend getting both to meet Zoe first in TAN). Never Romance a Rake is another recent favorite of hers for me, too.
Anna, I am getting both. Along with Every Demon Has His Day by Cara Lockwood. I don't mind the odd paranormal fantasy... This book depository with free postage could be very dangerous to my bank account. I already spent 20 bucks on Blazes last night at Kmart too! Damn, my TBR shelf is going to need to be renovated and expanded =))ReplyDelete
Great review Anna. I enjoyed reading this one too. My favorite from LC so far is Two Little Secret. Can't wait fot her next book to come out !ReplyDelete
LOVE LOVE LOVE Liz Carlyle!!!ReplyDelete
She just keeps getting better, doesn't she, Anna? Great review, btw. I'm supposed to be in the writing cave but just had to pop in and make my devotion to a true goddess of historical romance (well, two including you, Ms. Campbell!) WICKED ALL DAY is a must read. I thoroughly recommend it.
Hi Anna, I know I can trust you to recommend a book I'll like and WICKED ALL DAY sounds wonderful. I so want more time to read!!! Can you recommend how to get that, too?ReplyDelete
Might have to buy this one to enjoy with chocolate--also as recommended--over the Easter break.
Oh, I have been reading Liz Carlyle for years, she is an auto buy for me. A set of my personal favs was the MacLachlan Family, The Devil to Pay, One Little Sin, Two Little Lies, Three Little Secrets, totally awesome series IMO.ReplyDelete
Great review Anna!ReplyDelete
I haven't read any Liz Caryle....yet. I will be heading out to the bookstore today and will be adding her books to my TBR list!
Hey Anna!! Sounds like a delicious novel, and one that I would thoroughly enjoy.ReplyDelete
Isn't it so much fun to discover a new-to-you author that has several books just waiting for you to read? I love it!!
Oh my gosh, Anna, I had to come in and comment--so glad to see someone else who loves Liz's writing as much as I do! We've been cps since way back before either of us were published--I knew the first time I read her that she was going to be a star!ReplyDelete
Her next book is due out this fall and is the start of a whole new series--I can't wait until you get a taste of it!
OK Anna, you've convinced me - as you always do - I'm going to have to read this one. It sounds like a Sondheim play - and I do love me some Sondheim. I'm particularly partial to the tension created by the stick in the mud hero who is both entranced and frightened by the headstrong heroine. My kind of book.ReplyDelete
Oh Anna, you must read NO TRUE GENTLEMAN! It is my favorite Carlyle book. Max DeRohan is my type of hero, passionate, strong yet vulnerable. He reminds me of some of your leading men.ReplyDelete
Hey, great review, Miss Anna! I like books/authors that have wit in the stories. I haven't read Liz Carlyle before. I can't believe how many great stories I hear or read about and have missed picking up. I am putting LC on my TBB list.ReplyDelete
As always, Anna, you give me more new books to add to my massive TBR mountain. :-)ReplyDelete
BTW, I love the cover of WICKED ALL DAY!
Another great review, Anna! Count me among the Liz Carlyle fans. I started reading her with A Woman Scorned, which I loved. I think that was her second book, and I don't think I've missed one since. The Neville books have all been wonderful, and I'm eager for One Touch of Scandal. October 1 is the release date on my book calendar. :)ReplyDelete
What a luscious cover! And your review makes me yearn for a peek at that backlist...ReplyDelete
Pam, I'm still catching up on that particular trilogy but I loved Never Romance a Rake. So glad you're another fan!ReplyDelete
Bronwyn the Book Depository is sadly addictive. I just ordered another book there this morning - they're very cruelly running a list of recommended reading over at the Banditas and one of the books sounded absolutely fascinating. Oh, well, at least books aren't fascinating! Be interesting to see what you think of the Liz Carlyles. Please let us know.ReplyDelete
Emmanuelle, all the One, Two, Three books are still waiting for me. I save them up for a time when I can really wallow in the story. Looks like I've landed in a nest of fellow Liz Carlyle fans here. Fantastic!ReplyDelete
Hey, Christine, great to see you here. I was going to give you a hoy but then I thought I probably should leave you to your writing. So glad you popped by. Isn't LC great? Seriously, I'm eternally grateful you pointed me in her direction. She never disappoints and I love the way she weaves the different characters through the stories. I think my favorite is actually the elegant, rather camp fence!ReplyDelete
Kandy, actually I'm doing more reading this year, making time for it. It was really hurting my writing not reading - there's something about one that feeds into the other. I think you'll love the Liz Carlyles - with or without chocolate, although of course chocolate never hurts!ReplyDelete
Dianna, now I'm really champing at the bit to get to the One, Two, Three books. But I have a book of my own to finish first. I've promised myself a couple of reading days to celebrate finishing the draft (hopefully this week) so I might just have to read some of those Liz Cs piled up on the bedside table! So glad you're a fellow fan!ReplyDelete
Oh, Cyndi, fantastic! A convert! I bet you love her stuff! Thanks for swinging by the review.ReplyDelete
Buffie, I think because I've been reading romance so long, a lot of the new authors I discover are just that, NEW authors. So no backlist. It's wonderful that I'm still picking my way through Liz Carlyle's backlist. As I said, I ration then like the world's best chocolate. I think she'd appeal to you!ReplyDelete
Ooh, Deb, you wicked tease! Her next book which obviously you have read - I caught the gloating smile, m'dear! I'm such a huge fan - I was lucky enough to meet Liz in San Francisco and I think I was a bit gaspy and giggly and made a complete fool of myself. Snork!ReplyDelete
Marisa, I kept think of A Little Night Music when I read it too. And it's got that lovely lightness of the musical, for all that there is that depth of emotion as well. Yes, very like a good Sondheim! Lovely to see you here - I've missed you, hon! I'm surprised you haven't read Liz C before - she strikes me as a writer who would appeal to you.ReplyDelete
Scorpio, wow, I'm utterly flattered by the comparison. I've read No True Gentleman and I just loved Max. And I love the way he pops up in later stories. He's SUCH a fascinating character. One of the things I love about a Liz C read is that she gives us such a variety of characters, and they're all delicious.ReplyDelete
Deb, seriously, give Liz C a go. I think you'll love her. And she's a really elegant writer too which I think you'll appreciate. Hey, cool, another convert!ReplyDelete
Gannon, Liz gets the most delicious covers, doesn't she? I loved the One, Two, Three series too which were all really rich colors. Yum. Hey, cool, another convert. You'll love Liz C. She's right up your alley.ReplyDelete
Janga, I haven't read those really early ones. They're on the pile. I came into the books with the Devils. Gradually making my way back through them, though. Hey, thanks for the recommendation of the Leslie Carroll over at the Bandits, by the way. I ordered the affairs book this morning - it sounds great! And thanks for letting me know about the new one - I can stop gazing longingly at my computer screen for a little while, snork!ReplyDelete
Hey, Julia, definitely think LC will appeal to you. She's a really smart writer. Happy reading!ReplyDelete
you have done it again, introducing me to yet another writer I have not had the privilege to read, thanks so much!
The plot is tried and true, but if done right can be engaging, and what you so wonderfully describe here sounds like it is just up my alley. Oh, and hot love scenes always a plus! LOL!
Thanks again Anna, another to add my list!
Hey, Drew, Liz is new to you too, is she? Seriously, I think you'll like her. As you'll gather from the comments, she has a lot of really avid readers! And you know how I love to pile the books onto your TBR pile, LOL!ReplyDelete
Oh, Anna, your wonderful reviews almost always convince me to try another new-to-me author! Liz Carlyle is one of those authors. And it's part of a series -- even better! Thank you so much for the terrific review!! Off to order....ReplyDelete
Andrea, how cool that the review is encouraging you to pick up the books! My work is done, LOL! I'm really looking forward to hearing what you all think of Liz's stuff. I think she's one of the best writers in romance right now.ReplyDelete
Another terrific review, Anna! I love Liz Carlyle's books. I have this one in my tbr but haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'm thinking I may need to push it up to the top of the pile. :)ReplyDelete
I'm like Christine Wells, a long time fan of LC- particularly love Never Romance a Rake. Adore those bad boy heroes.
And can't wait to read this new one. Thanks for tantalizing me.
PJ, I had a feeling you'd already be a fan. She's great, isn't she? There are some authors you just wish wrote faster, LOL! I thought this was a really luscious read. I'm sure you will too.ReplyDelete
Hey, Miss Suzi, congratulations on your placing in the Linda Howard Award. Yay, you! So glad you already love LC. She's wonderful. I love the complexity of her characters - they really do have the vividness of real life. Actually The Devil to Pay, her first one I read, was a bad boy hero too. But he was a slightly bewildered bad boy and he was just delicious.ReplyDelete
I've always enjoyed Liz Carlyle's books. I've gotten behind lately and need to catch up.. Will have to make sure I get this pair soon.ReplyDelete
I know that I’m a bit late , but I just had to chime in. Liz Carlyle is one of my favorite authors. Her characters are three dimensional and complex. Her writing style is warm and witty and very intimate. When you are done reading one of her stories you truly feel like you really “know” the characters. Because Carlyle has the ability to delve deeply into her characters’ feelings and motivations …with out bogging down the story. Another thing that sets an LC story apart from many of her peers is that she do not shy away from uncomfortable subjects. One of my favorite reads is her book “A Lady of virtue”. A story in which the heroine is at odds with her attraction to a man who almost raped her. Liz Carlyle is an Incredible writer. And yes … I have read and own all of her books.ReplyDelete
LibraryPat, I really enjoyed them as I think was clear from the review. Great to meet another fan. It's hard to keep up with all the great books, isn't it?ReplyDelete
Wow, Julie, I seem to be preaching to the converted when it comes to you and Liz Carlyle. I 100% agree with that assessment. I think that's one of the many reasons why her characters seem so incredibly real and alive to me when I'm reading the stories. I also like that she's not interested in perfect people - her characters have real flaws that they need to overcome and I always enjoy that in a story.ReplyDelete