TBR Day. Breathless / Anne Stuart. 2010

My TBR choice for this month has been sitting on my Kindle since it was released last October. Now I know that's not very long, but I only got my Kindle in September, so relatively speaking, it's been around. In addition, it turns out that this book fits the challenge theme of Ugly Ducklings pretty well because there are two couples featured in this book. Lucien, the main hero is badly scarred and walks with a limp. Meanwhile, Jane, the secondary heroine, is described as very plain and not at all attractive.

Breathless is the 3rd full-length installment of Anne Stuart's latest historical series called the House of Rohan. I read Ruthless and Reckless back when they came out in August and September respectively. Ruthless was an August Phave. I liked Reckless as well, but when I saw the plot for Breathless, I admit I put this on the back burner. Revenge plots usually don't work too well for me. Sadly, that was true for this book as well, although it did have some moments that were very entertaining.

Miranda Rohan is a ruined woman and lives in peace and quiet on the fringes of society. She is close to her family and her particular friend Jane, but is otherwise a bit lonely. Enter Lucien de Malheur, a man who seeks to avenge the death of his sister, a young woman who supposedly was driven to commit suicide by Miranda's older brother. At first Lucien plans to simply make Miranda a total outcast, but after he meets her he is attracted enough to change his plans. Instead, he'll force her into marriage and then cut her off from her family by leaving her abandoned on his remote country estate. The Rohans will lose their daughter/sister the just like he lost his sister. Although with any luck, he'll get some sex and a son/heir out of the deal.

In a nutshell, Lucien is a selfish, manipulative man and there is little in the book that made me at all sympathetic toward him. He is hell-bent on his revenge, yet in the end it seems that he admits awfully easily that his sister may be as much to blame for her own death as anyone else. We aren't told much about Lucien's background or the cause of his scars until late in the book. By then the only reason I was still reading is because I did like Miranda and I loved so much of the dialog between the two of them. Miranda is a practical woman who works hard to make the best out of her situation. She's biding her time until she can safely escape. In the meanwhile, she stands up to Lucien at every opportunity. I have to give Stuart credit here--Miranda is a great heroine and I loved her. It was just too hard to believe in Miranda and Lucien's future happiness together.

As I said, there's a secondary couple in the book. Miranda's friend Jane tries to help Miranda out of her predicament and she has an unlikely ally. Theirs is a sort of love at first sight relationship, which makes sense because Stuart couldn't devote a lot of attention to them. Jane is shy and timid, but she learns to act with courage because that is what Miranda would do if their roles were reversed. Jane's story was sweet.

I would say that if you're an Anne Stuart fan you'd want to read this book. If you're like me and are not fond of revenge stories you might want to give this one a pass.


  1. Hmm...I have never read an Anne Stuart book. When I was hunting for a book to match this month's theme, this was recommended to me. But I didn't have it in my TBR. I might try to pick up a used copy anyway to see what all the fuss is about.

  2. Amber, I think Stuart specializes in heroes who are "dark souls" for lack of a better term. She does it awfully well, too. I like most of her work. Sometimes, though, a book will fall short for me. It seems that other readers love her books or hate them. If you give this book a try, let me know what you think. As I said, parts of it are very well done, especially when Miranda stands up to and challenges Lucien.

  3. I've been so reluctant to pick up this series. I read the novella that opens it, and it didn't do much for me. Which made me so sad, because I totally <3 her historicals!

    I agree, she specializes in dark heroes, and I'd add morally ambiguous to that as well. And her heroines are often just teetering on TSTL, putting themselves in stupidly dangerous situations. But, like you said, it usually works.

    I gave up after the 2nd Ice book because the heroes just became assholes, and I couldn't find the redeeming qualities. And I so want to love this series, but I'm afraid I'll hate it.

    Pathetic, that's what I am to get all worked up over this, LMAO.

  4. Lori, you make me laugh!! I read the novella, too, and it has nothing to do with the rest of the series other than the name Rohan. As I said, I did really like Ruthless. The good news is that Miranda isn't a TSTL heroine in Breathless.

    And I totally get what you mean about the Ice series. I think her dark heroes need to be taken in small doses--in other words, I wouldn't read the Ice books back-to-back-to-back, etc. I read something on Stuart's blog that leads me to believe she's writing another Ice book. That could be interesting since it's been awhile since the last one.

  5. Hmm, I'm an Anne Stuart fan who's not fond of revenge stories...but I do like the Scarred Hero. Also, it's already in TBR...

  6. See, Victoria? I think you're going to have to read it!

    I did enjoy parts of it. It's just as a whole, I have a hard time believing that someone who devotes that much time and energy on his revenge can even see beyond it to fall and love and give it up. I think this is a case of me as a reader having a problem, not the author.


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