Today's featured book is a mish-mash of many intriguing genres. A Gentleman and a Rogue by Stephanie Burkhart is a unique read and an enticing continuation of her Windsor Diaries series. Keep reading to get my impressions of this book and make sure to leave a comment for your chance to win some great prizes for US READERS!
Royals Edmund and Alice Windsor return to 2011 only to discover their world is now powered by gasoline and electricity - not compressed natural gas. Their attempts to persuade their grandmother, Queen Anne II, falls on deaf ears. Taking matters into their own hands, they enlist Jonas Byron's help and travel back to 1855 to set the time line right.
Now in Lincoln, Edmund is reunited with Lady Keira Russell, the love of his life, but if it isn't one obstacle, it's another. Keira does not want to fall in love with him again. Jonas Byron has taken up with Keira's father to build a windmill, and Edmund's brother, Richard, the Guardian of the Time Machine, has followed Edmund to ensure Queen Victoria makes the right decision when choosing the fuel of the future. Edmund has a choice - make mischief to ensure time marches to the beat of the right drummer, or trust in Keira and her belief that Queen Victoria will make the right decision on her own. Will Edmund lost Keira for good if he makes the wrong choice?
Edmund stood next to Keira and placed his hand in the small of her back. "She's brilliant, don't you think?"
"A girl after your own heart, I see."
"Alice may have popped my dirigible, but I respect her all that much more for doing it."
"You are incorrigible."
"Come, let's talk." He guided her away from the desk and next to the window. The drapes
were pulled back, allowing the dim, natural light from the stars and moon to filter into the room. Keira's heart pounded in her chest. Determined to stay strong in Edmund's tempting presence, she crossed her arms.
"Did you tell me everything back in my study?" she whispered.
He looked her over seductively, talking softly. "I told you I would the next time I saw you, and I have."
He placed his hand on her shoulder, trailing his finger up the soft skin of her neck, cupping her cheek. His eyes never left hers. "I want to see you again. Soon."
"It isn't wise."
"I know. I don't care." His voice grew low and husky.
Keira hesitated. Her body thrummed with warmth from his touch. Uncomfortable heat
pooled in her core. She tried to fight, to set her resolve and step away from him, but she couldn't. His gaze riveted on her face and moved over her body slowly. "I didn't forget you. I couldn't. You're never far from my thoughts."
Logic. She needed logic. "You're from the future. I'm your past."
He shrugged. "I don't see it that way."
Her knees weakened. "How do you see it?"
"I see a woman who enjoys being around me, who looks into my eyes with honesty and
sincerity. She's clever and knows her own mind. She accepts me for what I am -- mischief and all."
She swallowed. Edmund made her toes curl. His thumb gently stroked her jaw, stoking the growing desire for him in her heart.
"This is impossible. You and me and time traveling..."
"No, it's not. Look at Alice and Grayson. It works for them."
She placed a hand over his heart, unable to resist. "I have to find a man in my own time."
"You have. You've found me." He put his hand over hers and squeezed her fingers gently.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
A Gentleman and a Rogue is the second book in Stephanie Burkhart's Windsor Diaries series and in my opinion it's a necessity to read the books in order. I had great difficulty getting into this book as so much of the action is contingent on events that happened previously. I felt lost and overwhelmed when I first set out reading this but eventually got a greater understanding and ultimately found it to be a creative and enjoyable read. Ms. Burkhart employs numerous themes like time travel, real life historical individuals, science fiction, and steampunk in creating a fast-paced story addressing issues of today in a thoughtprovoking way.
Queen Victoria has decreed that a contest is to determine the type of energy their society will now use as events in the previous installment have completely changed the way people live setting them on a course of destruction. Characters from the previous book return to the past, where the majority of the book takes place, from the future to set things right in a storyline that keeps your pulse and head pounding at times with its complexity. With all the scientific jargon comes a pleasant romance reuniting lovers from the previous release with the sexual tension between them still as potent.
Edmund and Keira make a delightful couple! They're both extremely intelligent and the banter between them is fast-paced and witty. It's definitely a battle of the sexes where a HEA is their reward. With the Fate of the world hanging in the balance and with time-travel endangering the world the more it's used it's an unconventional ending that keeps you guessing until the very end. Along with a main couple that you can't help but be drawn to comes the couple from the previous release returning to offer support. Having so many brainiacs in the group makes the storyline more plausible and easier to immerse yourself in. Ms. Burkhart's talent for writing descriptive scenes and presenting the past in a lively way also help in immersing yourself in the storyline.
Overall, despite its slow start and occasionally confusing storyline, I found myself in awe of Ms. Burkhart's talent in juggling so many different themes successfully. This story is both thoughtprovoking and emotional and keeps you guessing until the very end. The romance is at times heartbreaking yet ultimately richly rewarding in its creativity. Readers wanting a story dramatically different from what's come before will want to give this story a chance while waiting for the next installment.
My rating for this is a C+/B-
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate and is addicted to coffee. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.
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Stephanie will be awarding a $5.00 Starbucks GC to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop and a Grand Prize of a Coffee & Chocolate Basket: A Gentleman and a Rogue Coffee Mug, a Starbucks GC, Andes Chocolates, magnets, and a Lori Powell Original Book Bag (US ONLY), will be awarded to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
-To be entered, leave a comment, ALONG WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDY.
-Winners will be chosen randomly from all comments made throughout the tour, so the more you comment the greater your chances of winning. A list of all participating blogs can be found here.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 6/28.