Friday, October 17, 2008

RAVENSTHORPE HEIR by Catherine Stang

Historical Romance/Suspense
New Concepts Publishing
Sensuality Rating: Sensual
ISBN# 1-58608
eBook - February 2007

Rating: 2 Enchantments

A never ending story of social restrictions, angst, self-doubt and a seemingly forced marriage.

Every generation feels that it is misunderstood and socially confined and can’t escape its past to move to better future. Ms. Stang provides an example with a twist – the setting is in the days of yore in not so merry ol’ England. The scene - a ball at the beginning of the social “season” in the mid 1800’s England. Enter stage left - Burke Steward, Duke of Ravensthorpe, a trouble guy full of self-loathing and a huge hero complex, and who according to local gossip, is more than a bit of scoundrel and rake, with quite the rep with the ladies. However, financial straits puts him on the path of reform to become a bit more respectable, or least respectable enough to marry some social climber with the cash to resolve his immediate problems and keep the social façade his family has built.

Enter stage right - Phoebe Walcott, sister of Percy Walcott, who like Burke, is another trouble man found in dire straits but with an apparently solid recourse to save himself - to sell his sister into a marriage to older, wealthy and sinister Lord. However his plans go awry when Burke’s hero complex emerges, forcing himself to save Phoebe by marrying her, despite his strong desire to not soil her with his reputation. Needless to say, sparks fly as the two fumble through learning to trust, love and help each other remove the social curses that afflict both their families. Add to this crazy mix, manipulating mothers, a once friend on the warpath to rectify a apparent wrong, and some lonely bystanders looking for love, home and hearth and you have the complete story.

Ms. Stang has the potential to create good imagery and story line; however in this work she has spoiled an essentially nice recipe with too many ingredients. The story in itself has a strong plot line, that if built with more focus and depth could be a nice series of books as each character has the potential to be a complete story in itself. Also, in attempting to resolve all the problems, she has skimped on the literary romantic imagery between the two key characters, which are essential in a great romance story.

Rowan E. Wagner
July 2007

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