The Gift by Julie Garwood
Series: Crown's Spies #3
Published by Dutton on Dutton (June 7, 2011)
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A child bride, Sara Winchester had grown into a winsome beauty, joyfully anticipating the day when her husband Nathan, Marquess of St. James, would return to claim her heart at last. Charmingly innocent, she dismissed the ancient feud that divided Nathan's family from her own...and she was totally unaware of his past exploits as the notorious pirate, Pagan. The man who now stood before her was perplexing, arrogant and powerfully handsome...a warrior-gentleman whose gentle touch aroused her to the wildest, deepest pleasures of love.
Nathan had never bared his soul to any woman, but he was soon utterly beguiled and exasperated by Sara's sweet, defiant ways. Aboard his ship,The Seahawk, she was brave, imperious and determined to win his heart completely -- yet upon their return to England, her love would be sorely tested as a vile conspiracy tried to tear them apart. With their future at stake, they would discover the true destiny of their passion...for all time!
Well, I was taken by surprise as to how much I enjoyed a historical book. I can’t recall the last one I read apart from the Outlander series. I admit, I thought I would be in for a story that had a little less grit, wit and angst than the romances based in recent times. What surprised me was how much I enjoyed the characters and writing style.
When we are introduced to Nathan and Sara, I had a totally different expectation as to how the wedding would proceed. It was a shock when the details were revealed but it made sense as in was just the wheels of motion being put into place for a bigger picture than just the two of them. The story then picks up when Sara is a young lady and while running to the aid of her Aunt Nora, she unknowingly comes across the man she has hoped would come and claim her as his wife.
“Why do you persist in calling me bride?” she demanded. “If you have to call me something other than my name, then call me wife, not bride.” “But you aren’t my wife yet,” he responded. She didn’t understand. “I most certainly am your wife … aren’t I?” “Not until I’ve bedded you.” A long silent minute passed before she responded to that statement. “You may call me bride.”
Sara was a strong and confident young bride. Her knowledge and experience of the world were limited to the exposure she had in her short life. I snickered at her innocence in wanting to be called wife until Nathan explained why he was calling her bride. What I appreciated was her ability to adapt to her environment, she was nobody’s fool and certainly gave Nathan a run for his money.
“How the hell would I know how long it’s going to take?” he muttered. “Do you mean you’ve never done it before?” Nathan closed his eyes. The conversation had gotten out of hand. “Well, have you?” “Yes.” He sounded disgusted. “I’ve just never timed it before,” he snapped.
The humour interwoven into the story was the other pleasant surprise. Sara’s culinary skills and parasol dilemmas had me believing she was the original Calamity Jane of the High Seas. Julie Garwood’s ability to use this material in a variety of ways kept me entertained. I loved Nathan’s dry sense of humour and that of his ship mates. That aspect of the book was totally unexpected as was the angst.
He had believed he would have to protect his wife from the world. Now he knew the truth. It had become his duty to protect the world from his wife.
It was evident that they are both determined and strong and yet it’s like they come from different worlds. I appreciated that neither were clueless out of stupidity. It was that they truly had no understanding of where each was coming from due to the small circles they were exposed to.
The Gift was a big switch from my usual choice of genre. It was a different kind of book to what I would normally read, not only in the setting of the era but my approach to reading it. The beginning required attention to detail with each sentence containing content pivotal to the plot and this required a bit of getting used to. Whether I adjusted to the different style or it eased into one I was familiar with I haven’t decided, but at about 20% I no longer was conscious that I was reading a different romance genre. I won’t be so hesitant to pick up another historical book next time and Sassy tells me this is just the beginning!
What I loved:
- That Sara gave it her all whether it be her marital duties, her cooking, her attempts to win the approval of the staff and her problem-solving abilities. She adapted quickly!
- Nathan’s wit and humour. That he always looked out for his bride
- The banter between the characters, especially Nathan and Sara
- The humour laced throughout, from parasols to
- Aunt Nora- she was quite the surprise, I expected frail and needy, I was wrong!
What I struggled with:
- The initial attention to detail, but it set the story up well
- Sara’s age initially
Lily’s Rating: A surprising 3.5 Stars
The parasols nearly sunk the boat…I mean ship
The Gift by Julie Garwood has always been one of my favourite historical romance novels. I haven’t re-read it in years and when friends decided a Julie Garwood buddy read was in order, The Gift was chosen.
We are introduced to Nathan at the age of fourteen and Sara at the age of four. The daft King decided to stop the feuding between each of their families by joining the young couple in marriage. Sara’s family members are despicable and throughout the story, we see them at their worst. Nathan’s is not much better, but they are loyal. When the couple finally come together to live as man and wife, it’s not all plain sailing.
I loved this couple. Sara is an absolute crack up. Her naive outlook on life and her unquestionable faith in her husband are sweet. Nathan is a gruff and impatient man who wants the contract fulfilled without his emotions getting involved. Their journey is filled with rough seas and dastardly parasols, but Sara’s positive outlook and Nathan’s determination help them survive the storms.
Julie Garwood is one of the most brilliant historical romance authors and her stories always leave me with a smile on my face. She brings her characters to life and makes you fall in love with them. This was a great reminder to step back in time more regularly and enjoy the fun, excitement, sexy times and adventure that a good historical romance provides.
Sassy’s Rating: 5 Stars.
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