“deftly written, exceptionally entertaining”

So says John Charles in his Chicago Tribune review of my friend Mary Blayney’s double novel, Traitor’s Kiss / Lover’s Kiss.

Or for the whole sentence: “Danger, deception, and desire blend brilliantly together in these two deftly written, exceptionally entertaining Regency romances.”

I’ve been waiting for so long for these books. Mary is one of my favorite Regency authors and it has been too long since I’ve had the pleasure of reading something new from her, besides her novellas in JD Robb’s anthologies. I pre-ordered the double book and it is the only book I brought with me for my weekend away, visiting my cousin in North Carolina. My weekend has not given me much time for reading, but I’ve dipped in to Mary’s Traitor’s Kiss.

Mary writes with a quiet beauty and great confidence. I’m awe-struck sometimes. For example, already in Traitor’s Kiss I’ve been struck by her prose. Her hero has been imprisoned for a long time in a dark, dismal French cell, but is in process of being rescued. Here’s the passage that stopped me: As he put on Gabriel’s shirt he stopped and inhaled. God help him, it still smelled of the sun.

I loved that image! I totally believed it- …still smelled of the sun

Another one I liked. As the heroine is leading the hero out of the prison, he stops, only steps away from the outside. She says with sympathy, “This is not freedom, only the path to it.”

Even Mary’s depiction of sensuality sorta quietly sneaks up on you. The hero has bathed and later he and the heroine are talking about his ability to have retained some of his physical strength while in prison and his interest in science. She says, “I do expect that I am the first woman who is more interested in your learning than in your body.” He answers, “Not the first, but certainly the first who is, even after bathing.

That one made me smile.

I hope to read lots more on the long ride back to Virginia. Luckily my husband does the driving.

Does this happen to you when you read? That you find phrases, snippets, images, that just lead to sheer appreciation? I suspect this is very individual, but these examples all struck me.

Mary will be our Risky Regency guest on Sunday November 23, talking about Traitor’s Kiss/Lover’s Kiss and her latest novella, Love Endures, in the anthology Suite 606. So stay tuned for more!

I’m still at my cousin’s so I may not get by to comment much….home tomorrow.

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

I got an early copy of this one at Nationals and I absolutely LOVED it! Both books were the sort that you can just immerse yourself in and go away for a while. I have pimped it out to all of my friends. You are going to love all of it, O Divine One.

For me, while I love a wonderful turn of phrase, it is scenes that get me. I can play my favorite scenes over and over in my head. They get me through the day at work sometimes!

Julia Justiss
13 years ago

I’ve always loved Blyney’s work and will look for this. Beautiful cover, BTW.

Yes, great writing always snags me. The snippets you mention were lovely, Diane. I’ll look forward to reading the complete works!

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Amanda emailed me that I originally wrote that Mary was visiting Mar 23. I really am out of it. I meant Nov 23. It’s corrected now!

13 years ago

I love those little lines that grab my attention because they paint a picture so eloquently. I especially like those lines like the shirt smelling like the sun. Though the sun has no smell, you know exactly what she is talking about.

Enjoy your visit, Diane, and safe journey.

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

We just got back from the beach where it was sunny with clear blue skies, but windy. I read a bit more of Mary’s book. Could have listed a few more lines!

13 years ago

I still remember reading Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific for the first time, probably 30-35 years ago.

An un-named character is simply identified as “the boy with the bad teeth”- and an image is immediately presented that makes him far more real than a longer description ever could.

I LOVE when an author succeeds in doing that.

Megan Frampton
13 years ago

I am looking forward to reading this, Diane. Thanks for letting us know about it.

Mary Blayney
13 years ago

Thanks for the jumps start Diane and for the kind words from everyone. The subject is a fun one.

Diane knows who I am going to pick — Lois McMaster Bujold — her Vorkosigan series has page after page of memorable lines, lines that stick in my head and heart long after the story is told:

Here are a couple from MEMORY which I have at hand:

“Is that a real Auditor’s key?”

“Want to try to peel off the gold and eat the chocolate?”

And this: Miles explaining why he did not accept a bribe:”Sometimes the price is just too high….The one thing you cannot trade for your heart’s desire is your heart.”

Looking forward to the 23rd!

Deb Marlowe
13 years ago

Oh, Diane, I love Mary’s work! Thanks for the heads up!

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Sigh. Miles Vorkosigan…one of fiction’s greatest heroes. Mary MADE me read this series and I’m so glad she did!

Cara King
13 years ago

Thank you, Mary, for making Diane read Bujold’s Vorkosigan books!!! Now whenever I gush about them here, I always have someone to back me up, and vice versa! 🙂

Oh, and Mary, I LOVE your cover!!! And I’m looking forward to learning more about your Kiss novels on Nov 23!


Keira Soleore
13 years ago

Mary Blayney in on my auto-buy list ever since I won her balloon ascent book. She packs wallop after wallop in every tiny page: elegant lyrical prose, characters with their entire histories and personalities laid bare merely by a turn of the phrase, the meaty stories…I could go on and go. Love her!!