ON A LONG AGO NIGHT
Susan Sizemore

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Avon, May 2000
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood

Determined to find a husband for his daughter, the Duke of Pyneham offers her a pick of all the eligible men in the kingdom. He can safely make this promise, even though Honoria is almost six feet tall with a statuesque frame: an argumentative, freckled redhead who wears glasses. Honoria is the sole heiress not only to his wealth but to his title. Honoria, on the other hand, is determined not to marry. Her long-ago experience with love and passion was devastating, and she is sure that only fortune hunters will be attracted to her.

Both of the men who destroyed her affectionate nature storm back into her life as soon as Honoria returns to society. Honoria was once engaged to the handsome Derrick Russell and he treated her disgracefully. She was once the slave of the charismatic James Marbury, and his reappearance sweeps her up into a maelstrom of memory and fear. If anyone knew of the past she shared with these men, her place in society would be destroyed. She can trust no one, most especially not herself.

Throughout most of ON A LONG AGO NIGHT, Honoria struggles frenziedly between her civilized nature and her passionate one. Her frozen detachment gives way to fevered flashbacks that descend on her anywhere, any time. Her compelling encounters with James Marbury in the present time alternate, in the narrative, with her passionate memories of their past. This becomes a very hot, sexy book as James becomes more determined and Honoria's control more fragile in a relationship that was clearly meant by destiny.

In James Marbury, Ms. Sizemore has written a hero to make a lady swoon. He has the build of a lumberjack, the excitement of a corsair, and the power of a lion tamer -- and he needs them all to hold Honoria. Honoria's confused attempts to shut off the likable side of her nature may call up the reader's sympathy even as she behaves like a termagant, or the reader may urge Honoria into James's arms just for the excitement of their encounters. This is stirring, sensual lovemaking between explosive partners.

ON A LONG AGO NIGHT is sheer fantasy in a Regency-like setting. Susan Sizemore has given free rein to her sense of humor in the situations she chooses, and especially in her creation of Honoria. During the first part of the book I would not have been surprised if she told me she was writing a parody of Regency romances. When a handsome pirate came on the scene, I felt sure the book had to be a parody. The tone changes completely once Honoria has been disoriented by James's arrival, and it is a relief from her frantic tizzies when she finally surrenders to the irresistible hero.

This prolific author has an enthusiastic fan base and writes with wit and zest in a range of categories. She has won the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award. Readers who like their romance at high temperature will definitely enjoy ON A LONG AGO NIGHT.

July 2000 Review Originally Published on Romance Communications

 

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