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Period Georgian Regency, EnglandThe hero is referred as the Duke of Diamonds by the ton Not only because he has the real bling bling mine, but also because he s notorious for his out of the box way in pleasing his lovers Yes, it s something to do with diamonds, obviously I was a bit stunned, then laughed for it sounds quite ridiculous Apart from that, Ms Johansen imparted some wisdom here Age old or clich they may sound, but leave something to be pondered upon none the less.1 Paradis Period Georgian Regency, EnglandThe hero is referred as the Duke of Diamonds by the ton Not only because he has the real bling bling mine, but also because he s notorious for his out of the box way in pleasing his lovers Yes, it s something to do with diamonds, obviously I was a bit stunned, then laughed for it sounds quite ridiculous Apart from that, Ms Johansen imparted some wisdom here Age old or clich they may sound, but leave something to be pondered upon none the less.1 Paradise leaves an occasional mark upon those who taste its pleasures 2 You don t desert your old friends when new ones come 3 I ve found if you expect miracles, they have a tendency to occur 4 You should never be sorry for fools It only encourages them never to seek wisdom 5 You see beauty because you see love 6 someday, when you give up your guilt and come to terms with yourself, you will be able to give it they were talking about giving and accepting aimportant place in one s life 7 When I m hurt, I have a tendency to strike out blindly Then I ll find your conduct unacceptable But I won t find you unacceptable Not ever These are why I gave 4 stars 19th Century Balkan Romance A Great One I first discovered Iris Johansen when I read The Magnificent Rogue a truly excellent historical romance I then read Midnight Warrior that didn t reach that standard and reviewed it as such I say that so you know I don t always give her 5 stars But I just don t understand the low reviews on this one I thought it was excellent.Set in the years 1809 to 1812 in the Barkans and England, it tells the story of Marianna Sanders who is from a Balkan family 19th Century Balkan Romance A Great One I first discovered Iris Johansen when I read The Magnificent Rogue a truly excellent historical romance I then read Midnight Warrior that didn t reach that standard and reviewed it as such I say that so you know I don t always give her 5 stars But I just don t understand the low reviews on this one I thought it was excellent.Set in the years 1809 to 1812 in the Barkans and England, it tells the story of Marianna Sanders who is from a Balkan family in which the women for generations have preserved the fine are of stained glass that captures the sun and the heart Her grandmother s stained glass windows graced some of the most beautiful chapels in Eastern Europe Her mother was gifted as well and Marianna s early talent portends greatness from her Born to loving parents, at 16, the young fair haired beauty and her 4 year old brother Alex are orphaned when her mother is killed by the evil Duke of Nebrov who wanted the secret of the Jedalar, a map contained within the Window to Heaven, a large stained glass window that graced the church in Montavia her native country in the Balkans Alone and starving, Marianna and Alex go to the church only to find the precious window shattered by Nebrov s attack There in the church she encounters Jordan Draken the English Duke of Cambaron who has mysterious ties to the Balkans and has come to the church hoping to obtain the window When he realizes who Marianna is, he lures her to his camp and decides to take her to England Soon Marianna is desired by Jordan not only for her ability to recreate the Window to Heaven and give him the Jedalar but also because he is wildly attracted to the intelligent and beautiful young woman who beats him at chess and banters with him unlike the boring women he has often had in his bed Hunted by Nebrov and pursued by Jordan, Marianna has to survive on her wits and her talents and she does For three years she and Alex live at Cambaron where she designs windows of stained glass for the old castle and during that time she is protected from the desire of Jordan by Gregor, a gentle giant of a man who has guided Jordan into doing what is right by Marianna.I liked the characters and thought Johansen did a masterful job of developing them Jordan was a man who, like his father before him, engaged in a life of debauchery until he found a greater purpose in saving a Balkan kingdom from Napoleon Marianna was an amazing girl and then a young woman who had incredible strength of character She was courageous, unselfish, caring and committed to the promise she had made to her mother concerning the Jedalar The love between her and Jordan grows slowly and each hides that truth deep inside even as they cannot deny the passion raging between them There is a wonderful side story of the love between Gregor and a woman named Ana who comes in later in the story that adds a richness to the ending The historical times are well portrayed and the action flowed continually It was a page turner and held my interest I recommend it as one of Johansen s good historical novels Well worth the read I give this one props for being so different then the usual historical romance. Nice story with a likeable hero and heroine I must say I have trouble engaging emotionally in Iris Johansen s books, which means I forget what I read a day or two later I feel distant while reading one of her books,like I m watching a movie. Decent plot driven story.The heroine is a shrew The only emotions I remember her displaying were jealousy, anger and lust She makes stained glass windows and is devoted to her work There s this thing called a Jondolar not sure I spelled that correctly that she is sworn to protect When she mentioned she was not certain if she was old enough to wield it , I thought it was some type of magical weapon Turns out two thirds into the story , it s a map, made from stained glass I was disappoin Decent plot driven story.The heroine is a shrew The only emotions I remember her displaying were jealousy, anger and lust She makes stained glass windows and is devoted to her work There s this thing called a Jondolar not sure I spelled that correctly that she is sworn to protect When she mentioned she was not certain if she was old enough to wield it , I thought it was some type of magical weapon Turns out two thirds into the story , it s a map, made from stained glass I was disappointed to say the least I mean, how does one wield a map And why did I have to wait so long to find out just what the thing was The hero lacks charm He s hard, spoiled, and without empathy He takes everything seriously He too displayed a short list of emotions lust, jealousy and anger.The villain seeks the map Her mother died protecting the secret The original map was destroyed So what does our intelligent heroine do She makes a duplicate Yah know, if I had that type of secret, I wouldn t make another I d keep the information in my head as a way to buy time to be rescued just in case the bad guy came a knocking at my door especially when it takes months to make a window from scratch But our heroine decides she must have this particular spare stained glass window on hand, for no particular reason mentioned.Though set in the Regency era, the most interesting parts of the story take place in small made up countries near Russia I m not certain if that makes this a regency romance or something completely different The made up countries gives this story a fairy tale quality.The plot keeps the story interesting as does the side stories I ve had this ebook for quite sometime, and I kept delaying to read it because some of negative reviews I ve seen But I got curious after reading the positive reviews especially those who gave this book five stars Now I m glad, because this book just great What interested me almost immediately was the way Jordan and Marianna interacted, how they matched wit to wit I loved Jordan s dry humor and Marianna strong personality And the seduction was hot I may find it ruthless did I just use the I ve had this ebook for quite sometime, and I kept delaying to read it because some of negative reviews I ve seen But I got curious after reading the positive reviews especially those who gave this book five stars Now I m glad, because this book just great What interested me almost immediately was the way Jordan and Marianna interacted, how they matched wit to wit I loved Jordan s dry humor and Marianna strong personality And the seduction was hot I may find it ruthless did I just use the word ruthless Have I finally reading too much Harlequin Nah, there s no such thing as too much Harlequin and off putting if I didn t think Mariana could handle it A lesser woman would immediately dropped her panties the moment Jordan flick his queued hair, but not Marianna She put a good fight and still had her way at the moment of surrender To some, her age 16 yo when Jordan started to lust after her may seemed disturbing but the setting was early 1800, so it s not unusual for a girl of her age, even younger, was considered woman enough to receive men s attention And to Jordan s credit, he didn t act on his lust until Marianna was 19 yo For once I can see why this hero didn t celibate for the heroine, because for Jordan to suddenly pining over her and stopped his bedroom activity before he acknowledge his feeling for Mariana wasthan just lust would be so out of character of him I wouldn t have believed it.And the side characters were great too I adored Gregor And I feel the tragic of Dorothy, don t we all sometimes still trapped in the rules we thought we ve freed of Ana and Alex were also well developed Even the background story of not quite historical was engaging All in all it s a great read, and now I need to buy a chair for my workroom .FREE PDF ♸ The Beloved Scoundrel ♦ From New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen comes a thrilling tale of abduction, seduction, and surrender that sweeps from the shimmering halls of Regency England to the decadent haunts of a notorious rogue SHE IS A HOSTAGE TORN BETWEEN PASSION AND LOYALTY Marianna Sanders realizes she cannot trust this dark and savagely seductive stranger who has come to spirit her away across the sea She possesses a secret that can topple an empire, a secret that Jordan Draken, the duke of Cambaron, is determined to wrest from her In the eyes of the world the arrogant duke is her guardian, but they both know she is to be a prisoner in his sinister plot and a slave to his exquisite pleasure HE IS THE FABULOUS RAKE THEY CALL THE DUKE OF DIAMONDS For years, brilliant, deadly Jordan Draken has schemed to destroy the emperor who threatens everything he values most in the world Now that he holds this defiant woman who is the key to his final triumph, he feels a fierce sense of satisfaction and the first stirring of desire She was only supposed to be a pawn in his plans, but once alone with his captive, Jordan realizes she is a prize he could never surrender Indicitive of 90 s romances Strong Alpha and disagreeable heroine who has no choice but to succomb.I was really looking for something with the flare of Julie Garwood s historicals, and this wasn t it Reminds meof a Judith McNaught story without all the pretty exposition and angst Iris Johansen iswhimsical or fantastical in setting and events I ll put it this way, I liked it well enough to try another book by her, but not well enough that I d pick up a discount copy if I ran acro Indicitive of 90 s romances Strong Alpha and disagreeable heroine who has no choice but to succomb.I was really looking for something with the flare of Julie Garwood s historicals, and this wasn t it Reminds meof a Judith McNaught story without all the pretty exposition and angst Iris Johansen iswhimsical or fantastical in setting and events I ll put it this way, I liked it well enough to try another book by her, but not well enough that I d pick up a discount copy if I ran across it at half price books Not one of the best regency novels I have read, but certainly not the worst.I had a lot of issues with this book but since it s late, I ll sleep now and if I have enough strength to go back here again, I might as well give out a proper review. One of my all time favorites by Iris Johansen Great if you re in the mood for a dark historical romance.