Monday, December 14, 2009

Review: Southern Lights by Danielle Steel

Southern Lights: A Novel Southern Lights: A Novel by Danielle Steel

My rating: 4.0/5.0

I checked Southern Lights out from my local library system.

I started reading Danielle Steel as a teenager. I think I read Star and was enthralled and started on her backlist. I regularly got her new books as Christmas gifts and truly enjoyed her books as a teenager. Eventually I branched out, found other authors and other genres. I've heard the complaints about Danielle Steel through the years, but continued to pick up her books from time-to-time. Some were wonderful, some not so much, but it can be like that with any author.

I recently checked out her two books from this year from the library. I read Matters of the Heart a week or so ago and picked up Southern Lights to read over the weekend. Southern Lights was like coming home. I really enjoyed this story of the mother Alexa, and her daughter Savannah. Watching them both grow and change and overcome adversity when they needed to was very enjoyable. The secondary characters were also varied and really added to the story. I enjoyed reading of Savannah's time in Charleston and also the good mother-daughter relationship that Alexa and Savannah share (and also Alexa and her mother Muriel). It's nice to see that for a change in books.

It's not deep reading, but it's entertaining. It could be repetitious at time, but the wonderful characters outweighed the repetition and the book was thoroughly enjoyed.

About the Book:
Danielle Steel sweeps us from a Manhattan courtroom to the Deep South in her powerful new novel—at once a behind-closed-doors look into the heart of a family and a tale of crime and punishment.

Eleven years have passed since Alexa Hamilton left the South behind, fleeing the pain of her ex-husband’s betrayal and the cruelty of his prominent Charleston family. Now an assistant D.A. in Manhattan, Alexa has finally put her demons to rest, making a name for herself as a top prosecutor, handling the city’s toughest cases while juggling her role as devoted single mom to a teenage daughter.

But everything changes when Alexa is handed her latest case: the trial of accused serial killer Luke Quentin. Sifting through mountains of forensic evidence, Alexa prepares for a high-stakes trial…until threatening letters throw her private life into turmoil. The letters are addressed to her beautiful seventeen-year-old daughter, Savannah, whom Alexa has been raising alone since her divorce. Alexa is certain that Quentin is behind the letters—and that they are too dangerous to ignore. Suddenly she must make the toughest choice of all—and send her daughter back to the very place she swore she would never return to: the place where her marriage ended in heartbreak…her ex-husband’s world of southern tradition, memories of betrayal, and the antebellum charm of Charleston.

Now, while Alexa’s trial builds to a climax in New York, her daughter is settling into southern life, discovering a part of her family history and a father she barely knows--from the ice-cold stepmother who stole him away to a fascinating ancestry and a half-sister and half-brothers she comes to love. As secrets are exposed and old wounds are healed, Alexa and Savannah, after a season in different worlds, will come together again—strengthened by the challenges they have faced, changed by the mysteries they have unraveled, and with Savannah now at home in the southern world her mother fled.
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Review and Giveaway winner announced: A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh

A Precious Jewel  

A Precious Jewel: A Novel 

My rating: 3.75/5.0

First - the winner of a copy of A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh is:  Dixie - I have emailed you for your address to pass on to the publisher.  Congratulations - I think you will enjoy this book.

This was a very enjoyable historical romance, it read fast and I truly enjoyed watching Gerald and Prissy fall in love. I also loved the secondary character of Miles.

I loved the character of Prissy - she is a no-nonsense do what she has to woman. She also has her own pursuits that once she is a mistress instead of a woman in an upscale brothel she gets to pursue. She is her own woman. She does not delude herself that she is falling in love with Gerald, though she does try to remain practical about it and remain what she was hired to be. She was an amazing character to watch during the book and I loved everything about her.

Gerald is a good character too, he is obviously a troubled hero, and different to me because he is not exceptionally smart or good-looking (though I have no problem with the handsome part - we all find something different beautiful in people. He has trouble forming relationships due to his mother's death and circumstances behind it and a father that was never pleased with him. His one relationship is with his best friend, Miles, the Earl of Severn. I enjoyed watching Gerald grow in the book and try to become a better man and learn about loving. That part was good, but his high-handedness with Prissy and his constant reminders that she is his mistress were my main fault with the book.

The romance is beautiful once it takes off and I enjoyed seeing things from both Prissy and Gerald's point-of-view. I also loved Miles, he was a true gentleman and a definite good addition to the whole storyline.

This is my second book about courtesans in a months time and it's a whole new world for me in historical romance. I have never read this plotline before but I must say I enjoy it. Especially when the man overcomes the social stigma to go after the one he loves for the inevitable happy ending that romance books provide.

For more information about the book and the author see my tour post.

Thanks to the author and Pump Up Your Book Promotions for sending me this book for review and allowing me to offer a giveaway.

Thanks also to all of you who are followers and those who tweeted!

What are you Reading Monday - December 14

Come post weekly and see what others are reading too just so you can add to your tbr - I always do! For more information see J.Kaye's Book Blog and join in!

Books Completed Last Week:
  • Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz (library)
  • Blind Sight by James H. Pence (review)
  • The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox (review)
  • A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh (review)
  • A Blue and Gray Christmas by Joan Medlicott (review)
Reading Now:
  • Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough (review)
  • Permission Slips by Sherri Shepherd (audiobook - review)
  • Southern Lights by Danielle Steel (library)
  • The Sherriff's Surrender by Susan Page Davis (review)

    Reviews Completed Last Week
    • Wisdom Hunter by Randall Arthur
    • Highlander Christmas by Janet Chapman
    • Essie in Progress by Marjorie Presten
    • Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton
    • The Possibility of Everything by Hope Edelman
    • Under the Dome by Stephen King
    • Kissing Games of the World by Sandi Kahn Shelton
    • The Silent Gift by Michael Landon and Cindy Kelley
    Reviews to do:
    • Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz
    • Blind Sight by James H. Pence
    • Tempted by P.C. and Kristin Cast
    • 13 1/2 by Nevada Barr
    • Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz
    • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
    • Only In Your Dreams by Cecily von Ziegesar
    • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
    • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

    Summary -

    A good reading week.  I actually spent more time sleeping than I thought I would, but that is recovery for you.  My children come back this week so I will be enjoying them and the Christmas season, but have a full week of reviews so I will be busy reading too.