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S. A. Freedman

Ellicott City, MD, United States
  • 5
  • reviews
  • 7
  • helpful votes
  • 5
  • ratings
  • Spring Fires

  • Rakes & Rebels: The Beauvisage Family Series, Book 4
  • By: Cynthia Wright
  • Narrated by: Tim Campbell
  • Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 6

Hardened and cynical, Nicholai Beauvisage returns to America after risking death during the French Revolution. He lost his heart to a beauty who died and now wants only to amuse himself with carefree romance. Lovely and independent, Lisette Hahn pours all her energy into running her Philadelphia CoffeeHouse, a meeting place for figures like Thomas Jefferson. She is proud of her success and has been able to rise above the desires of her heart - until she meets Nicholai Beauvisage. That very night, Lisette finally gives her passions free rein... but what will the dawn bring?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My Favorite

  • By Sherry k on 10-04-18

Wright/Campbell Do Not Disappoint!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-03-18

SPRING FIRES always holds a special place in my heart because it was the first book I read by Cynthia Wright, found one day on my aunt's bookshelf 25+ years ago. I still haven't given it back to her.

Set in post-Revolutionary War America, I was enchanted by the story of Nicholai Beauvisage, back in Philadelphia after spending 10 years in France, and Lisette Hahn, independent woman who runs the local coffee house in Philadelphia. Tragedy first throws them together, then stubbornness pulls them apart. Nicholai and Lisette get off to a bumpy start, but find that they care for each other more than they want to admit and they travel the rocky road to romance with the help of friends and family.

Ms. Wright does an outstanding job of weaving the history of the time, with famous figures showing up as secondary characters. Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and their in-fighting over the war in France gets several mentions and President George Washington has a cameo. (On a re-read, my inner HAMILTON fan-girl gave many cheers.) Far from detracting to the story, these historical mentions add favor and provide context for the action.

Also providing cameos are the heroes/heroines from the previous RAKES AND REBELS books: Alec & Caroline (CAROLINE), Lion & Meagan (TOUCH THE SUN), and even Andre and Devon (SILVER STORM). They provide much meddling into Nicholai and Lisette's story. That being said, SPRING FIRES does stand alone. The first time I read it, I did not have the background of the other stories, but was able to glean enough from the book that I had no problem following the plot.

This is a book I have on my keeper shelf and have also bought in ebook form. When I do re-read it every few years, I am sure to read all of the Rakes and Rebels books in order, because it is more fun to follow the families, friends and their intertwining lives as they happen.

As a librarian, I don't always purchase my books, but Cynthia Wright is on my "must buy" list, so when a new title comes out, I am sure to purchase it. She is also one of the top authors I recommend to people looking for historical romances.

Because of my love for SPRING FIRES (and Tim Campbell’s narration), I was thrilled to listen to him perform SPRING FIRES. In this book, there were many characters from many locations, providing Campbell ample opportunity to show off his range of voices. As a listener, you are drawn into the story through him many voices, all distinct. Plus, I got to hear Andre Raveneau...fans self. As I’ve noted before, Cynthia Wright’s storytelling paired with Tim Campbell’s narration are both engaging and satisfying and I cannot resist Tim Campbell reading Cynthia Wright’s books. I am hoping that he will narrate more of her books, such as SILVER STORM...hint hint!

Note: I was given a free copy of the eaudiobook in exchange for an honest review.

  • Her Dangerous Viscount: Rakes & Rebels

  • The Beauvisage Family, Book 5
  • By: Cynthia Wright
  • Narrated by: Tim Campbell
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

1814: Grey St. James has escaped from Napoleon's prison on the rocky isle of Mont St. Michel. Desperate and dangerous, he is a far cry from the rakish nobleman who broke hearts in Regency London.

In her uncle Nicholai's French chateau, Natalya Beauvisage is writing a novel. At 26, she is beautiful but hardly marriageable, for she is devoted to being an author. However, when a potently attractive stranger appears to hold her at knifepoint, Natalya thrills to a flesh-and-blood man. 

Grey must escape from France and Natalya longs to return to America, so they form an unlikely alliance, traveling through France, Regency England, and across the ocean to the Beauvisage home in Philadelphia. Natalya is caught up in a passionate fantasy that surpasses any she could imagine, but Grey's heart is imprisoned by dark secrets that must be uncovered before he can love again....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Delightful Wright/Campbell Pairing!

  • By S. A. Freedman on 12-20-17

Another Delightful Wright/Campbell Pairing!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-20-17

I first met Cynthia Wright's NATALYA in my trade paperback copy, which I was very excited about because I was able to get a matching copy of her mother's story, CAROLINE. (These little details are very important to us obsessive readers.) I then got to revisit Natalya Beauvisage in her spiffy new ebook format as HER DANGEROUS VISCOUNT. And now I was able to pair another reread of the story with a listen to the eaudio format.

Twenty-six year-old Natalya, daughter of Alec and Caro Beauvisage, has been living in France for the past six years as an authoress in her Uncle Nicholai's Chateau du Soleil. While she loves France and loves writing, she is starting to miss her family and home in Philadelphia. Grey St. James has escaped from prison and makes his way to Chateau du Soleil for assistance in getting back to England. Since Grey held Natalya at knife point during their first meeting, needless to say she is not fond of him. But it seems that they can help each other get to England and then go on to Philadelphia.

As to be expected, Cynthia Wright blends humor and meticulous details into the story. This historical period is the War of 1812/Napoleonic Wars and the reader gets a strong feeling of time and place. Whether it is your first read/listen or your fifth, HER DANGEROUS VISCOUNT is an engrossing story, giving you a chance to revisit old friends from other Rakes and Rebels books and cheer on Natalya and Grey.

Cynthia Wright’s storytelling paired with Tim Campbell’s narration are both engaging and satisfying. I now find that I cannot resist Tim Campbell reading Cynthia Wright’s books. To say I love his voice would not be accurate. The correct version of that sentence is that I love his voiceS. Campbell makes each character very distinct and gives him/her their own voice. Several times I had to remind myself that it was only one narrator! As a librarian, I am often helping customers who will actually ask for audiobooks by the narrator as opposed to the author and are willing to listen to anything that narrator reads. I now put Tim Campbell in that category. And when he is reading a book by one of my favorite authors, it is a no-brainer—a must-listen!

Note: I was given a free copy of the eaudiobook in exchange for an honest review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • His Make-Believe Bride

  • Rakes & Rebels: The Raveneau Family, Book 5
  • By: Cynthia Wright
  • Narrated by: Tim Campbell
  • Length: 9 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41

A French pirate of smoldering passions, Justin St. Briac will never marry. However, when his manipulative mother beckons him to her deathbed in Cornwall, he succumbs to her plea that he take a bride. Mouette Raveneau, once the toast of the London ton, has been ruined by her dead husband's crimes. With two adolescent sons and no means of support, she reluctantly takes refuge in Cornwall. To grant his mother's dying wish, Justin devises an elaborate charade.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing Dialogue in Historical Romance

  • By LilMissMolly on 10-08-18

Enchanting in Story and Narration

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-07-17

At long last comes Cynthia Wright’s THE MAKE-BELIEVE BRIDE, book 5 of RAKES AND REBELS: THE RAVENEAU FAMILY. The story of Justin St. Briac and Mouette Raveneau Brandreth takes place 10 years after THE SECRET OF LOVE. Justin is called to Cornwall to see his dying mother who wrings a promise from him that he will marry before she dies. Justin decides that he will find a make-believe bride to keep his mother happy and then sail back to France to continue his piratical ways.

Mouette, four years a widow, is determined to never marry after the shoddy treatment of her husband. Raising her two sons alone is hard, especially when she is still trying to get out of debt. All seems hopeless until her friend Isabella St. Briac comes to visit and offers a respite at her home in Cornwall.

The last time Justin and Mouette met, sparks flew. Now they must work together to fulfill his mother’s dying wish, while not losing their hearts.

Mouette and Justin have made appearances in many of Wright’s books and it was well worth the wait to read their story. A unique feature of HMBB is that both Justin and Mouette are older than Wright’s typical romance couple. Justin is eight and forty and Mouette is six and thirty. I thoroughly enjoyed their acknowledgment of their ages, the worries and self-doubt that often accompany that acknowledgment, and the strength that comes from knowing age does not matter.

While HIS MAKE-BELIEVE BRIDE can stand alone, I highly recommend reading the other Raveneau books (especially the Raveneaus in Cornwall books) first. It is then that you totally feel immersed in the story and the families. While there were not cameos from historical figures, which often happen in Wright’s books, there is a strong sense of time and place when she describes picturesque Cornwall.

I have been long awaiting the arrival of THE MAKE-BELIEVE BRIDE, by Cynthia Wright, and am delighted to have finally been able to spend the day with Mouette and Justin. They did not disappoint.

I read the book first and then got to enjoy the audio version narrated by the outstanding Tim Campbell. I was thrilled to listen to Tim Campbell narrate another of Cynthia Wright’s books. His voice and various accents helps to draw you into the story and bring the characters to life. I will now always think of Justin as “Juhs-tahn”. Cynthia Wright’s storytelling paired with Tim Campbell’s narration are both engaging and satisfying and I hope this partnership continues.

I received a free review copies of this eBook and audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

  • You and No Other

  • Renaissance Rogues, Book 1
  • By: Cynthia Wright
  • Narrated by: Tim Campbell
  • Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 68
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 61

Thomas Mardouet, seigneur de St. Briac, is a man with a perfect life - bold, witty, and splendid to behold, he is the King of France's trusted knight. But the day that captivating Aimée de Fleurance appears in the woods to interrupt a hunt, St. Briac's life is turned on end.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lovely Historical Romance 💑

  • By 🇺🇸🌸DARA on 02-22-17

Backstory to Beauvisage Family But Stands Strongly

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-22-17

I still have my well-read/well-loved paperback copy of YOU AND NO OTHER. It has long been one of my favorites, but I confess to not having reread it in awhile. This time, instead of my paperback, I switched between my ebook copy and the audiobook. After reading and listening to this book, I recalled how much I really loved reading romances set during medieval times. YOU AND NO OTHER provides the back story to Cynthia Wright's Beauvisage books. She also recently updated it a bit to drop hint about the famous DaVinci painting of François I that is a major plot point in THE SECRET OF LOVE.

Aimée de Fleurance inadvertently insults King François I upon meeting him, but his good friend, Thomas St. Briac, is able to smooth things over. Soon after this meeting, to escape an unwanted marriage, Aimée disguises herself and joins the king's court, but realizes that as soon as the king recognizes her, all will be lost. St. Briac reluctantly agrees to help her, but she can only hide for so long. They both become more embroiled in schemes and intrigue than they imagined, while desperately fighting their attraction to one another.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story, including the historical details of François I and his court. Wright's descriptions of the clothing and food of the time give the reader a strong sense of time and place. Aimée is a spunky heroine, always ready to try a new scheme to escape a tangled situation. St. Briac is an alpha-hero with out being too overbearing or dominating. I enjoyed his humor, sensitivity, and friendship with François.

Fans of Cynthia Wrigtht's other books, will enjoy reading about the Beauvisage ancestors, not only for the connection, but for the story itself. Those unfamiliar with her work, will want to read more!

As mentioned, on this reread, I read my ebook and listened to the audiobook. Sometimes at the same time and sometime not. Tim Campbell is the narrator and as expected, he did a fabulous job. While the story is set in France, Campbell limits his French accent to the French words in the text and the narration is more of a British English. I am grateful for this, because if the entire book was read in a French accent, I think it would be harder to understand. In his narration, there is enough French to get a strong feel for the setting. Despite the fact that I finished reading the ebook before I finished listening, I continued to listen to the book, well, just because. I look forward to listening to more Wright-Campbell audiobooks!

I was given a free copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review. I was also given a free version of the updated ebook, that included minor text edits as well as an additional scene with the DaVinci painting of François I. (Before receiving this ebook, I did already own the original paperback and an older edition of the ebook.)

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Secret of Love

  • Rakes & Rebels, Book 3
  • By: Cynthia Wright
  • Narrated by: Tim Campbell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39

When Lady Isabella Trevarre first laid eyes on Gabriel St. Briac, she announced to her best friend: "That is the man I will marry!" Now a woman grown, Izzie has traded her girlish dreams for the independent life of an artist, but she never quite forgot the dazzling Frenchman who captivated her young heart. When he appears again in Cornwall, the seeds of desire grow between them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well written story + Masterful narration = Magic

  • By Past Romance on 02-01-17

Tim Campbell is a Master of His Craft

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-18-17

THE SECRET OF LOVE is Cynthia Wright's newest entry in her Rakes and Rebels series. It is the story of Lady Isabella Trevarre and Gabriel St. Briac, who first met in SMUGGLER'S MOON. At 14, Izzie declared upon seeing St. Briac for the first time, “That is the man I will marry!” Now grown and nearly on the shelf, Lady Isabella is less concerned about propriety and more focused on her art, spending time under the tutelage of the renowned artist, Madame Le Brun. Gabriel has given up some of his smuggling ways and is determined to find a way to keep safe his heritage: a painting of King Francis, supposedly painted by Leonardo daVinci.

As is her trademark, Wright has created a love story that weaves real history into the backdrop of her characters. This time, it is the crime of stolen artwork, including Gabriel's beloved painting, during the Napoleonic era. The settings of Cornwall, England and war-torn France are well-described, the characters well-drawn and I was captivated as I followed Izzie and Gabriel fighting their attraction and on the hunt for the stolen painting.

Of course, what would the story be without cameos from Raveneau and Beavisage families? Mouette Raveneau is Izzie's best friend and there is a visit Isabella and Gabriel visit Nicholai and Lisette Beavisage at their Château du Soleil.

THE SECRET OF LOVE stands alone, but is made richer by reading the other Rakes and Rebels books, where you can discover the back stories of the cameos. I look forward to the next installment, HIS MAKE-BELIEVE BRIDE, to read the story of Mouette and Justin St. Briac.

Here is my review of the audio version: This was the first time that I listened to one of Cynthia Wright's books. Tim Campbell is a master of his craft. His voice is enchanting and he brings all of the characters to life. His wonderful French accent helped me get a better feel for the characters. While listening, I was limited in what else I was able to do because I got so lost in the story. I can't wait to listen to more of Cynthia Wright's books narrated by Tim Campbell. I received a free review copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful