Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Review - Breathless

Title: Breathless
Author: Laura Lee Guhrke
Publishing Date: 1999
Genre: Historical
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: Obtained a used copy from Paperbackswap.

Lily Morgan's reputation was ruined when her husband divorced her under grounds for adultery. Lily never cheated on her husband, if anything it was the other way around. But when Lily was put on the stand, Daniel Walker the hot shot lawyer twisted and turned her testimony until she did look guilty and the jury agreed. Every year on the anniversary of her divorce Lily goes down to the courthouse and makes an appeal to shut down the cathouse, which she believes was responsible for her husband's wandering ways. Daniel Walker a big time lawyer in Atlanta, soon to be senator, has been asked to get the house reopened. He heads back to his hometown to once again match wits with the infamous Lily Morgan.

I love a good romance where the heroine and hero are at odds with each other in the beginning of the story. Then as the story progresses they begin to realize that there is an awfully thin line between love and hate and the next thing they know instead of arguing they are kissing. Breathless is one such story and Lily and Daniel battle against one another - Lily to keep prostitution out of her town and Daniel to keep it in. Lily and Daniel are both clever people and the fight is a brutal one.

What I really enjoyed about this story were Lily and Daniel's characterizations. Both were richly drawn and the reader is easily sympathetic to both of them. It is hard to take sides and eventually the outcome the reader is rooting for will be to see both win. I love the dynamics of the town's people. It really brings the story and the setting to life. It plays a major role in the book. As a matter of fact, the whole town at one point is women vs. men.

There is a side plot involving an unsolved murder. Eventually, Daniel represents the boy who is on trial. This is where the book slowed for me some. The middle sags when Daniel and Lily's relationship doesn't move forward because of the trial. Also, facts about the murder aren't revealed until the trial happens, so those few chapters adding up to the big reveal seem slow in comparison to the rest of the story. That is why I gave this book a B instead of an A. Breathless is definitely worth a read if you enjoy a clever hero and heroine at odds with each other in the beginning.

Here is what others had to say:

Renee Reads Romance
Book Binge
Thrifty Reader
Dev's Good Reads

This book can be purchased in print format from Amazon


Lori said...

Oh, I do love this one. An oldie but goodie!

I think your review is dead on, too.

Wendy said...

Love this book. Want to have babies with it.

The one plus on the murder trial? It does get Lily and Daniel working together as a team - so that's good. But yeah, it's definitely a slight detour in the story arc. I didn't detract from the story at all for me - but that might have been because I was just so happy to read about a librarian heroine was wasn't a 35 year old good girl virgin who "wants to be bad" so she pours herself into a trashy outfit and hits the local bar where she propositions her brother's best friend ::eye roll::

Wow. Hello bad romance novel flashback....

Patti said...

I haven't read anything by this author and I have the feeling that's a bad thing. Nice honest review!

Jill D. said...

Lori - Thanks! It's always nice to go back and read older books. I like to mix them in with the new. It keeps things fresh and interesting.

Wendy - Ha! I wondered how you would feel about my review, afterall I had a few quibbles with it. But, really it was a gem of a story. I can be a picky bitch. Look, I'm not afraid to admit it :)

Patti - You should definitely give her a try. This is a good one to start with, but she also has regency historicals, if you like those.

Wendy said...

Jill: You're talking to the Queen of Picky :)

What makes a book a keeper is a mysterious and complex thing. There's really no explaining it. Sometimes you can appreciate a book for all it's good qualities, but it lacks that "oomph!" that pushes it over the edge to "OMG Squeeeee! Loved it!"

Kristie (J) said...

I loved this one too! What was so good about it for me was 1) the setting. NOT England, no dukes etc and 2) a heroine with experience. It was very refreshing when it came out and I mourn that the author doesn't write this kind anymore *sigh*

Jill D. said...

Wendy - Okay good then. We are two peas in a pod. It will be hard to offend you :)

Kristie - Yes, I love the "southern" setting and also that it's during the turn of the century, prohibition and all that. Really, why isn't there more of a mix? Uhhhhhh!!

nath said...

I'm really glad you enjoyed this book :) I love this author, was this your first book by her?

Jill D. said...

Nath - Nope. I know I have read And Then he Kissed Her. At least I think that's the title and possible one other book by her, but I can't remember the name. Usually I really like her heroines, but I feel like the heroes aren't good enough for the heroine. I didn't feel like that in this one, though. Out of the books I have read by her, I would say this one is my favorite so far.

~ames~ said...

I'm glad you liked this one! I love it. The way things develop between the h/h is delicious. :P