Tuesday, November 15, 2011

REVIEW: Because of You by Cathy Maxwell


Is a reckless rogue worthy of the love of an innocent enchantress? 

Pretty Samantha Northrup knows it is her duty to marry—but the chaste English vicar’s daughter secretly desires to be swept off her feet by a man whose kisses leave her breathless. And when a seductive stranger arrives at her door one stormy night, Samantha’s neat and orderly life is turned upside down—especially when she finds herself in a most compromising position . . . and is forced to marry a man she barely knows! 

Samantha is unaware that her mystery bridegroom is Yale Carderock, the dashing, disinherited rakehell son of a duke, banished by his father years before. Now Lord Yale has returned—wealthier but only somewhat reformed—and he is bewitched by his lovely new bride’s awakening sensuality and innocent fire. But can this marriage of convenience be something more . . . and can a confirmed cad and society outcast truly change his ways enough to merit the lady’s tender love?
About the Author  

Born in Olathe, Kansas, Cathy Maxwell’s family roots go back to the Mayflower and the Revolutionary War. She has long called Virginia home, noting she is “a Virginian by choice, but a Kansan by nature.” She worked in television news as a broadcaster before spending six years in the Navy. She attended Air Force intelligence school, worked in the Pentagon and did a tour with Naval Intelligence. Cathy began her writing career in 1991 while her children were still small. “It wasn’t easy,” she says. “I worked full time, my husband travelled, we had three kids, I volunteered and I was writing from four until seven every morning.” Now, twenty years later, she is the author of seventeen national bestsellers and her novels appear regularly on The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. A rarity in the book world, Cathy has published every one of her novels with the same publisher, Harper Collins/Avon Books.

Q&A with Cathy Maxwell

Q: Do you remember the first Regency historical you read?  What was it? 

A: Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer. I was hooked. Heyer is still one of my favorite writers.

Q: Do you have favorite historical literary devices (forced marriage, heroine posing as boy...? What are they? Can you link any of them to novels you have written?

A: I use the marriage of convenience quite often. First, a book doesn’t have the time to go through a whole courtship, but also how many of us truly “know” the person we marry? You can date someone for years, even live with that person—and discover you don’t know each other at all once you marry. I haven’t figured out why, but marriage really does change everything. Sometimes it is perspective, sometimes expectations. All I know is that after I married, I started cooking casseroles—something I’d never done before marriage!

Q: What do you most want readers to take away from BECAUSE OF YOU?

A: BECAUSE OF YOU is my take of the Prodigal Son. The Biblical Son was lucky his father was alive when he returned. Yale was not so fortunate. I marvel at how easily we assume others will be there for when we need them. The truth is, we only pass this way once and must treat each day as unique. There is no time for grudges or misunderstandings. What Yale must learn over the course of the book is to forgive himself for not reconciling with his father.

Q: Besides all being Regency era historicals, are there aspects of your books that repeat themselves?

A: Besides, of course, strong relationships, great dialogue and a happy ending. My female characters share a common trait—they are not happy with their lives and they realize if there is to be change, it is up to them. I believe each of us has the power to make our lives better if we are willing to toss expectations to the wind and seize living with everything we have.

Q: What kind of research do you do for your novels?

A: I have a super research library that I rely on and that I delve into again and again. However, the point of a romance is not the history. It’s the dynamic between two people who are falling in love—and that has never changed whether we are talking about ancient Rome or light years into the future.

Q: All the talk about ebooks and the end of the mass market paperback makes it hard to know what to expect to happen within the romance genre. What do you think?

A: I think romance is in a heyday. So many choices. So many wonderful reads. And with many authors releasing their backlist titles as ebooks, there’s even more opportunity to enjoy favorite writers.

Q: What are you working on?

A: I’m working on a trilogy involving an ancient curse and the family it is determined to destroy.

Q: Can you tell us what we should look for from you in stores in 2012?

A: The first book of the trilogy LYON’S BRIDE will be out in May. The second book in November. I’m so excited about these characters and their stories. Also, Avon Books will re-release one of my classics, When Dreams Come True on March 27. Please check in at www.cathymaxwell.com for updates.

Q: Please recommend a few books for my winter reading list?

A: Grab a copy of Princess Charming by Nicole Jordan. Wonderful read! It will be out February 2012. You can’t go wrong with a book by any of my fellow Avon authors. I did break down and buy The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan that has been on the bestseller lists for so long. It’s an e-book and a good read.

Q:How will you be celebrating this Thanksgiving?

A: Cooking and writing! Two of my children, the Coast Guard officer and her husband, and my son the college student, will be here along with their friends. Should be a grand time and exactly the sort of day Thanksgiving was meant to be.

Find Cathy Maxwell on Facebook
Check out the author's website

My Thoughts


Northumberland and London, England. A small portion of the book took place in Ceylon, which I learned is now known as Sri Lanka. This image was taken of an estate in Ceylon, about 80 or so years after the timeline in the book.
Tea estate bungalow, Ceylon, late 1800s
First line:
The persistent banging woke Samantha Northrup from a sound sleep.
Samantha Northrup is the daughter of the old vicar, now deceased, and considered the town "spinster", unmarried at twenty-six. She's found herself at a crossroads in her life, and then enters Yale Carderock. Brash and handsome, the mysterious stranger finds himself directing the path that Samantha chooses, and her life is thrown into a tumult.

It’s been awhile since I have read a romance novel, and it’s been awhile since I’ve read a mass paperback, and I realized one of the things that I love about both-- they are a fast read! I am such a slow reader, reading in short bursts, so books commonly take 2-3 weeks for me to get through them. But a book like this has less text per page and easily readable content and dialogue to absorb, so I fly through the book! It was a light escapist read, and just what I needed right now!

The characters were likable, and there was adequate character development. I was left with a good feel for each of them, and their actions and behavior felt appropriate to what I knew of their character.

The main issue I had with the book was that there were several moments that I felt were unrealistic, and it went beyond me simply being a little jaded when it comes to romance. The moments felt “cheesy” with romance, or seemed highly unlikely to have occurred as depicted in the culture and era as it was supposed to have occurred. But, all things considered, I still enjoyed the story. It touched me emotionally, as I “boo-hooed” countless times throughout the course of the story, and the characters were likable.

My other issue was that, although I don’t read much romance, when I do I like a more complex storyline. The romance novels that I’ve enjoyed most have included mysterious side stories with murders and kidnappings and love triangles. They have kept me guessing, with little surprises in the endings.This story was lacking that complexity. While I don’t remember ever actually being bored, I found the storyline to be predictable and mostly uneventful.

My final word: A simple story with light moments of wit, intermingled with heavier moments of emotion and romance, this was a comfortable “medium” romance. A great escape!

My Rating: 7.5 out of 10


I received a copy of this book to review from Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.

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