The Romance Reader: ‘As You Wish’

By Lezlie Patterson

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

“As You Wish” by Eloisa James; Avon (2013), 358 pages, $5.99 (paperback)

Avon and Eloisa James have spectacularly embraced new reading technology, and embarked on a cutting edge and trendy way to bring readers one of James’ new ageless historical stories.

Kudos to the publisher and author for not only finding a way to adopt e-reading but for delivering a splendid story with ties to former characters (always a gift) as well.

Colin, the young son from “Seduced By a Pirate,” and Grace, the daughter who hadn’t been born yet in “The Ugly Duchess,” are the protagonists in “As You Wish,” a story doled to readers electronically in three parts during the past few weeks.

Digitally, the stories are titled “With This Kiss.” Part One was released as an e-book on March 12, Part Two on March 19 and Part Three is scheduled for release on March 26 - also the release day for the limited edition paperback “As You Wish,” which contains all three parts of “With This Kiss” and “Seduced By A Pirate.”

The three-part story introduces readers to Colin and Grace as children, explaining that the families of the heroes from “The Ugly Duchess” and “Seduced By a Pirate” had remained close through the years. Readers watch, perhaps tearfully, as Grace falls hopelessly in love with kind-hearted Colin, who seems to insist on treating her with sisterly affection.

Until he doesn’t.

It’s truly one story, split into three parts. James’ knack for writing brilliant historical romance is once again apparent, as she brings new and old characters to life. She stirs the reader’s emotions, making it impossible to forget the story until the characters find their happily-ever-after.

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HOW IT STACKS UP

Overall rating: 5 of 5 hearts. Aside from the fact that it’s just a cool and innovative way to deliver a story, and it’s just fun and satisfying to have the characters be the children of previous couples, the story is full of emotional moments. James produces another well-written story that is griping, fun and satisfying.

Hunk appeal: 10. Colin’s cluelessness is frustrating at times, and may induce a few tears, but it does allow him some rather spectacular moments of reflection (epiphanies), remorse and restitution.

Steamy scene grade: XXXX. Reflection, remorse, restitution.

Happily-Ever-After: Very good. Colin makes amends brilliantly, and a cute epilogue ties it all together. Hopefully, readers will be treated to some more stories chronicling the loves of Colin and Grace’s siblings.

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