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Thursday, 11 April 2013

Book Review: Sweet Madness by Heather Snow

Title: Sweet Madness
Author: Heather Snow
Series: Book #3 in the Veiled Seduction series
Release Date: 1 April 2013
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Number of pages: 384 pages
Source: ebook copy provided by publisher through NetGalley
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, , ,  Book Depository US, Book Depository UKRead an excerpt

Grade: 4 stars

Novellus superbus! 
Goodreads appetizer: There’s a fine line between love and insanity.

An Untamed Mind

Ever since her husband’s sudden and tragic death, Lady Penelope Bridgeman has committed herself to studying the maladies of the mind, particularly treating traumatized soldiers of the Napoleonic Wars. It is this expertise that brings the Marquess of Bromwich’s family to her door.

Gabriel Devereaux’s unexpected and unpredictable episodes are unlike any Penelope has studied. The once proud soldier has been left shaken and withdrawn, but she manages to build a fragile trust between them. Strangely, Gabriel seems completely lucid when not in the grips of his mania, and in the calm between bouts, she is surprised by how much she is drawn to him.

Despite his own growing feelings, Gabriel knows that he is fit for no one, and is determined to keep Penelope away from his descent into madness. But even though she knows firsthand the folly of loving a broken man, Penelope cannot stop herself from trying to save him, no matter the cost.

My Thoughts: I am a huge fan of Heather Snow's Veiled Seduction series (Sweet Enemy was one of my favourite reads of 2012), so I was awaiting April and the release of the 3rd book Sweet Madness impatiently. It is finally here and with this final instalment of the series Heather Snow brings us another unique, intelligent and remarkable heroine.

We have first met Penelope as the airhead but kind socialite cousin of Liliana in Sweet Enemy, but since then many things have happened to her: she fell in love, got married and became a grieving, devastated widow within 6 months of her wedding, and despite her sunny disposition and youth has experienced the darker side of life. Since her loss she has dedicated herself to treating soldiers suffering from battle fatigue (= historical term for PTSD) and other mental problems. That's how she comes to meet again the hero, Gabriel, the cousin of her deceased husband. Gabriel a war veteran has been suffering from episodes and has been locked away in a remote asylum, and Penelope visits him to try to find a cure, a treatment for his bouts of madness and help him recover.

Gabriel was a heartbreakingly tortured hero, his struggles brought tears to my eyes, Heather Snow really put him through a lot. Penelope was much more likeable than I remembered her from Sweet Enemy and her mission to treat emotionally scarred soldiers was truly remarkable (especially how she educated herself in the matter), but despite my admiration and respect for her there was something that hindered my connecting with her, from all three Heather Snow heroines she was my least favourite. I didn't dislike her, I just felt rather indifferent towards her.

I reckon that it is quite brave and challenging to have a mad hero and keep the reader in suspense biting their nails, not knowing whether it is an illness that can be cured or something that he and the heroine will have to live with. In Sweet Madness I suspected the reason behind Gabriel's madness quite from the beginning but when it was confirmed in the end, I found the ending rushed and the resolution of the mystery and the conclusion of the story happening too swiftly.

Once again Heather Snow's writing flew smoothly and was just as captivating and poetic as in her previous books:
“After Michael died, I was . . .” She looked off for a moment, as if searching for the right word. “Devastated,” she finally chose. The way she uttered the word sent a shiver through Gabriel. The inflection in her tone and the desolation that flashed briefly in her eyes rumbled through his heart like thunder after a streak of lightning.

And the enormous amount of research and historical references were amazing. I found the descriptions of the illnesses, their symptoms and their historical treatments fascinating.

Verdict: With Sweet Madness Heather Snow concludes her amazing Veiled Seduction series in style. With another modern and independent heroine who doesn't let the constraints of the period and society limit her, an irresistible and heartbreakingly tortured hero and their sweet and compelling love story Heather Snow captures the reader's attention, interest and heart irrevocably. Due to her captivating and beautifully poetic writing style, Sweet Madness has everything one could want from a great historical romance: depth, suspense, heart and emotional substance. 

Plot: 8/10
Characters 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 7/10
Cover: 8/10

Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.

Order of the series:

Book #1 - Sweet Enemy
Book #2 - Sweet Deception
Book #3 - Sweet Madness



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