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Rhianna (2012)

by Amanda L.V. Shalaby(Favorite Author)
4.41 of 5 Votes: 3
1440551537 (ISBN13: 9781440551536)
Crimson Romance
review 1: Amanda L.V. Shalaby’s debut novel is surprising. Perhaps so different from other historical romances that it might not be too far to say that Shalaby is on her way to creating a new sub-category. For Rhianna is not merely an historical novel. It is a novel that is history. To read Rhianna is to read new seventeenth and eighteenth century fiction. It’s as though some historian has unearthed a never before discovered collection of novels by Samuel Richardson or Susanna Rowson.The expectation with most historicals is that the setting, costumes, and most of the social rules appropriate to the period will be followed, but we all expect that the history within will be more than a little bit tweaked. Heroines are not your average from the period. They are eccentric in a way t... morehat most women true to the time were not. These heroines think mostly as we do–especially about romance. They frolic in gardens with little concern for their reputations. They have a nearly modern sense of love, and like a woman living today, take for granted that sexual attraction, equality, and lifelong companionship are what makes up a good marriage. They suffer as governesses and tip headlong into any mystery or excitement they encounter.Rhianna on the other hand—like a true, written-in-history heroine—does not know what kind of love she has for the man who first proposes to her. She is quickly turned from thoughts of marriage and romance by excitement over a trip to an English manor from her early memories and by the offer of a governess position. She is grateful for her role as teacher and companion and she shies away from the mystery and romance that would entangle her.Very rare stuff.So what are the Benefits of reading Rhianna?Dialogue that is true to the period: Shalaby’s dialogue is full of all that lovely fluff that makes Austen so beloved by SAT test makers. Dotted with indeeds and certainlys, the conversation between characters hits various pitches. Narration that is true to the period: Classic fiction was not as obsessed with the old Show-Don’t-Tell paradigm. What might be related in scene and dialogue now was then entrusted to the narrator. Most contemporary romance has only a minimum of narration, preferring instead to move back and forth in the POVs of the main characters. This book, however, has all the trappings of classic fiction. Descriptions of scenery and how that scenery evokes meditation. Haunting dreams and memories that layer the present day. A heroine who is so sleepy she isn’t aware of speaking. There’s even a moment where the heroine sees an image of her younger self superimposed over her current face in a looking glass. A plot that is true to the period. Former Crimson Romance editor Jennifer Lawler advised writers to cut their entire first chapter. One writer I recently met at RWA insisted that she regularly deleted the first three! The sage advice to begin as near to the end as possible is a general rule in fiction. In romance fiction, that typically means beginning when—or just before—the hero and heroine meet. This is not how classic fiction works. Most classic novels are better described as bildungsroman—or coming of age stories. So, classic novels are concerned with the life story of one protagonist—not just her marriage. Rhianna begins with her birth, skips ahead a few years to when things begin to boil with the arrival of a man from her past, but we don’t meet a major contender for her hand until a full fourth of the book has gone by. There is mystery and suspense aplenty, too, but again it builds as a classic novel would. The heroine—even when she’s at the center of the mystery—is not the center of the action. She hears no whispered words. She is in little immediate danger. If you’re in the mood for Austen, you’ll likely love this book. But a note of caution to those who love Austen’s period, but not the pace of her prose.Disclaimer: An ARC copy was provided.
review 2: You know the kind of book where you’re hooked from the beginning and want to race through it because the plot line is so compelling? But then, you find yourself going back over what you just read and savoring every paragraph because it is so beautifully written? This is one of those books. Rhianna is Amanda L. V. Shalaby’s debut novel, and it is a wonderful read. The book is a tale of a lovely young woman who has a suitor in France with whom she’s grown up, and more than one suitor in England, where she’s now living and working as a governess. Shalaby weaves in lust, passion, lost loves, and true love, and does so in a lyrical style that is a delight to read. less
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It's just one of my favorite...
very good. clean Romance.
Another great read for me
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