I'm addicted to writing. I've written 26 romance novels in 25 years, but I just started releasing them in May 2014 because frankly there are some things inside them I wasn't sure I wanted my daughters to read. The nest is empty, my girls all grown, so now I'm letting loose. I believe in the adage; Don't judge a book by it's cover! Definitely the case with The Girl on the Half Shell. Perfect looking lives are not perfect. We all have our own challenges to overcome! It's a theme in the books I've written and I cover a wide range of contemporary issues in stories ranging from raw and steamy, to gut wrenching, to happy happily ever after. My first release The Girl on the Half Shell is my most intense novel, the first in the Half Shell Series and the one I had to wait until I had no kids at home to release. My Perfect Forever Series is definitely happy happily ever after! The first in this line of books was released June 2014 with The Signature.
Lady Meredith Ann Merrick must not weaken against the temptation of Varian. He will be her ruin. Varian Morgan cannot indulge his yearning for his beautiful hostage. This wayward sprite can only become his destruction. Captive of desire, Meredith is swept away to America and into the arms of a man she cannot resist. Will love be enough to overcome her doubts, as Varian’s mystery only becomes more mysterious? Can passion bind two people trapped by secrets and the past? When unexpected events send Meredith and Varian back to England, they are forced to share with each other the secrets each have been desperate to keep in hiding. Reeling in shock, their histories linked in ways neither could have ever imagined, Varian forces Meredith into a marriage of necessity instead of a union of love. Unable to resist Varian’s seductive hold over her, is it possible that their unrelenting and fiery passion can bring Meredith to forgive the man who shattered her heart?
Review by Ramona
Face to Face continues the saga of the Deverell Series and I must say Susan Ward did a great job of bringing the past to life.
Merry and Varian embark on yet another journey, this time to the Americas, where Varian is a legitimate and accepted ship's captain and trader. There Merry gets a taste of what freedom truly is, although tempered by incidents of discrimination because she's British and not American, no matter how she was against British policy at home.
She realizes she can't live without Varian, and makes him bring her on his ensuing voyages where they end up back in England and in yet another series of problems.
I'm not touching too much on the story because I don't want to spoil anyone's fun by posting spoilers. I leave the adventure (and it is an exciting one) to the reader.
I must say, I don't quite agree with how Merry is portrayed. She's supposed to be a radical hoyden in London, with scandal upon scandal under her belt. Yet, once she's in Varian's company, she's little better than a spoilt child who specializes in tantrums once she doesn't get her way. Why she doesn't understand that he cannot be just one person because it keeps him alive, I don't know. And why she expected pirates to be non-violent? I don't see it.
I will allow that despite her scandalous reputation, she IS spoiled, and relatively sheltered. But I wish she'd grown up a bit with her experiences rather than remain such a child. Perhaps I'm feeling a little of the frustration her father has with her.
Varian is someone I truly like. He's a cat with nine different lives with his ability to reinvent himself so very quickly. Consummate actor is a term that comes to mind. The subtle changes he adapts when going from British to American and back again is stunning. And I admire his patience and wit, especially when it comes to Merry, which I am sure I wouldn't have. I love his character and would say that this is someone who could possibly be the gentleman pirate Morgan.
But one character that I wish was touched on more is Indy. Now there is someone who could fascinate a reader no end. There is such a depth and grace to him that I feel he should have played a bigger part in this story as he is responsible for it's inception. How many facets can this boy have? How many secrets can someone keep? He is really my favorite character in this entire tale so far.
What made this for me were the last few chapters of this installment. The mystery (well, part of it) comes to light and some questions are answered. While there is a lot of action in more than a few chapters throughout, everything from the first novel on seems to lead to this culmination. And there is a major twist that had me saying, "What?!?" I'll just say I saw everything in a new light after this.
Susan Ward has a talent for making everything in her novels feel like they're part of a living past and Face to Face definitely is no exception. It's an intricately woven tale that has you ensnared in it totally, especially with an ending like that!
* SIGNED PAPERBCK OF WHEN THE PERFECT COMES & FACE TO FACE BY SUSAN WARD*