I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Sweet Release by Pamela Clare
Series: Blakewell/Kenleigh Family Trilogy
Narrator: Kaleo Griffith
Published by Tantor Audio on November 14, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance
Length: 15 hours
Audio | Goodreads
For five pounds sterling, the convict was hers. Though Cassie hated the slave trade, her Virginia plantation demanded the labor, and she knew this fevered man would surely die if she left him. But as his wounds healed, and as his muscled chest bronzed from the sun, Cassie realized Cole Braden was far more dangerous than his papers had indicated—for he could steal her breath with a glance or lay siege to her senses with a touch.
Abducted, beaten, and given a new name, Alec Kenleigh went from master of an English shipbuilding empire to fourteen years of indentured servitude in the American colonies. There, he was known as Cole Braden, a convicted ravisher and defiler of women. While he longed to ravish the auburn-haired beauty who owned him, he knew his one hope of earning her love—and his freedom—was to prove his true identity. Only then could he turn the tables and obtain his sweet release.
Contains mature themes.
Mistaken identity with devastating results!
Alec Kenleigh is assaulted on the streets of London and his next conscious thought is in the colonies. He’s now a “bonded convict,” purchased by Catherine (Cassie) Blakewell for her Virginia plantation near Williamsburg. Her purchase was more a sentimental rescue as Alec was near death. As he begins his recovery, no one believes his story that he’s not the convicted rapist, Cole Braden. Meanwhile, Alec’s family believes he’s been murdered as his brother, Philip, has identified a body as being Alec.
About the setting
My most favorite historical romances are those set in America as they allow for more expansive storylines. This story starts in the year 1730 so while it’s in the colonies, they are still under British rule with many of the societal restrictions and customs though the ownership of slaves is unique to America. Even Alec comments on how abhorrent a practice it is, an affront to English gentry. Cassie’s family owns slaves and it’s honestly acknowledged that their plantation couldn’t afford to run without unpaid labor. Life at Blakewell Neck is honestly portrayed with all the boils of the period, though Cassie’s father had very liberal ideals that created a somewhat better lifestyle than most.
What I enjoyed
Alec’s dilemma was interesting and believable, making for some challenging situations as it’s no easy matter to verify his identity when it’s tied to another continent. Cassie’s situation was also intriguing given that women had no rights in that era. There’s a strong cast of secondary characters that add flavor to the story, including an irritating but evil fop out to win Cassie’s heart (and her property). There’s lots of tension, duplicity and romance that kept me in the story and things progress rather rapidly. I especially liked Alec and Cassie’s steamy romance.
If you’re interested in reading this book, do yourself a favor and get the audio version just to indulge in the delightful performance of Kaleo Griffith. I fell for his voice when listening to Clare’s Surrender and he’s just as skilled here. He handles a huge cast expertly, though Cassie sounds a little raspy at times but Alec was a huge hit.
The bottom line
This is an extremely interesting story that is expertly narrated. If you’re a fan of American historical romance, this should be part of your collection. There are so few set in the pre-civil war era and that historical context adds even more value to the reading experience. The romance works (there are several of them in play) and I’m definitely continuing the series.
Listen to a clip!