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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Written on Your Skin Book Review *Meredith Duran*

My expectations are very high when it comes to a Meredith Duran books. The romances she pens do not have a simple storyline where boy meets girl, they go on an adventures and their happily ever is pretty much a given. Written on Your Skin is a gut retching journey, not only for the two main characters but for the reader. I hardly ever cry while I read and I did with Written on Your Skin. *Shakes fist at Meredith*. Written on Your Skin is a beautiful, all encompassing experience. Meredith makes sure to bring forth every emotion. And those who wish to write their own historical romance, take note. Meredith Duran is becoming a master writer of this genre. Learn from her.

The year is 1880, the setting is Hong Kong, Tokyo. Phin Granville is working undercover as a British spy. He needs to take down a Mr. Gerard Collins who will soon be arrested for crimes against the British government. Phin hates this life. He doesn’t want to be a spy. It eats away at him where the stress gets to him so much that he has horrible headaches. But Phin doesn’t really have a plan or the desire to figure out what he wants in life. He does enjoy making maps, that’s for certain, and longs for the sweet release of his torments through smoking Opium. Phin is close to having a breakdown at any moment. But then Collins’ step-daughter waltzes into his life and the suffering he experiences will not compare to the run around Mina gives him. Mina is a young, brash American who flaunts herself in front of society and taunts Phin wherever he goes. When Phin first meets Mina he thinks of her as a featherbrain, a very fragile young woman who looks like a porcelain doll. Mina is full of energy and enjoys speaking what's on her mind. Mina wants Phin and even though Phin thinks he can handle Mina, he can’t. He treats her with disdain and near loathing, but underneath this fa├žade, he wants her desperately. He hates feeling this way for a woman and can’t decide if he wants to wring her neck or screw her into oblivion.

It’s all about facades between these two. The world sees Phin one way. The same goes for Mina. Her step father beats her poor mother who is like a butterfly, fluttering against a window pane and trying to find a way to escape, but knows she can’t because she is stuck in the hell of her own making. Mina won’t be like her mother, even though she loves her dearly. Mina wants to break away and will help her mother also but running back to New York City and away from Collins. But there is a problem, and it is Phin. He is poisoned by one of Collins’ lackeys. Mina nurses him back to health and helps him get away. And because Mina does help, the horrors her mother has gone through will not compare to what Mina will endure under Collins’ hands.

Because Mina is a resourceful young woman she and her mother are able to make their way back to New York. Mina has started a very profitable hair tonic business. But Mina is now in London, four years later, searching for her missing mother. I am not sure why and how Mina’s mother is in England and again at the hands of Collins, but Mina must find her mother before she is hurt or found dead. Collins is not one you want to cross and he will take out his anger on Mina’s mama before Mina can save her. Mina is only one small woman after all. She may be resourceful but needs someone who is more skillful at the deceit and spy game. And that is Phin.

Phin never thought he would see Miss Masters again and does not want Mina in his life because she affects him in ways he cannot understand. Mina is very vulnerable even though she hides it so well. She is so good at putting on an act, one that even Phin misses at first. But he knows what game she is playing. Mina may drive him batty, but he sees her as a woman who cares for her mother and wants to save her from a horrible man before it is too late. Phin is now a rich Baron and has no choice but to help Mina. They will search across the English countryside looking for Mina’s missing mother. During this time they will come to learn and understand who each other really is and why they act the way they do towards one another. Their desire and lust will grow and grow until it can no longer be contained.

Written on Your Skin is one of the most wonderfully sophisticated books I have read this year. In the mood for a road romance? This is your book. What some hotter than hot sex scenes? The passion and heat between this duo is very intense. There is one scene where my mouth dropped because Phin is so very naughty when he expresses his desire to bed Mina. And when these two do the deed, the crude language Phin uses with Mina will shock, but in a good way. The sex between Phin and Mina is a very powerful thing because this is where they accept each other, faults and all. Phin is too pushy and acts cold and superior to Mina because the idea that she can break through his defenses he has built around himself scares him. Mina may act mature and worldly but she lashes out in ways that are very immature. It is a mechanism to protect herself. Meredith has also given Mina an adorable childhood addiction she can’t give up that equals to one sucking their thumb.

Written on Your Skin is an incredible feat of writing, one where you will read late into the night so you can soak up every detail on the page. Dark, poignant and all consuming, this book will have you awestruck because the words that Meredith Duran has written reaches deep into your soul. Written on Your Skin is one book that is a must read for 2009 and perhaps one of the best historicals of this decade. (Pocket)

Final Grade: A


Katiebabs

19 comments:

Stacy~ said...

If I didn't know who MD was, I might pass on this book, but your review would definitely having me running to the bs to snatch up a copy. I'm more convinced than ever that I need to read this one. Outstanding review Kate!

Has said...

Love the review!
I think Meredith Duran gets better and better with each book and this one sounds fantastic.

Meghan said...

I still haven't read any books by Meredith Duran! Based on your review, I should now run to the bookstore and buy one. I just might. =)

Mary said...

I haven't read any Duran books either but this has been added to the TBR list. Nice review!

Kati said...

After absolutely wallowing in the wonder of Bound by Your Touch, I am beside myself for this book!

This review really makes the wait even harder, Kate. ;o)

Barbara said...

Meredith's stories rock. No question I'll be getting this one.

Great review, Katie.

Tracy said...

I just cannot wait for this book! Great review KB.

Chicky said...

I am beyond excited for this book. Most anticipated release of July for me for sure! I will admit that I skimmed your review because I want to be completely surprised when I open up the book for the first time, but I am very happy that she lived up to your expectations - it makes me that much more excited!!

Karen said...

I can't wait. Meredith is an astonishing writer. I pre-ordered from Fictionwise, so this puppy will automatically download to my ipod touch when I open the eReader app next Tuesday morning. Woo-Hoo!

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

I was so afraid my review couldn't do this book justice. Hopefully after you read, you will all feel the same way I do.

orannia said...

KB - your review is astounding - rich, detailed...

*takes a deep breath*

All I want to do is run out and find this book ASAP! Am rapt beyond words my library has ordered it! I now have both Bound By Your Touch and Written on Your Skin to look forward too!

Lauren Dane said...

I absolutely love her voice and her books. By the way, the title made of fabulous too.

girrlit said...

Your review has almost made me want to pick the book up, and considering I do not read historicals any more..

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

girrlit: Once you start reading a Meredith Duran book, you will be hooked. She is one of the reasons I still read hitoricals.

PJ said...

Meredith is one of the best historical authors I've discovered in years. I know up front that reading a book by her will be a roller coaster of emotional upheaval and also know that I'll enjoy every single minute of it.

Thanks for a terrific review, Kate. I can't wait to get this one!

girrlit said...

mmm.. not sure if I am ready to be sucked back in to historicals.. but will put it on the wishlist in case I am feeling brave.

Aymless said...

Oh man! Its not like I don't have enough on my TBR pile. *shakes fist at KB* I'm scribbling it into my TBB file.

Christine said...

I love Meredith Duran's work as well and can't wait to pick this one up! She has a wonderful talent for making me believe in the love between two unlikely characters. I can't wait to see how she does it with Phin and Mina.

heidenkind said...

Yayyyyy. Can't wait to read this one. I'm started to measure all historical romances against Duran's--she's that good.