Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Blog Tour: Woo'd in Haste + Wed at Leisure by Sabrina Darby (Review + Giveaway)

Love Saves the World is thrilled to participate in Sabrina Darby's blog tour for her two new novellas, Woo'd in Haste and Wed at Leisure, part of her The Taming series.

Avon is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for a Two Digital Sets of WOO'D IN HASTE & WED AT LEISURE by Sabrina Darby. Enter through Rafflecopter below. To follow the rest of the tour, click here.

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About the novellas:


Miss Bianca Mansfield is ready for her debut. If only her older sister didn't insist on marrying first. She's doomed to wait to find love. Until she meets ... him. For Lucian Dorlingsley, Viscount Asquith, recently returned from an extended tour abroad, it is love at first sight. He's determined to meet Bianca, even if it means masquerading as a tutor to her young half-brother. Soon Bianca is torn between love and duty and about to make a desperate decision. Can Lucian calm her fury over his betrayal when he reveals that he's not nearly as improper a match as he seems? And will they ever be able to find a match for her older sister to turn this masquerade into wedded bliss?

Release date: May 13, 2014

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The stunning follow-up to Darby's Woo'd in Haste.

In all of Sussex -- scratch that -- in all of England, there is no one prettier than Kate Mansfield, and Peter Colburn, heir to the Duke of Orland, has known that since the age of 15. But since her vivacious nature comes with a temper to match, Peter has always masked his hunger for her behind ruthless teasing. As far as Kate is concerned, there is no one as annoying or as incredibly handsome as Peter. So when he surprises her with a sudden and romantic courtship, Kate is sure this must be his idea of a sick joke.

After all, he's the one man who knows how flawed she really is. And the only man to whom she has ever been so attracted. It's only after she rejects him that she realizes he might actually have been serious. And she just might be regretting her hasty decision. As Kate's determination wars with her traitorous heart, it may be too late. Now she's putting everything, including her reputation, on the line to give this accidental tragedy a happy ending.

Release date: May 27, 2014

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My Review:

Woo'd in Haste is the first book in Sabrina Darby's The Taming series, which is loosely based on William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Darby's The Taming series features two sisters: Bianca and Kate Mansfield, the former has to wait patiently to have her Season because the latter has insisted that she must marry first. Bianca has been secluded in their country home in Waterford while Kate and their stepmother have been enjoying all that the London Season has to offer. Bianca had been been content to accept her older sister's demands, but, she is growing tired of waiting and reading about all the new experiences that Kate is having in London in her letters. She's tired of her sister's tantrums and dramatics and pretenses at being close and Bianca wants to live her life now and the first decision she makes is to stop reading Kate's letters. The next is to start voicing out her own wants and needs to her father.

Luc Dorlingsley, Viscount Asquith saw Bianca from afar and instantly fell in love with her beauty. Hearing about the condition to court/marry Bianca, Luc's friend, Lord Reggie quickly forms a plan and has Luc posing as a tutor to Bianca's younger stepbrother. This has allowed him in close proximity to Bianca and has given him the opportunity to fall more in love with her when he discovers the intelligent, kind-hearted woman behind the beautiful face.

Heat filled her own cheeks and a tingling of awareness scattered over her skin. He was not suggesting there was anything amiss with her at all.

No. This was admiration. The way Mr. Darcy had complimented Elizabeth Bennet's fine eyes.

This was admiration for Bianca's eyes.

Shock warred with embarrassment. She swallowed it all down. Forced a small smile. "What about my eyes, Mr. Dore? Do you find them entrancing? They are blue."
- loc 651

In many adaptations of this Shakespearean play, Bianca is always the placid, quiet sister -- the perfect foil for her tempestuous, irascible older sister. Darby's Bianca starts out in the same mold, but has grown tired of her role in this "play" and has decided to break out. Bianca is a very likable and sympathetic character and I thought she and Luc were perfectly suited to each other. I felt sorry that Bianca was never give the same chances as Kate was, so I'm glad to see that she got her happy ending.

...there were only three things in the world that she did care about: books, music, and Thomas. She had decided several years earlier, while still a child, that the rest of her family wasn't worth worrying about, from her sister's constant demands and histrionics to her father's inability to refuse Kate anything.
- loc 107

There are two big obstacles that our hero and heroine have to overcome: the first is the infamous stipulation regarding Bianca and Kate, and, second, Luc's deception. It really is a case of all's well that ends well, when Bianca decides to take matters into her own hands and acts.

...She crumpled the letter up decisively. "In fact, I won't anymore. that is the very last one."

There was something freeing about that decision. A bittersweet freedom.

But she was nineteen, and she refused to live her life any longer according to her sister's whims.
- loc 151 - 163

Darby also sets up the second novella, Wed at Leisure through Bianca's story and we see Kate through Bianca's eyes and we come to dislike her for her high-handed ways. Kate doesn't really say much in the first novella and what we know of her is from other people's accounts.

Between the two novellas, Bianca's story stays on the surface of things -- but she hints at something more. The deeper layer is presented in Kate's story, Wed at Leisure.

Everyone in their small community know Kate. They know of her spoiledness and of the infamous decree that she must marry first before Bianca could have her season. No one really likes her and Kate knows it's her fault. She has tried to show that she has changed, that she has matured and has become ... better -- but people could not forgive her for her past actions. No one likes Kate, except her stepmother and Peter Colburn, the Duke of Orland.

Frustration welled up inside her. Why was he saying such things? Of course, it was just what everyone else echoed. Everyone but her mother.

"You don't know anything about me," she said hotly, tears once again burning her eyelids.

"Then why don't you tell me?"

And for some reason she did.

About her mother, who hated her, who said Kate was ugly because she was so dark, who criticised everything Kate ever did, and little Bianca could do no wrong. About how no one ever paid her attention unless she did something terrible.
- loc 62

In Wed at Leisure, we see the reason why Kate behaved so brashly and shows her regret for her past actions. She knows she could never salvage her reputation in Waterford, so she and her stepmother have striven to show London a different Kate, a kinder, sweeter Kate -- and it is a liberating experience for Kate to be accepted, for once in her life. She had long suffered the rejection of her own mother, who openly favored Bianca over her and all Kate has ever wanted was love and acceptance. Unfortunately for her, her decision to act the shrew have caused the opposite of these things: she has alienated her sister and has no friends, except her stepmother.

At the Hall, she was not the Catherine Mansfield who had charmed London, but instead was the childish Kate, forever caught in the patterns set during the earliest years. With distance, she'd understood this. Yet each time she returned home, the emotions and anger made it impossible to think. Impossible to be any other way. Which was why she came home rarely. Indulged her desire for a sisterly relationship through regular correspondence. After all, with distance she could pretend it was perfect. In person, she was confronted again.

And yet, she could not forestall Bianca's entree into society forever, and Kate refused to stand in competition with her blond, beloved sister for society's affection.
- loc 198

I didn't like Kate when I read her in Bianca's story and I wasn't sure I liked her in her own story. Sabrina Darby has taken on the incredible challenge of transforming her "villainess" into a heroine. There is justification for Kate's behaviour, but, what I loved more was seeing Kate's repentance and her determination to make amends. It's truly a Sisyphean task for Kate and she falters many times ... struggling with the jealousy and insecurity that she feels inside. But it all shows that Kate is human and hurts and bleeds and cries like everyone else.

The heroes of the two novellas are an interesting contrast and emphasise the shallow/deep theme: one is new to the community and this is first experience of the sisters. Luc has never met Kate and knows only of her reputation. He was first attracted to Bianca from afar and only for her beauty -- but, what is wonderful about Luc is that he was not satisfied with just beauty and had wanted to get closer to Bianca and get to know her better. While his methods are suspect, the results were positive and he fell more in love with her. In the end, it wasn't beautiful Bianca that Luc married, but kind and thoughtful and sisterly and brave Bianca. Peter, on the other hand, has known the sisters his entire life. What is strange is that he has never paid attention to Bianca and, in Wed at Leisure, never had a memory of her. He knew she wasn't like her sister -- and that seemed to be the extent of their acquaintance. Peter's focus had always been Kate -- and his interest in her deepened when he saw a part of Kate that no one had ever seen before: a part that reminded him so much of himself.

There was Lord Reggie's plan to distract Kate with Peter, and Peter was vague about his participation -- but he did take the opportunity to get to know Kate better. I think it takes a very special person to see beyond Kate's well-earned notoriety. Did I like Kate the way Peter did? I don't think so. I found it difficult to shake off my own prejudices even after I had read of Kate's past, but I think this is part of the exercise of reading and being engaged in a story's characters. I appreciate what Darby has done in presenting this very familiar, very real sibling/family dynamic.

I think it's interesting how most stories only present us with one side, which is why it is most important, in my opinion, to read both books (Bianca's and Kate's) to get the complete picture. This is another excellent offering from Sabrina Darby.

Disclosure: I received review copies of Woo'd in Haste and Wed at Leisure as part of this blog tour. Many thanks to Sabrina Darby, Avon and Tasty Book Tours for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.

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Author Info:

Sabrina Darby has been reading romance since the age of seven and learned her best vocabulary (dulcet, diaphanous, and turgid) from them. Her debut book with Avon Red, On These Silken Sheets, was a Favourite Erotic Romance finalist in the Australian Romance Readers Awards and a Best First Book finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Awards. Her new Regency novella, The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcombe, released July 31st from Avon Impulse and her first contemporary romance, Entry-Level Mistress, released February 2013.

Author Links

Twitter: @SabrinaDarby

Facebook: /SabrinaDarby

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Avon is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for a Two Digital Sets of WOO'D IN HASTE & WED AT LEISURE by Sabrina Darby. Enter through Rafflecopter below. To follow the rest of the tour, click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. HI, Lisa! Thank you for the opportunity! Have a great day!

  2. Thanks, Tin, for hosting and for the thoughtful reviews! :)



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