Carly Kelly – “Beau Crusoe”

19 Nov

GENRE: Romance / Historical
PUBLISHED: Harlequin Historical, 2007

WHY THIS NOVEL: good reviews + I always wanted to read something by Carla Kelly

Stranded alone on a desert island, he had lived to tell the tale. A triumphant return to the ton saw James Trevenen hailed as Beau Crusoe–a gentleman of spirit, verve and action. But only he knew the true cost of his survival!

Susannah Park had been shunned by Society. She lived content with her calm existence–until Beau Crusoe determinedly cut up her peace! The beautiful widow wanted to help him heal the wounds of the past–but what secrets was this glorious man hiding?

[I read this book for this month’s TBR Challenge, then didn’t find the time to write and post my comment in time. Not that I have much today, either.]

My first novel by Carla Kelly and it won’t be my last. I loved the twist Kelly put on the story of a woman and a wounded man falling in love. It made the novel different. I loved the impression that the characters were real people with flaws and not 100% perfect and drop-dead gorgeous to boot. I loved the way Kelly showed the growing attraction and love between Susannah and James. I loved the look at society and the concept of heroism, and yes, I loved the gritty and graphic descriptions. They provided a good contrast to James and Susannah’s relationship and the civilized English society.

In fact, that is what I probably liked best in this novel. Parts of this novel, especially in the first half, showed how uncivilized civilized society actually was/could be. This got a bit lost towards the end, IMO, and overall, I thought this and the more darker themes in this novel didn’t fit well with the lightheartedness and humor this story also has (the toucans, for example). They both muddied each other a bit. There are quite a few lucky coincidences in the story and I also thought that the conflict between Susannah and her sister Loisa resolved much too easily. It was like James waved a magical wand and years of resentment and hostility just vanished overnight.

Susannah says this about James:

“[…] An ordinary man comes to London to accept an award and finds himself in great demand to rescue a large portion of the population from some crisis or other.” (180)

and it describes the external part of the story rather well.

James acts rather than stands around and waits. In this he is different than most other people in society and it’s here that civilized society shows that it can be rather uncivilized. People tend to look on instead of help. Of course, James has his own inner demons and when he’s faced with them, he rather stands around and waits, or even flees, instead of acts. Susannah helps him there and in doing so, she does something she never thought she could do: face a large crowd of people. I liked that.

I think Beau Crusoe is a novel that offers much to take a closer look at and talk about. Overall, I enjoyed Kelly’s voice and reading this novel a lot and I’m looking forward to reading more by Carla Kelly.

Verdict: Very, very good (4,5/5).


5 Responses to “Carly Kelly – “Beau Crusoe””

  1. ~ames~ Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    I’ve seen favorable reviews of this book around blogland, enough that I bought it. But, like most of the books I buy, haven’t read it yet. LOL Thanks for the reminder that this is in my tbr pile. I’m going to make an effort to pick it up soon.

  2. Jace Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    This was wonderful, wasn’t it? 🙂 I rated it 5/5. It was my first Carla Kelly book too, and I’d definitely read more of hers. The problem is, it’s hard to find her books on the bookshelves here and I’ve got to order them in.

  3. Taja Friday, November 20, 2009 at 11:09 am #

    ames – I had this in my tbr pile for more than 2 years! I hope you’ll like it.

    Jace – I thought about rating it 5/5, too. But some things seemed just a bit too convenient to me, so I didn’t.

    She had 2 books published this year but they are already listed as oop here. Serves me right that I waited so long to read Beau Crusoe!

  4. nath Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 2:03 am #

    LOL, basically, I’d like to repeat Ames comment 🙂 Although I need to find it, since it’s somewhere in my TBR pile ^_^;

  5. Taja Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 10:28 am #

    nath – considering the size of your tbr pile, this probably might take some time. 😉

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