Sunday, June 22, 2014

#AudioBook #Review: His Captive Bride by Shelly Thacker - 5 Wine Glasses

19540745Title: His Captive Bride 
Series: Stolen Brides #3
Author: Shelly Thacker
Format: Paperback/Audible/ebook, 2nd edition, 334 pages
Published: December 6th 2013 by Summit Avenue Books 
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle | Audible | B&N
Source: Audiobook Jukebox 
Reviewer: Linda
Rating: 5/5

Originally published under the title Timeless.
She's swept away to a hidden island paradise filled with pleasures... and secrets.
Abducted from a trade fair by a mysterious warrior, Lady Avril de Varennes awakens on Asgard Island, an enchanted paradise cloaked in mists and mystery, kept secret from the world for centuries. Against her will, Avril weds her arrogant captor, Hauk Valbrand--even as she vows to escape. Hauk believes himself beyond the reach of love, until his fiery captive bride begins to melt his heart of ice. But soon he must reveal the stunning truth about Asgard and its people--and Hauk and Avril must choose between love and honor, duty and desire... now and forever.
This revised and expanded ebook edition includes additional scenes never before published. The ebook is significantly different from the 1998 Dell paperback published under the title Timeless.


HIS CAPTIVE BRIDE by Shelly Thacker is a wonderfully erotic historical novel featuring SEXY Vikings. an idyllic island, heartbreaking romance, danger, intrigue, adventure and action.  It's the third book in Shelly's Stolen Brides series, but each one is a standalone with no interconnected characters so they do not need to be read in order.

The story and the characters drew me in from the beginning.  Our heroine, Lady Avril de Varennes, is a widow with a three year old daughter, Gisele. Years after her husband's untimely death, Avril is still mourning his death.  She is preparing to attend another friend's wedding being held a few days' journey away in Antwerp.  

I thought the following was a novel and brilliant idea that any parent would appreciate to help their child cope with a parent being gone for short periods.  Avril has baked ten sweet rolls for Gisele and instructed her to eat one each day.  When Gisele has finished the last treat, she will know that her mother should be back home with her.  

Leaving her daughter in the care of her brother-in-law and his wife and, promising to be back soon, Avril sets out on her trip.  Arriving early, she and her companion enjoy a full day of shopping until her friend is stolen right in front of Avril.  As Avril defends her friend, she finds that her own life is in danger.

We are introduced to Hauk Valbrand, our hero, a handsome Viking warrior, at the helm of his ship heading to Antwerp.  Every thirty years, as is their established tradition, the unattached men of his isle who desire a bride, embark on a six-day journey to capture a bride.  Hawk, himself, is not seeking a bride.  He is making the journey only to supervise the wife-seekers and to ensure that all goes well.  His gallantry, though, interferes and in saving a woman from certain death, he saddles himself with a bride.  Poor Hauk.  Now he not only has a very reluctant wife, but she is also stubbornly adamant that she must return home to her daughter. What Avril doesn't know is that Asgard is an uncharted island like no other, sheltering untold mysteries, shrouded in mist and hidden from the world. 

The chemistry between Avril and Hauk is erotic and electric.  I appreciate that Shelly's characters in this whole series do not find instant love, but they all experience a slow romantic progression that I absolutely inhaled.  As a teaser, here are just a couple of my favorite quotes from this book. 

“At least reindeer kisses do not cause me to take leave of my senses.” 

“Would a dead man touch you like this?” 

Shelly's writing, as always, is exceptional. Her words flow effortlessly and her plots are well defined.  Her characters are well-drawn and realistic even when combined with the fantasy elements within this book.  

I have become a huge fan of Julia Motyka's narration.  After hearing her narration in HIS FORBIDDEN TOUCH, the second book in this series, I was excited to listen to her again and she did not disappoint.  IF you like to be sedately read to, you should find a different audible.  Julia is a performer, not just a reader, and I find myself hanging on to her every word.   She inserts pauses and changes her voice exactly as is needed.  I can't imagine any other narrator with these books.  I plan to seek out other audios that Julia has narrated as I enjoy her style of narration so much.

HIS CAPTIVE BRIDE combines historical romance with Viking lore and elements of fantasy to render a story that I didn't want to ever end.  The ending, while highly satisfying, came too soon.  I highly recommend every one of the books in this series as PERFECT escape reads.

Now, I must find Asgard and these Vikings that need women... I want a HAUK for my own!  Take me to Asgard please!

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