Review – Breathless by Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan


About the Book:

She was “the Swan.” London’s premiere courtesan. Men want to be with her. Women loathe her success and yet admire her beauty, her riches, her independence. But when the jealous wife of her lover moves to have the Swan banished from her home on the high seas, she winds up crashed against Spain’s rocky coast with no shoes, no clothes-and no name. Taken in by a tortured, sensuous man known as The Artist, the Swan comes to know the woman she wants to be—her artist’s siren.

When Art Professor Brenna Anderson is in danger of losing her post at Harvard, the rule-following, prim professor is at a loss of how to salvage the shreds of her life. But when a new painting in the mysterious Siren collection is discovered in a dusty old house in France, Brenna does the unthinkable—hops on a plane to uncover the identity of the beautiful, enigmatic woman who is the subject of the paintings.

There’s just one hitch—the frustrating, irritating, bold and beautiful art hunter, Fitch Wilder, is also looking for the Siren. He’s been a thorn in Brenna’s professional side for years, but when their individual quests lead them to team up despite being enemies, a whole new sumptuous world of art and culture opens up for the two of them. And with it, they enter a realm of passion and love…

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                  Breathless

My Review:            

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Brenna Anderson’s career as Sociology professor at Harvard has hit a rough patch, and she decides to take a sabbatical.  New information has surfaced about a mysterious series of paintings featuring “The Siren,” and Brenna intends to investigate.  These paintings were the subject of Brenna’s thesis, and she has always been fascinated by them.  She also hopes to be the one to make a significant discovery about them, one that will wow her detractors at Harvard.  If only the thorn in her side, Fitch Wilder, weren’t also on the trail of the paintings!  Fitch is a modern day treasure hunter, of sorts, and hopes to find more paintings of the Siren for the millionaire collector who covets them.  When both Brenna and Fitch show up in Spain with the same goal, and each having information that the other doesn’t have, they agree to form a partnership.

The sparks immediately fly between Brenna and Fitch, though she is determined to ignore them.  Brenna is very closed off and controlled, choosing relationships with men who will never want anything permanent.  Fitch is outgoing, a charmer, and ready to embrace all that life throws his way.  He’s determined to loosen Brenna up, and she’s just as determined to keep him at arms’ length.  As their investigation proceeds, their journey takes on an eerie similarity to the story that is unfolding about the Siren and the artist who painted her.

BREATHLESS seamlessly shifts from the present to the past, telling the fascinating and heartbreaking story of the Siren, who was once known as The Swan, a notorious courtesan.  When Swan crosses the wrong person, her whole glamorous life changes.  Her fall from grace eventually has her washed up on a beach, badly injured, with no memory of her previous life.  The man who rescues her is a disgraced soldier, living in exile from England.  The soldier is also a talented painter, and as Siren recovers, he begins to paint her.  Each successive portrait shows their deepening love – it’s visible in the way Siren looks at the Artist, and it’s obvious in the way he paints her.  Their romance is so beautiful that it’s almost breathtaking.  These two damaged souls, both exiled from their homeland, find a home with each other, and a love that should have lasted for decades to come.

Brenna finds herself falling in love for the first time, and lets down her guard enough to let Fitch get close.  She’s finally going to take a chance on a real relationship.  As for Fitch, he fell hard early on, and was only hoping for Brenna to give him a chance.   BREATHLESS is such an amazing tale of two love stories, two centuries apart.  The writing and pacing is excellent – there is never any choppiness between the present and the past.  Each story is romantic and passionate, and Siren and the Artist, have a particularly poignant tale which brought me to tears.  I love this book and wholeheartedly recommend it for fans of contemporary and historical romance.  Kudos to Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan for such a captivating, beautifully written story.   ~Rose


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