Cynthia Wright’s novels have stood the test of time. Wonderfully written and exciting to hear it narrated by a talented reader.
Title: Surrender the Stars, book 2, The Raveneau Novels
Author: Cynthia Wright
Genre: Historical Romance (The War of 1812)
Story Setting: Connecticut and London 1814
Published by: Boxwood Manor Books (November 8, 2013)
Story Originally Published: 1987
Production Copy: May 13, 2014
Narrated by: Emily Beresford
Listening Length: 11 hours, 55 minutes
Published by: Cynthia Wright
About the Story: Lindsay Raveneau, the youngest daughter of Devon and Andre Raveneau, whom were the main characters in book 1, was prim and proper. She was also the schoolmistress in Pettipauge, Connecticut. The only complaint her parents had of her was she was too serious and a complete bluestocking. Her mother despaired of her ever finding a match.
However, her prim and proper demeanor came to a grinding halt when she met Ryan Coleraine, the captain of her father’s ship, the Chimera.
Ryan Coleraine was pleased with his last voyage on the Chimera. He loved the ship and with the steady prosperity he’d been able to obtain through his privateering, he was now in a position to ask Andre Raveneau if he could buy the ship. He’d struck out from Ireland and London on his own nine years ago. The freedom of the sea spoke to him and gave him the independence he craved.
All his dreams for the ship abruptly end when the ships in the harbor were put a fire by the British marines. He could do nothing about it for any show of force against the English forces would only gain more havoc and possible burning of the town.
His life further takes a turn when he was asked by his friend and mentor to masquerade as his son, Nathan, and to accompany him, Devon and their daughter, Lindsey, to London. The president of the young United States himself had requested this of Andre and he had little choice but to go. It was the patriotic choice, for they were to spy for America to understand what was afoot. Since Andre was of French ancestry, his eldest daughter married to a high-ranking man in English parliament, he would be little thought to be spying for America.
Devon comes up with the idea that Ryan dress and act as a fop, so he would be able to overhear what is happening at the balls, etc. It also helps hide his handsome, rugged, masculine features. Fops are known to be concerned about their clothing and slightly dull-witted. Ryan plays the part absolutely perfectly (a complete delight listening to the narrator with his dialog).
Since Ryan and Lindsey were constantly bickering they appeared to be normal siblings, well, until they couldn’t seem to keep their hands off each other. Talk starts circulating they are committing incest, just like Lord Bryon.
Devon keeps what is happening from her husband for he would surely kill Ryan while she tries to keep Lindsey and Ryan apart. Lindsey apparently isn’t the young prim and proper young lady any longer.
~The Raveneau Novels~
The Silver Storm, book 1
Surrender the Stars, book 2
Silver Sea, book 3 Tempest, book 4
My Thoughts: Book 2 of the series is completely different from book 1, but not at all lacking.
Ryan fought hard to stay away from Lindsey. After all, she was his boss’s daughter. Her fiery personality only drew him closer, but they were playing with fire. If they should be caught, they may bring danger to the whole family. Lindsey was snared by Ryan whether she wanted to be or not. After their first kiss, she couldn’t keep him out of her mind. We slowly learn about Ryan, his background, his life in Ireland and London. His life before being captain of the Chimera stands him in good stead when the story of intrigue, and danger, laced with humor unfolds.
I enjoyed how Devon, who by the way, was much like her daughter, in temperament when young, struggled with forbidding her daughter to talk with Ryan and on the other hand understanding how she was drawn to him. She could see Ryan was very much like Andre when they had been young.
This was a ‘chuckler’, highly entertaining and well-written keeping me listening for long hours. I would readily revisit this story again either in printed form or audio.
The narrator, Emily Beresford, must have had a splendid time with all the accents she had to keep apart. Andre’s was slightly French, Devon and Lindsey’s were American, Ryan’s was Irish. Ryan also played the fop, so he had the bored sound that the ton made vogue. The next moment he would be whispering to Lindsey in his Irish brogue. Ms. Beresford impressed me even more in book 2 with her versatility.
Here’s an excerpt from the novel just before Ryan walks into Lindsey’s life:
“I wish you would let me finish this tonight,” complained Betsy Urquhart. She sat alone, surrounded by empty desks, and gazed mournfully at the figure sorting papers at the front of the schoolroom.
“If you had written your theme last night, as instructed, you wouldn’t be here now,” her teacher replied without looking up.
“King Lear is so tedious.” She pouted. “Besides, I thought you were my friend, Lindsay!”
“When we are in this room, I am your teacher and you must address me accordingly. Now, finish your theme so that we may both go home!”
Betsy wrote laboriously for several minutes, then said, “One would never guess that you are just two years older than I am—or that you come from such an adventurous family. I don’t understand how you can be so dull—”
“I am not dull!” Lindsay answered sharply. “Simply because my relatives are afflicted with wanderlust, that does not make me dull. I choose to remain on land and pursue more serious endeavors. I enjoy teaching. Imparting knowledge to others is a great source of satisfaction to me.”
“Do you never long for even a bit of adventure?” Betsy eyed her speculatively. “Or… romance? Mary Pratt told me that the Chimera is supposed to dock today. She’s practically the only ship that has been able to elude that blockade of the Sound, but considering her captain, it’s no surprise.” She paused to sigh dreamily. “I was planning to walk to the Point after school in hopes of seeing him. Surely even you must grow weak at the thought of Ryan Coleraine! I’ve never seen a handsomer man….”
“Don’t be absurd. In the first place, the Chimera is not the first privateer to achieve such feats. My father was just as successful during the Revolutionary War, and, as you know, Papa had the Chimera built, so your precious Ryan Coleraine is in his employ!”
Betsy tossed her curls impatiently. “You haven’t answered my question! Don’t you find Captain Coleraine attractive?”
“We’ve never met, but from what I’ve seen, the answer is no.” Lindsay shuffled her papers nervously. “His looks don’t appeal to me. I prefer fair men. Aside from that, Captain Coleraine’s character is, in my opinion, repugnant.”
“Repugnant?” Betsy was unfamiliar with the word but sensed its meaning. “How can you say such a thing?”
“He’s an uneducated, cocky, ill-mannered rogue,” Lindsay stated with finality. “Take my advice and stay away from men of his ilk. They lack scruples and take pleasure in ruining the reputations of gullible females like you.”
From the doorway, a male voice spoke. “Am I to infer that you don’t approve of me, Miss Raveneau?”
Startled, Lindsay spun around to find Ryan Coleraine leaning against the door frame, one eyebrow arched. A smile of cynical amusement played over his mouth.
“I—I—” she stammered. Hearing Betsy’s muffled giggle, she looked in her direction. “You may go now, Elizabeth.”
“But what about my theme? I’m not finished yet!”
“You may finish it tonight.”
As the teacher and pupil continued to argue, Coleraine’s dark blue eyes wandered over Lindsay Raveneau. He was surprised to discover that she was beautiful, perhaps even more beautiful than her mother. She was about twenty and taller than Devon Raveneau. Even though Lindsay wore a demure, cream-colored chemise frock and a cashmere shawl, Ryan’s practiced eyes detected a lithe, long-legged body with a narrow waist and high, perfect breasts. Her hair was the same amazing rosy-gold shade as her mother’s, and she wore it in a fashionable Grecian knot high atop her head, with a profusion of soft curls escaping to frame her lovely, intelligent countenance.
“Good-bye, Captain Coleraine,” Betsy said as she passed him in the doorway.
Ryan looked at Lindsay. “Dare I enter? I can assure you that I have come not to ruin your reputation but to inquire after your father.”
“Please, come in. I apologize for the things you heard me say about you, but you should have made your presence known instead of eavesdropping.”
He approached her desk, thinking that he had never met a young lady with so cool and confident a gaze. Lindsay’s eyes were striking: thick-lashed and the color of smoke. Her complexion was creamy, with smudges of pink accentuating her cheekbones, and below a delicate nose reposed a mouth with a frankly sensual lower lip. Perhaps there was hope for this bluestocking after all, he thought as his eyes lingered there, then rose to meet her questioning gaze.
“My father is in Philadelphia, Captain Coleraine.”
“So I heard. It’s a pleasure to meet you at last, Miss Raveneau.” Ryan extended a strong hand and gently clasped hers. “I’m sorry that you’re unable to say the same.”
Sensing his amusement, Lindsay strove to retain her composure. What an embarrassing situation this was! “It’s been a long day, Captain Coleraine, and I may have spoken rashly. Again, I beg your pardon. Now, if you don’t mind, I would like to finish my work here. How can I help you?”
“I am anxious to see your father. Able Barker thought that you might know when he’s returning to Pettipauge.”
“Within the week. I’m sorry that I can’t give you an exact date.”
Coleraine shrugged, frustration further darkening his mood. “Well, then, I suppose I’ll just have to wait. I appreciate your speaking to me, Miss Raveneau. I know it can’t have been easy.” He gave her a cool smile and turned toward the schoolhouse doorway. “Good afternoon.”
When his hand touched the latch, Lindsay called, “Wait! There’s something I’ve always wanted to know. Will you tell me how you chose the Chimera’s name? I was surprised when Papa told me that you had christened her.”
He glanced back over one broad shoulder. “I liked the image of a she-monster with a serpent’s tail, a goat’s body, and a lion’s head spitting flames. I think of my ship like the chimera from Greek mythology: a magical creature with the ability to overcome all obstacles.”
Lindsay lifted her chin slightly. “I wouldn’t have expected you to be a student of Greek mythology, Captain.”
He laughed shortly. “Believe it or not, Miss Raveneau, I don’t spend every spare moment seducing unsuspecting young females!”
The door closed behind him and Lindsay found herself alone in the schoolroom, muttering rude rejoinders that she was certain she’d never have an opportunity to employ.
About the Author Cynthia Wright (in her own words): Many of you read my books during my 20 year, 13-novel career with a New York publisher. My historical romances are, as one reader said, “warm, adventurous, loving, and sensual.” They are filled with compelling characters who cross over into other novels, so the families become beloved friends. And, I enjoy incorporating real historical people, places, and events into my novels! After two decades, I took a break from writing to pursue other endeavors, but the “indie” e-book revolution lured me back and I am incredibly excited to have all my books available, re-freshened & re-edited, with stunning new covers. I’m writing again and loving it more than ever.
Last year, I released a brand-new Raveneau novel, TEMPEST, and I’m very grateful for the warm reception from readers. In 2014, I am publishing SMUGGLER’S MOON, the first book in a new Raveneau series called “The Raveneaus in Cornwall!” It’s filled with passion and adventure and I hope you will love it.
Narrator Emily Beresford: Ms. Beresford earned her BA in Liberal Studies from Green Mountain College in Vermont, with concentrations in Creative Writing, Music, and English. In 2013 she was nominated for an Audie Award and received an Earphones Award from AudioFile magazine. She lives in Michigan with her wonderful husband, and two amazing children.
Her comments about this series: I have to say I love this series! Cynthia’s writing is so magical, I never knew I enjoyed Historical Romance this much until her books. Now I am hooked!
One of her fans recently said that her settings for her books become characters in themselves with all the imagery and care she has taken to represent them. That really rang true for me as I always find myself so immersed in her writing and feel like I am actually living it.
Her dialogue is also so true to the timeline of the setting that it adds an extra element of really being present in the story. It has been such an honor narrating her Raveneau Series, and I can’t wait to begin on the upcoming (on audio) Beauvisage Series!