Read Seize the Fire by Laura Kinsale Online

seize-the-fire

Olympia St. Leger is a princess in desperate need of a knight in shining armor. Sheridan Drake, amused by Olympia's innocence and magnificent beauty, but also intrigued by her considerable wealth, accepts the position of white knight. Unaware that Sheridan is a notorious scoundrel, Olympia willingly allows herself to submit to his protection and his potent embrace. TheirsOlympia St. Leger is a princess in desperate need of a knight in shining armor. Sheridan Drake, amused by Olympia's innocence and magnificent beauty, but also intrigued by her considerable wealth, accepts the position of white knight. Unaware that Sheridan is a notorious scoundrel, Olympia willingly allows herself to submit to his protection and his potent embrace. Theirs is a love born in deception. But as they weather storms on the high seas and flee from nefarious villains, the love sparked by lies begins to burn uncontrollably. Taking shelter on a desert island paradise, the princess and the dark knight battle overwhelming odds to keep their adoration burning bright....

Title : Seize the Fire
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780380753994
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 453 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Seize the Fire Reviews

  • Blacky *Romance Addict*
    2019-03-11 11:30

    This is one of the BEST historicals I have EVER read! Bravo!!!!!The second half of the book:My fav quote:"He shrugged. "I suppose I'm a fairly downy bird when it comes to hoaxing dragons. But when one of 'em ties you down and punches you in the stomach, not to mention beating you over the head and drowning you by degrees, it's high time to retire from the field with what grace you can muster." He looked at her, his dark lashes swept low over the silver firelight in his eyes. "I'm sorry you were caught out in the middle, but it's no place for princesses, you know. Dragons have a particular taste for a sweet and helpless royal highness."  "I thought that was what the hero was for," she said tartly. "To rescue the princess."  "Well, you're not eaten, are you? And we heroes weren't created just for the convenience of some feather-headed princess gone astray. We have lives of our own. Hopes, plans, railway stocks…" He shook his head. "But nobody ever thinks of that. It's just rescue the princess and live happily ever after. I've never heard precisely what we're supposed to do when the princess would prefer to start a revolution than marry the poor sod who risked his neck to rescue her. Or announces"—his smile held a bitter twist—"that she'd rather become a streetwalker."  Olympia sat up away from him. "Steal her jewels, perhaps," she said acidly.  To her astonishment and rage, he had the gall to catch her back. Olympia struggled, pushing at his hands, but in spite of her fight he held her up close to him, his arm around her chest. "You'll have your damned jewels returned," he said into her hair."I love this quote <3 And I love him! Best damn anti-hero ever written. He can't even be labeled an anti-hero, he is just a person who does what is necessary to survive. I love every scheming, lying bit of him <3

  • Wicked Incognito Now
    2019-03-11 12:44

    I am often reall embarrassed to be a lover of romance novels. I don't tell everyone, because I don't want them to think I am simple-minded because I just like reading about love stories and happy endings.Then, I feel irritation at myself and anyone who would judge my reading choices. I am more intelligent than the average bear. I have just as much (or more) capacity for deep, intellectual thought as the next person. And I DO enjoy excellent literary fiction. I just ALSO enjoy romance novels :-)And I'm still a discerning reader.What chaps my hide the most is the assumption by most literary snobs that romance novelists write trite drivel.In fact, the truly great romance novelists are better authors than many of the critically acclaimed, award-winning authors of general fiction that I have read. These authors (the good ones) have just as much capacity for symbolism and social commentary as the latest Booker Prize winner. The only difference between a genre writer and these other authors is that genre writers must uphold the rules of their genre. For instance, a romance most focus on the hero/heroine relationship and end with a "happily ever after."My long and drawn out point is that Laura Kinsale is one of the truly excellent romance writers who I refer to. Her writing is truly extraordinary. When I discovered her about six months ago, I promptly went out and bought every novel of hers I could find, then stashed them like nuts to be brought out slowly and with relish.This Kinsale novel, Seize the Fire, is one of her better ones. Not quite as stunning as Flowers from the Storm or For My Lady's Heart, but darn good.This is a story of PTSD and it's long-suffering effects.I have a few problems with the heroine. She was kind of annoying in a Pollyanna, gullible indominadable spirit sort of way. But her character needed to be so darn silly in order to fall so far, and then to truly understand the hero's internal demons.The story goes in many unexpected and odd directions. But it works in a way that only Laura Kinsale can pull off.Altogether great.

  • Alex Morrison
    2019-03-05 12:35

    Actual Rating: 4.5I am so glad I didn't give up on this book. More coherent thoughts later.Edit:This book isn't perfect - let's get that out of the way first. After having read three novels by Kinsale, I'm coming to understand that she tends to shove A LOT into 400 pages. I read this after My Sweet Folly which really suffered under the weight of the twists and turns she introduced, but that was not the case here - despite global adventures, pirates, a revolution, and a pet penguin. I almost DNF'ed this at 30% due to my frustration with the Heroine. She was ridiculously naive and I had a hard time connecting with her. Luckily, the Hero - Sheridan, (well, anti-Hero), was so fascinating, amazingly dryly funny, and a delight to read so I stuck with it - and I am so glad I did. She felt along his arm, outlining the shape and curve of the net. "Oh," she said. "A hammock." "Hmm." "Will you be quite comfortable?" "Oh, quite," he said with heavy irony. He heard her move into the berth below him. She bumped him and apologized at least seven times. Finally, she settled down. The creak of the deck and the gurgle of water filled the silence. Sheridan crossed his arms and swung gently. In the berth below, Olympia lay with her shoulders propped against the hard bulkhead. She chewed her finger and stared into the shapeless dark above her. "Sir Sheridan?" He grunted."I didn't go back to see Fish, you know." He made another uninterested sound. She fumbled in the dark at her blankets. "Fish gave me his harmonica. Do you mind if I play it for a little while?" "Oh, God."Our Heroine grows a spine (for those who have read the The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning, I was reminded a lot of Mac's character development over the first five books - going from an annoying girl to a competent woman) in a fantastic fashion that made me whoop out loud.How noble, she'd thought. How selfless, how gallant, how brave. What a fool she must have looked. What an idiotic, mindless, calf-eyed little fool...She and Mustafa would track the vicious traitor down. They would find him. And then… Then she would do what the thugs had not. She would kill him with her own hands.I also adore that this novel took place over a year. Often I will be reading a historical romance and a character will make mention of a ridiculously small time frame - i.e. "It's hard to believe I met him only a fortnight ago..." and I'm instantly taken out of the story. Thankfully, Kinsale lets her characters grow and fall in love within a more natural time table.Sheridan is one of my favorite Heroes of all the time. ALL TIME. For the first bit of this book I didn't consider it to be a historical romance, instead it was a character study into a truly charming cad of the highest order. He is not a good person. He taunts the Heroine to a degree that should be shameful, but I just loved him for it. Kinsale writes him in such a way that you know he is not truly being cruel, despite his horrific actions, and each page offers the opportunity to discover his true motivations.Sheridan closed his eyes. Hysteria fluttered in his throat. He wanted to shout and curse and babble fear. Instead he only managed one pathetic oath before a wave slapped his mouth and filled it with seawater. He spat it out and sobbed for air. The cannon still filled the sky with the crashing, uneven sound of battle. He thought, with a kind of grief, of fresh eggs and hot coffee. Another wave hit him, washing furious tears off his face. With sodden, sluggish strokes, he tried to swim. Something large and shadowy slid past beneath him in the water. His muscles went paralytic. He floated and prayed. It was bloody hell being a hero.So we have a Hero who is a reluctant figurehead of an ideal man and a Heroine who is incredibly naive. The best thing about this novel is that they both acknowledge these faults and accept each other for who they are. Too often in historical romances you have rakish men committing sins against their Heroines who then accept them back because it was only caused by a dark past, or some such. That does play in here, but these two are on equal footing. Sheridan loves Olympia, and vows to protect her, fully aware that she is not the most level-headed of people. That, to me, is almost revolutionary in a historical romance. I really found their partnership to be so much deeper because of their acceptance of each other. Nothing here is one sided. He is patient. She is understanding. They are made for each other.She closed her eyes, breathing rapidly. "I can't do it," she said. "I can't do it. I know I can't." He said nothing, no arguments, no advice or encouragement. When she opened her eyes, he was still watching her steadily. "I'm afraid," she said in a trembling voice. He waited. "There must be some other—" She swallowed, hearing the pleading in her words. "I can't. Oh, God, I have to, don't I?" His eyes were infinitely patient. "I have to do it," she said. "We can't live without that knife." "I won't let you fall," he said quietly. "I have to do it." She couldn't quite conquer the quiver in her voice. "I will." He took her face in his hands and kissed her hard. Plus, there is a pet baby penguin. That rests on the toe of a boot. I'll let you figure out whose toes :). Really, truth was such an abominably awkward inconvenience.In summary, it's been quite sometime since I had the urge to immediately re-read a book again after reaching the last page. I just know this one would improve upon a second or third pass - and I confess, I would not mind spending some more time with Sheridan.

  • Zoe
    2019-03-19 14:35

    What a crazy book!? The plots are crazy, the characters are crazy. They travelled from Europe then the Americas, stranded on an island, then to Turkey and there was a sultan. A princess, a revolution, a un-heroic hero. This book is ce-razy!!What I loved about the book (and what earned this book 4 stars in my book): CHARACTERIZATION all the waySheridan (38) and Olympia (24?) are by no means the usual character types you see in this genre. Sheridan is a handsome scoundrel with no principles. He was a selfish coward and did not have a noble bone in him. Olympia is a pudgy and naive princess who was constantly down on herself because she had been told that she was too fat. Who wants a coward who abandoned the damsel in distress for a hero? And who wants a naive Her Highness who berated herself for being fat for a heroine? How do you portray such characters in a realistic way but positive light? Laura Kinsale did it. She made Sheridan and Olympia dear and sweet in their own authentic ways. I could not be mad at Sheridan for being the ass that he was. He was a survivor, not a hero, and never claimed to be one. He was not mean-spirited. He just did what he believed necessary for his survival, and that had usually excluded the possibility of being noble. Olympia the character really owed everything to Sheridan. She thought herself fat and unattractive. But Sheridan made her beautiful and as a reader I saw Olympia through Sheridan's eyes. She was his love. Her appearance wasn't relevant. I could not NOT see Olympia as Sheridan saw her: his princess. For any writer who wants to write a "plain" heroine, please take a lesson from Laura Kinsale. I have always said, I do not need my heroine to be Helen of Troy, but it is enough already with all the "she knows she is not attractive" and all the attempts to paint the woman in less flattering ways. It is ok if you want to write about a plain girl, but please let me see through the hero's eyes. She must be pretty to him. Show me how she looks like, as perceived by him. This is what Laura Kinsale did. I saw Olympia through Sheridan's eyes, a woman of his own heart. She was what was beautiful to Sheridan, and that was all that mattered. I was entirely captured by the endearing characters and their relationship. They were not anywhere near perfect but I loved them despite their imperfections. Now that, is fantastic characterization. The story itself, for most the time when I was reading this book, I thought: am I too stupid to appreciate the mastery in storytelling and writing or is this book that crazy? I struggled with the nonsense and the incredulity of these 430 pages of lunacy. But like a lunatic I held on to it. If Sheridan and Olympia were crazy, I went a little nuts going on the wild ride with them. It didn't make sense, what was happening. I wanted to scream out of frustration because I didn't know where Laura Kinsale was going with what she had going on. One outrageous event after another, I watched Sheridan and Olympia pull themselves through this muddy book. Now I got imaginary mud on my hand because I couldn't stop myself from getting into the mud with Sheridan and Olympia. And I am sitting in the mud after the fight, wondering as much as I had despised getting mud on my hands, why the hell did I enjoy it so much? Someone please read this book and tell me I have not gone mad. I am completely lost at how I feel about this story. I can only say I couldn't have stopped reading if I wanted.

  • Caz
    2019-03-19 14:34

    I read this a while back and haven't had time to write a full review. I did, however, write this mini-review for AAR.I felt emotionally exhausted by the time I’d finished reading this book. There’s no way to do it justice in couple of paragraphs, but there’s no question that in Sheridan Drake, Ms Kinsale has created one of the most complex, compelling heroes – should that be anti-heroes? – I’ve ever read.A decorated naval officer, widely regarded as one of the nation’s heroes, Sheridan knows he’s a fraud. He’s clever, ruthless and manipulative, but finds himself on the receiving end of similar treatment following his father’s death, when his father’s former mistress – who is companion to Olympia, princess of a small European state – insists Sheridan marries Olympia in order for him to obtain the inheritance left him. Olympia already has a serious case of hero-worship, even before she meets Sheridan, and of course he exploits that to the full – but she nonetheless turns him down. A series of misadventures sees the couple running off in secret, captured by convicts, stranded on an island together, and then sold into slavery, and over the course of those events, Olympia comes to see Sheridan at his worst, and his best – and to love him in spite of it all.I honestly couldn’t put the book down. It’s not an easy read at times, because Sheridan is a difficult character to like. But it gradually becomes clear that he is not really what he seems to be, and that he’s in fact a deeply troubled man who is haunted by so many of those events for which he has been lauded as a hero. My one complaint about the book is that the ending is very abrupt, but it’s still an amazing story.

  • Melissa
    2019-03-01 12:33

    The first time I read Seize the Fire was last year, shortly after finishing my first (and still favorite) book by Laura Kinsale, Flowers from the Storm, and I have to admit -- I just didn't get it. It was so weird! Flowers from the Storm had been unusual and full of heartrending emotions and high angst, but it was grounded in a setting I recognized in historical romances. The whole story takes place in England, and its concerns -- health, finances, religion -- were fairly domestic, if far from prosaic.Then I read Seize the Fire, with its exiled princess heroine, its cynical sea captain hero, its high seas adventures and pirates and desert islands; with its long treks across Middle Eastern deserts, its sultans, slaves, and harems, its Ruritarian coup d'etat. I was very puzzled. What the heck was I reading? It all seemed so far-fetched and out there. And then there was the plump, extremely naive heroine, Princess Olympia of Oriens, who for the first part of the book I almost despised for her stupidity. There were parts I liked. The hero, Captain Sir Sheridan Drake, wasn't a rogue in name only, but a genuinely self-centered liar and thief, and he was pretty intriguing. The stretch of the book set on an island in the Falklands was exciting, romantic, and full of wonderful character development. (Plus, Napoleon the penguin!) But overall I felt let down and confused. This was no Flowers from the Storm. Where were Maddygirl and Jervaulx? A duchess inside!!!!Since that first reading, I've read other books by Laura Kinsale, and it didn't take me long to realize that a.) no two of her books are alike or cookie-cutter in any way, and b.) Flowers from the Storm is more the anomaly in her oeuvre, not Seize the Fire. Many of Kinsale's books take plots, characters, and settings to wild extremes -- that's kind of her thing, and in truth it's pretty wonderful. In fact, it grew to be one of the things I loved most about her stories, that unpredictability, and the grand adventures that accompanied the romances of heroes and heroines as they swept from the sands of Arabia to the Hawaiian islands, from Provence to Tahiti, from pirate ships to English country manors.So, I read this book again -- listened to the audiobook narrated by Nicholas Boulton, actually -- and this time I liked it much, much more than I had before. The crazy twists and turns of plot and setting seemed like good things, not bad, and I got completely wrapped up in the emotional journey of Olympia and Sheridan. Olympia still bugged the heck out of me during the early part of the book, but I think she's supposed to. She annoys Sheridan, too. But as she grows and changes, becoming stronger and less silly, she becomes a heroine worth admiring.As for Sheridan Drake, in him Kinsale created one of the most complex, multi-layered, fascinating, funny, maddening, and heartbreaking of all her heroes -- and Kinsale writes some amazing heroes, so that's saying something. He really made this book for me. The story of him coming to terms with the horrors he experienced during his time in the Navy, and the guilt, self-loathing, and post-traumatic stress that came along as a result, is told with depth, beauty, and empathy. He's a great character, and Nicholas Boulton's portrayal in the audiobook is unbelievably moving.I do still have some quibbles. For one, the character of Mustafa veers too close to Middle Eastern stereotype for me at times and makes me a little uncomfortable. The end of the book, while very touching, felt a bit abrupt; I would've appreciated spinning out the story of what happened to Sheridan and Olympia just a little bit more. As it is, their "happy ever after" is a tenuous and bittersweet one. Though maybe that's okay. It's very realistic, at least. These are two damaged and broken people, and even though they've both seemed to reach a turning point by the story's end, I can't help feeling that they have a long, hard road ahead of them in order to find some normalcy and peace.Overall, though, what a story! All written in Kinsale's elegant, sophisticated, stylish prose that paints incredibly vivid pictures and evokes such strong emotion, too. She is, in the words of Tina Turner, simply the best -- better than all the rest. ;)

  • Glamdring
    2019-02-28 11:44

    The best asset of this book is Sheridan, the hero. He alone is worth a 4 stars. But then we have the heroine and the story.SheridanSheridan is not your standard bad boy or gamma hero, he is a anti hero plain and simple and doesn't apologize about it. Also, he is honest and clear about it with the heroine. I enjoyed him a lot.OlympiaI have nothing against naive or/and idealist heroines in historical romances. But let's face it, Olympia wasn't only that. At one point of the story, Sheridan went to great length to build them a cover, and she blew it on a whim. A bit latter, two men got killed because of her. That's what I call being criminally stupid. Then she seemed to redeem herself, unfortunately that didn't last long. The storyWhile reading this book I was under the impression that Laura Kinsale was under a creative frenzy but couldn't wait to write several books so she packed all her ideas in this one.I won't lie, some parts of the book were great, but other were way too far fetched or OTT and other didn't make sense at all.

  • Preeti ♥︎ (Romance She Reads)
    2019-03-05 13:29

    Anti-hero is too glamorous a label for him. He is a scoundrel, a lying low-life, a common thief, a blackguard, a cad and he should be boiled in a vat of hot oil for his self-serving ways. Only his fallen angel charm, devilish wit and bad boy sex appeal lets him get away with it. Of all the cheating, lying Hs I’ve read about, he has to be the worst but at the same time the most lovable and the most swoonworthy! He dares you to not like him despite his repeated transgressions and acts of treachery. But really he is so much more than all that…The h is a chubby princess- idealistic, naïve and dim witted with it-no other way to put it. A perfect foil for him perhaps. He is an accidental naval hero, turned down-on-his-luck civilian. So when the wide-eyed ingénue turns to the scoundrel for help, he naturally tries to hatch the perfect plan to take advantage of her. What follows is a trans continental flight, dodge, hide and chase. They even end up stranded on a cold deserted island near Falkland’s and that was my favorite part of the story. Things get heavy and serious towards the end but at the same time more gripping. The story takes a long circuitous route to its happily, refreshing your geography and history along the way. And it’s almost as if the book is written by two people, or at least by a person in two very different moods. The story gets choppy and confusing at places making me skim some pages but then heshines through with his dry wit and inimitable manner, and you are solidly hooked again. He's like an actor with an amazing star presence carrying an otherwise average movie through, on his very capable shoulders.A/N: I would have liked a confrontation between Miss Plump and Mrs. Plumb, but alas ‘twas not to be!

  • Corduroy
    2019-02-28 13:26

    Well, I had some feelings about this book, which seemed like it was really multiple adventure-romances Vulcan mind-melded together into one totally next-level insane adventure-romance. Heroine is Olympia, a princess of "Oriens", a tiny kingdom in the Alps. Hero is Sheridan, an outwardly heroic Navy dude. Olympia is on fire with democratic longings and wishes to get back to the kingdom she's never actually seen, to lead her people to a peaceful democratic revolution. Sheridan just got out of the Navy and is totally broke. Through various complex plot mechanisms, they wind up jaunting about the globe together, heading (with many accidental side journeys) to Oriens. Also, toward LOOOOOVE. Okay, things in no order: *Man, the parts where Sheridan is obsessed with Olympia's body totally worked for me. It's weird how rarely you actually get this in historical romances - there's a lot of the hero thinking that the lady is very attractive, but not as much of him feeling compelled to bite her flesh as you'd think, you know what I mean? *In the beginning, Olympia is extremely silly, extremely naive. By the middle she's less silly but still very idealistic. By the end she is less idealistic. I wasn't sure while reading and am still not totally sure how I felt about this progression. I mean, in the beginning, she is EXTREMELY silly. Not stupid, but totally naive and kind of foolish. *Sheridan is initially revealed to be a knave, and then revealed to have crazy intense PTSD from all of his crazy melodramatic backstory issues (not just the military stuff - it turns out that he was also enslaved, and that his dad was a totally loopy trickster figure. Oh also, he was captured by Thugs and forced to become a holy assassin for a time. Oh yeah. Sheridan really got around.) - I wasn't sure about this, either. Sometimes I didn't understand why he needed so much melodramatic Action!Backstory, when it seemed like maybe just being a Navy dude who'd seen a lot of brutal action would be enough.*All of that said, I totally liked Sheridan and Olympia, and I'm not really sure how Kinsale pulled this off. I think she may be some kind of romance wizard. *If you have ever wished that historical romances really exploited the slow burn of having sexual dalliance while also needing to preserve someone's technical virginity, then this is the book for you. Phew! Um, I found it effective. Also the parts where Sheridan is explaining to Olympia why people want to have sex and why it feels good. Why don't other authors play with this trope? Because it was an awesome scene. *I can't even describe the insane adventure melodrama. You've got pirates, maroonings, houses full of trap doors, assassins hot on your trail, slave caravans, revolutions, forced marriages, spies, it just went on and on and on. I felt kind of like maybe it would have worked better for me to have about a third of the adventure and save the rest for other books, but what do I know, I am not a romance wizard. *I completely failed to understand the whole situation with Sheridan's dead dad and why he was a crazy person who loved to "prank" his son by enlisting him in the Navy at 10 years of age and so on, and his relationship with Julia, Olympia's governess, and why (and how) the British government was involved with all of this. It was probably in the book, I just couldn't focus any more because of all the SULTANS SLAVE TRADERS PIRATES ORPHANED PENGUINS and so on. *I kind of felt at a couple of moments like this book had weird feminist elements. Sheridan is Olympia's protector and so on, and he is very hot and tough and violent, but there are also a couple of moments where he demands that Olympia behave like a grown woman and help save them/herself, and is first flabbergasted ("But I'm a lady!") and then actually gets it together and does it, and it was kind of moving to me. And really surprising, for a historical romance. This book was crazy and outlandish and ridiculous and I also really loved it. Kinsale's prose, as always, is gorgeous, and she can sell you characters, no matter how odd they are, like nobody's business. I also totally believed in the chemistry between the two by the time anything started to happen.

  • Caz
    2019-02-23 15:34

    I've given this an A+ for narration (well, duh!) and an A for content at AudioGals.Even though I have eagerly snatched up every single audiobook from this hugely talented author/narrator team as soon as they’ve appeared, Seize the Fire is one I’ve been waiting for ever since Laura Kinsale and Nicholas Boulton began their collaboration. The prospect of hearing Sheridan Drake brought to life in all his tortured, roguish, f**cked-up, delicious glory by such a wonderfully skilled narrator made this one of my most highly anticipated listens of the year. And needless to say, my expectations were more than met.You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

  • Ashley
    2019-03-13 19:26

    How do I describe my love for this book? Laura Kinsale had me nearly in tears when I finished it last night. (view spoiler)[ The hero and heroine are both still so messed up at the end, suffering from PTSD and without a ridiculous epilogue to make everything better. Truly, I loved how unsentimental it was, and how Sheridan and Olympia, the hero and heroine, don't expect their love to fix them. They only recognize that they care deeply for each other and don't want to be alone when the world is easier for them to face together. The very direct and kind dedication at the end of novel was also really lovely.(hide spoiler)] This book is on par with Flowers from the Storm for me; it really is that good. Sometimes I feel like nostalgia or general giddiness causes me to over-inflate my rating for a book, but that is not the case here. The first thing I woke up thinking this morning was, That was a fucking amazing book. Thank you to everyone who recommended it to me. Yes, it ticks a lot of my boxes--almost the entire story takes place outside of England, the heroine grows into a capable, wily, independent person, and the hero is an asshole who is more of an anti-hero than anything--but it's also just a really fantastic, beautiful, well-written novel. I loved how this was so much a coming of age story for the heroine; it took place over the course of a year, perhaps slightly longer, and Olympia grew and changed so much. She is a heroine truly worth taking interest in, not a blank slate for readers to project themselves onto, and seeing every one of her illusions about herself and the world she lives in shattered was oddly gratifying, and quite relatable for most readers, I'm sure. Sheridan Drake, the hero, is maybe my all time favorite Historical Romance hero. He's Jamie Fraser levels of amazing. I like him even better than the Duke of Jervaulx. Ignore the fact that I chose an edition of this book with a godawful cover. It is a wonderful novel that deserves better than a ridic cover like this.Basically Alex wrote a much better, more coherent review of this book here, and you should definitely read it. Oh, and I totally think Kinsale was inspired by the Moldavian Wedding Massacre. Just saying.

  • MomToKippy
    2019-03-19 19:28

    Kinsale is a master story teller. Do not be misled into thinking that her work fits neatly in the romance category. Kinsale succeeds on all levels again. We have complex character development, a demanding plot with twists and turns, important psychological subject matter, a roller coaster ride taking us around the world to unexpected places, and ability to convey love/grief that transcends all. Full of tragedy and angst and nail biting adventure. I am spent. 4.5

  • AliciaJ
    2019-02-21 11:35

    This is my favorite of Laura Kinsale's books. The cover is stunningly beautiful ( on the first edition hardcover), the characters are fantastic, and the story hits every romantic button in my body. I've read this book over and over and it's still fresh every time. I never get tired of it.

  • Kid Disaster
    2019-02-18 13:19

    New book for the reread pile.

  • Jennifer
    2019-02-21 11:30

    Wow. There was a lot going on here. Regency, Gothic,Julie of the Wolves/Island of Blue Dolphins survival porn, pirates, Arabian slavery, plus a very serious case of post war PTSD. I am way too confused to write a review.

  • Melanie
    2019-03-21 18:20

    I really didn't think I'd like Sheridan Drake, especially after reading the first 100 pages... He had his moments, where I could maybe understand why Olympia, naive that she was, would fall for him.. And I was still surprised when he abandoned her in Madeira, especially after that sweet "Greensleaves" moment.. Then, when they met up again, if I'd been her, I'd have killed him, no kidding! I only started falling in love with him when they were shipwrecked, and by the time they were rescued (yes, the five months were probably necessary for Olympia to fall back in love with him, lol), I was head over heels, even though he still got on my nerves, what with his attitude, and lying.. All in all, it was probably one of my favorites for three reasons:1. The book took place over a year, which, I must say, given Sheridan's actions, is the necessary time for Olympia to fall in love with him.. I only wish we'd had more time with them on the island..2. Sheridan: Ok.. I hated him the first third of the book, him being such a lying and scheming coward, but he redeemed himself on that island, and once you find out his past, you can't help but want to take him to your breast and comfort him (and eventually do other things, lol)...3. Weirdly enough, I enjoyed the convoluted plot: Our couple - one princess and one ex-slave - travels half the world, is shipwrecked for 5 (!) months, sold into slavery and captured by a sultan, before having an attempted forced marriage and a civil revolution... Crazy stuff!!! If you can suspend reality long enough to read this book, it's a great and diverting read, and you never know what to expect...So there... It's a weird plot, Sheridan is a villain-turned-hero, Olympia is hopelessly naive, but it works! 5*!

  • Mary B.
    2019-02-25 11:18

    I'm not quite sure what to say. This is my second Kinsale book, the first being "Flowers from the Storm." Like FftS, Seize the Fire was a long, arduous and often convoluted plot which ended in a powerfully emotional, tear-inducing, grab-you-by-the-gut-type of ending. The difference is that... with Flowers from the Storm, I felt as though the ends justified the means. In other words, as the reader, I really understood why it was absolutely necessary for Kinsale to take the readers along for the detailed, long, and complex story. Whereas, in Seize the Fire, I didn't feel that way. It was just... heavy. And sometimes really difficult to follow. Complexity and angst is awesome - I love that stuff. But in this case it just felt superfluous. Either way... it was still mostly ok. I did enjoy parts of it immensely. And I always wanted to know what was going to happen next.

  • puppitypup
    2019-03-01 15:36

    Historic Romance I thought this was going to be another silly romance. I was wrong. Not since Jamie sent Claire back through the stones has a book hurt this much to read. This book deals with PTSD with such realism, I could hardly breathe.The author put her dedication at the very end, understandably so. It reads "This book is dedicated to the combat veterans of Vietnam. With respect, and love, and hope for healing."This is one of the most romantic books I've read, in a class with Tale of Two Cities, but I feel bad calling it a romance, it's so much deeper than that. Highly recommend, for adults only due to intimate scenes.For heaven's sake, I just read the book blurb. I'm pretty sure whoever wrote that hasn't read past Chapter 8.

  • Jessa ♥dhanger♥ EvilDarkSide
    2019-02-25 19:24

    Oh man, I almost missed out on a precious gem of a book. I got about 50 pages into Sieze the Fire and started thinking that it wasn't my type of story. I put it down and moved on to something else. For the next few days it kept bothering me that I didn't give it more of a chance, so I picked it back up and tried again. Boy, am I glad I did. One of my initial reasons for disliking the book was the hero (or I should say more appropriately the anti-hero) of the book. Sheridan is a bastard at worse and a jerk at best. He is quite selfish and the way he treats Olympia is appalling and at times unforgivable. But, as the story evolved I found myself forgiving Sheriden little by little. He is who he is for a reason and he doesn't apologize or make excuses for it. Although his attitude and actions are hard to swallow, you start to understand and realize the inner battle he fights within. There is so much pain in Sheriden and he constantly punishes those around him and most of all himself. At times it seems that Sheriden is barely holding on to sanity. I quickly realized that he couldn't love Olympia without loving himself first and that seemed near impossible. In his own words, He despised himself, he was lost, he couldn't put these pieces into a person anymore. Seeing Sheriden work through his inner termoil and sort out his demon ridded past was a major part of his recovery. Olympia is another important part of his recovery. She finally musters her courage to stand by him no matter what. In her own words, She would not be afraid of him, he was too afraid of himself. Olympia finally breaks through Sheriden's emotional armor but it unfortunately turns out to be a tad too late. Circumstances pull them apart and the cruelty of life turn the tables on them. Now Sheriden is the one that will have to open himself up and put everything at risk for the women he loves and the life he wants.

  • Errolyn
    2019-02-26 18:25

    So Unexpected. So good. It is always a joy to go into a book expecting a certain type of entertainment...and get something all together different, but in a good way. This was my experience with this book. And it made me appreciate it even more.My re-introduction into historical romance continues. From the blurb I expected a nice lighthearted, and humorous adventure with the usual romance staples: they meet, they hate each other, they fight, they kiss, they fight some more, love, love, love, they break up, and finally love. And in many ways I got that. It was loads of fun in many areas. Olympia is so naive and airheaded at times, and Sheridan is besides himself with wanting to throw her over a railing or dump in her a sack and throw her in the ocean. And Sheridan is not noble by any means. He is all about how he is going to survive and make money, and if that means throwing you to the wolves or abandoning you in the wilderness...he will do it...and Olympia fins out the hard.But underneath all of that, and throughout the whole book the author weeds in so much reality. As you learn more about Sheridan...and dig deeper...he becomes so real. His problems are so real and timely. He is so broken and in need to help and Olympia being so open and free with their affection and love is the perfect person to help him..if he will let her. And he is the prefect person to help her through the events to come in her life and kingdom..he is the perfect person with the perfect life experience to break her out of her self-indulgence and naivete. You are drawn into their story and their characters thoroughly and kind help rooting for them.This book had adventure, romance, tragedy, danger, and everything else you want in a story. It seems a crime to call it a mere romance. I enjoyed it immensely. 

  • Jane
    2019-03-14 17:36

    I have cleared my rating and review.

  • Sally
    2019-02-22 15:23

    I don't think I can accurately describe my love for this book (I even think I prefer it to Flowers from the Storm!). I almost don't want to think about it too much just in case I find some issues that I can't get past.I think that Laura Kinsale is becoming one of my favourite authors. I've now read three of her books over the last month or so and I've really enjoyed all of them. Her writing is so beautiful and it brings up such vivid pictures in my mind without being overly descriptive and her characters are a joy. I loved the 'hero' Sheridan. Even though he could be an utter arsewipe at times, I never quite felt that he'd gone TOO far. And Olympia... well, in pretty much any other book I would have thought that her naivety was just unbelievable and ridiculous, but I kind of bought it. Maybe it helped that I half thought of this as having a fairytale like quality right from the beginning. NAPOLEON IS POSSIBLY THE CUTEST THING I HAVE EVER READ. Oh god, that baby penguin. I teared up when they had to give him up and let him go back to his own kind. I would NOT have minded if they'd stayed on that island forever, all three of them together.There were so many scenes that I'd like to go back and reread either because they made me smile or they made me cry. I actually loved the scene in the hut where Sheridan is delivering his lecture before the practical demonstration. For some reason it worked for me. I am glad there's no epilogue and that it's left up to me to imagine what happens next. A lot of the time I find epilogues to be completely unnecessary. Ugh, I still can't get all my feelings out properly. I can't untangle them all! Original reviewProper review to follow when it's not stupid o'clock in the morning and I don't have tears running down my face.

  • A.B. Gayle
    2019-02-25 17:42

    Before I started reading m/m I used to devour Regency Romance, beginning with Georgette Heyer and progressing through Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Loretta Chase and Laura Kinsale. The last four were my first foray into ebooks, as I discovered authors who were rarely seen in print in bookshops and libraries in Australia. (We are a deprived lot and rely heavily on female librarians who managed to sway the purchasing power of their male counterparts who believe romance is BAD and would much prefer to fill the shelves with murder and mayhem.)Ebooks also enabled me to seek out backlists and my Fictionwise account grew alarmingly! But I didn't care!A chance remark by Elisa Rolle, reminded me of Laura's books, so I re-read "Seize the Fire".Now that I'm a fledgling author, I read the book with a different viewpoint. This time, I was more conscious of the formulaic aspects and the way the action jerked forward at times in incredibly fortuitous ways, but there are some great pieces of writing and a delicious heroine and anti-hero with so many "Save the Cat" moments that I lost count. (Or should it have been Save the Penguin?)This is a story of two distinct parts of a relationship. The infatuation stage where each sees the exterior of the person. The bared bones stage when all the fences are down and they re-fall in love with the inner person The plot itself is unbelievable. As we say in Australia: Just how much can a koala bear.The historical world building and different locations probably suited the era/market/publisher but, for me, detracted from the inherent story underneath about dealing with grief and guilt and learning to accept oneself and others flaws and all. Nowadays, these aspects would be more to the fore. It's not even as if all these physical ports in the storm needed to be visited to get the point across. Almost like three category romances rolled into one.The surface is glossy, but I also enjoyed the meat underneath.

  • Ania
    2019-03-09 14:40

    Changing this from 4.5 to 5 stars because I loved it even more after re-reading it.I don't think I have the words to properly convey how much I absolutely adored this book. It was rather unexpected the way it just pulled me in. I started it thinking one thing and by the end of it, I was crying my eyes out, completely floored by how wonderful and amazing it had all been. It was one of those books you feel satisfied when the end comes and yet you wish you could have just a little bit more. It was that bittersweet.It was an exciting adventure, I loved every single part of it, and above all it was great reading about my city in a book. I actually live right next to the place where the "palaquins" used to be(the basket sledges are still a thing!) As for the rest, don't even me get started on the Island - I wish they had stayed there forever! Sheridan was everything an anti-hero ought to be, on that Island. He was quick-witted, he was sarcastic, he was fearless! It was impossible not to fall in love with him,(view spoiler)[ Poor Olympia did try her damnest to resist, but she still took too much time for my taste, I would've been all over him as soon as the boat crashed. (hide spoiler)]As for Olympia, I loved that for someone who had spent more than half her live in seclusion she was so certain of her ideals and principles. I really admired that about her. You can actually see her growing and learning that judging others isn't really all that's cracked up to be. It's easier to do it when you're not right in the thick of it.As per usual, Laura Kinsale continues to slay with her amazing prose and dialogue. This is a book I imagine myself re-reading over and over again, even if just for the sheer wonderfulness that is Sir Sheridan Drake.

  • Fsabtow
    2019-02-27 17:32

    I never write reviews. Ever. I rely on them but selfish-to-busy-to-write-barely-enough-time-to read- 'ole me doesn't write reviews/comments/anything on the world wide web. This book? Yanked me out of self-titled importance and practically begged me to write something. I've read my fair share of romance, and never in my lengthy and at times unhealthy experiences have I read a tale so beautiful and heart wrenching and funny and splendid. I smelt the ocean. I felt her anguish. His heartache. I was transported...and that ladies and ladies, is what inspired me to finish this gem in about 6 hours- forgoing reason and work and life and sleep. If you want something akin to a real out of body experience read this.

  • Searock
    2019-03-14 15:30

    4.5 stars

  • Katie
    2019-02-23 18:17

    Let me say that I never write reviews. This is my first Goodreads review. I just had to write and muddle through my thoughts so that I can move on.I'm not sure how I'll read another romance after this. I think this book may give me some serious book hangover. So many romances are trivial and this is not. I don't ever expect Laura Kinsale's books to be trivial or shallow, but holy cow. This one blew the others (that I've read of hers) out of the water as far as character depth and characters that are REAL. Sheridan. Wow. I hated him and I loved him, but by the end of the book I loved him. I was pleasantly surprised by how flawed he was. He was pretty awful throughout the book, but I kind of loved him for it. He makes other "alpha" and "tortured" heroes look petty. And as the wife of an active duty soldier (who is currently in the middle of his second deployment), I was deeply moved by his PTSD and I appreciate the way Kinsale handled it.Olympia. She kind of reminded me of myself in the way she was unsure, naive, and insecure. But she was also good-hearted and honest. I loved (in a bitter-sweet, heart-wrenching sort of way) the way Sheridan gives her a healthy dose of reality, both good and bad. He loves her but he lies to her. He takes care of her, while at the same time treating her pretty horribly. I was intrigued because of the very fact that I'd never read anything like it. And I've also just realized that my review on Olympia has gone right back to Sheridan. Oops? As usual, Kinsale's writing is magic. I *wish* I could write like her. There are very few authors I aspire to write like, and Kinsale is one of them. Sometimes I would just sit and say, "Wow, she conveyed that emotion perfectly" or "I feel exactly what she's describing." Not a lot of writers (especially in this day and age) make me say that.Was this a long book? Yes. Was it confusing at times? Yes. Despite that, I have to say this is my second favorite Kinsale book (after Flowers from the Storm). READ IT!Update May 2016:I read this book a second time and loved it even more this time around. I think it has surpassed Flowers from the Storm, but only by a little bit. Knowing Sheridan's character and the reasons behind it made me appreciate him even more throughout the book. Never has a hero made me want to cry for him. I fell in love with him all over again and I just wanted to hug him.Same for Olympia. I can see how some might think her to be annoying but I thought Kinsale fleshed her out perfectly. She was so naive and sheltered and good, to the point of foolishness. Meeting Sheridan puts her through obstacles and situations that force her to open her eyes to the real world and the real Sheridan. By the end of the book she's extremely smart and cunning, able to see people for who they really are and knowing better than to blindly trust anyone and everyone. It was bittersweet to see her mature and grow in that way, but it happens to all of us. I wish there were a sequel so we could see how Sheridan and Olympia help each other through the years, maybe have kids and manage a happy life. I so want a happy life for Sheridan. Thank you, Laura Kinsale, for making me feel WAY too much for two fictional characters. You're brilliant.

  • Regan Walker
    2019-03-17 15:35

    Masterful, Absorbing Storytelling An intriguing, well-written tale of a tortured hero who must come to terms with his past, and a brave young woman who must face reality. Kinsale's dialog is snappy, her humor dry and fitting and the characters' inner thinking terribly witty and appropriate for the times. The twists and turns are clever and the angst believable. Very well done! Set in England, the Falkland Islands, the Middle East and Europe, beginning in 1827, this is the story of Olympia, Princess of Oriens (located between France and Italy), who, as a result of her cruel uncle who killed her parents, is living in exile in England. Her one dream is to see her people free of the monarchy and install a constitutional government, but she is young and naïve and has no idea how to bring that about. When she learns her uncle plans to marry her to gain the throne, she plans to travel to Rome to seek help in resisting such a marriage and then return to her country to bring about revolution. In furtherance of this objective, she enlists the aid of a dubious war hero, Captain Sir Sheridan Drake, a jaded rake, who unknown to Olympia, is being leaned on by the British War Department to marry her in order to cement England's control of her country and thwart the uncle's plans to rule. But Sheridan has plans of his own and he doesn't mind if Olympia gets hurt in the process. Olympia is described as plump with non-classical features and overlarge green eyes (the overall picture was a bit hard to conjure but generally not pleasing), though the hero thinks she is beautiful and we come to believe she is. She is also courageous and has good motives and we like her. She falls in love with Sheridan, which will cause her much pain before it's all over. There is something for everyone here: a long ocean voyage, sea battles, castaways on an island, betrayal, treachery, loyalty, courage--and a love that overcomes great obstacles. This one kept me turning pages. I highly recommend it.

  • Barbara Elsborg
    2019-03-02 19:29

    Oh wow, just what I was in the mood for. A well written, over the top historical romance that had everything in it! I loved both hero and heroine, especially the hero with his PTSD - just when you wondered what else could happen to this pair, the author came up with something else. I could see how it might annoy some readers - maybe it did go on a bit too long, a bit too much back and forth between them but I needed a long book to read on a lazy afternoon and this was perfect. I can't wait to read more by her.

  • Cheryl
    2019-02-26 15:23

    This was the first actual "romance novel" I've ever read. I usually read mystery, action, sci-fi, etc...I was very surprised by this book....was just expecting all lovey, dovey...just look at the cover and you can see what I expected. The book had a good story line and was mainly a love/hate story of two people, but there was a lot of action as the characters fought pirates, struggled to live on a shipwrecked island, etc...