My review cross-posted from Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/new-reviews/as-you-wish-by-eloisa-james
“With This Kiss: Part One”
As a girl, Lady Grace Ryburn fell in love with Colin Barry. Since their families have always been extremely close, Grace was able to write Colin once he joined the Royal Navy. The connection forged by her letters only served to make her fall more deeply in love with him. Now that she’s out in society (however much a wallflower), Grace hopes that Colin will notice her when he comes to London on leave. But will her dreams of romance be dashed when it’s not Grace, but her beautiful sister who catches Colin’s eye?
“With This Kiss: Part One” is heartbreakingly beautiful. In this first installment of Colin and Grace’s love story, author Eloisa James brought tears to my eyes even as she captivated me with this gorgeously woven tale.
Grace is the biggest reason I fell in love with “With This Kiss: Part One.” She's smart, kind, relatable, and she endeared herself to me immediately. What broke my heart is that Grace — an ordinary-looking wallflower — is almost always overshadowed by her vibrant, stunning younger sister, Lily. Everyone falls in love with Lily…including Colin. To her credit, Ms. James doesn’t make Lily a vain or unlikeable character. It’s actually easy to see why Colin, haunted by the battles he has to face at sea, is drawn to someone as convivial as Lily. In “With This Kiss: Part One,” it’s Colin himself who is the biggest obstacle when it comes to his and Grace’s romance. While Colin is everything that’s appealing in a hero, he’s too blind to see that he’s in love with Grace until it’s almost too late. Yet even though I shook my head at him for his overlooking Grace, Ms. James made me understand Colin and why he makes the mistakes he does.
Ms. James packs a lot of action into “With This Kiss: Part One.” I can guarantee that you’ll want to make enough time to read the story in one sitting, because it’s impossible to put it down. While “With This Kiss: Part One” can easily be read as a standalone, fans of Ms. James’s work are in for a treat. Grace is the eldest daughter of James and Theodora of The Ugly Duchess, and Colin is the eldest adopted son of Griffin and Phoebe of “Seduced by a Pirate.” The Ryburn and Barry families are as close as ever in “With This Kiss: Part One,” so if you enjoyed The Ugly Duchess and “Seduced by a Pirate” you’ll surely be delighted to revisit some of your favorite characters.
With This Kiss: Part One is a fantastic story that I loved from beginning to end. I Joyfully Recommend it! Just be warned, the cliffhanger ending will have you on the edge of your seat for parts two and three of “With This Kiss.”
“With This Kiss: Part Two”
Lady Grace Ryburn knows that the man she loves, Captain Colin Barry, will never love her back. After all, he did ask for her sister’s hand in marriage. Grace is happy to accept a marriage proposal from a kind Scottish lord and she’s determined to focus on her future with her fiancé, rather than dwell on the heartbreak Colin caused. But when Colin is wounded in battle and returns to London, Grace finds it impossible to put him out of her mind. Will Grace turn her back on the rules of propriety she was raised to follow and risk everything to win the heart of a man who’s never seen her as more than a friend?
Grace and Colin’s relationship changes forever in “With This Kiss: Part Two.” As one might expect, given the title, “With This Kiss” is a story that should be read in order. This second installment of Colin and Grace’s love story picks up where “With This Kiss: Part One” left off. Colin’s realization that Grace is the one for him doesn’t mean that things flow smoothly for the pair. Colin’s wounds — both physical and emotional — combined with multiple misunderstandings threaten to destroy both Grace’s plan to win Colin’s heart and his hopes of marrying her. Though it is very much a bridge story, “With This Kiss: Part Two” doesn’t lack for excitement. Ms. James keeps things moving at a fast pace and neither Colin nor Grace are predictable in the slightest. Ms. James had me on the edge of my seat for the whole of “With This Kiss: Part Two,” and I finished it wanting to dive right into the final chapter of Colin and Grace’s romance, “With This Kiss: Part Three.”
“With This Kiss: Part Three”
Captain Colin Barry has returned home from a life at sea wounded both inside and out. He knows he doesn’t deserve Lady Grace Ryburn, a woman he never saw as more than a friend until it was too late and she was engaged to someone else. But now that Colin has her alone, he realizes he can’t let Grace go. Throwing the rules of propriety to the wind, Colin embraces the attitude of his pirate father and sets out to capture the heart of the woman he loves.
Eloisa James brings Colin and Grace’s spellbinding romance to a close in “With This Kiss: Part Three.” After all the hurt, misunderstandings, and pure, unadulterated emotion in the first two “With This Kiss” installments, I was eager to see Colin and Grace find the happily ever after they so deserved. And boy did Ms. James make the culmination of their love story worth it. After everything Grace has been through, it’s not easy for her to believe that Colin could really love her. I loved watching Colin convince her that she absolutely is the woman for him. They’re such a great match that I almost hated to see their story end. Indeed, the epilogue of “With This Kiss: Part Three” has me desperately hoping Ms. James will pen more stories about the Ryburn and Barry families.
“With This Kiss: Part Three” is sexy, yet sweet at the same time. Don’t miss out on Colin and Grace’s story — read all three parts of “With This Kiss” in order and be prepared to be swept away!
“Seduced by a Pirate”
After fourteen years at sea as a pirate and privateer, Sir Griffin Barry is finally returning home. At least, that’s his plan. As Griffin hasn’t seen his wife since he was seventeen and leapt out of their bedroom window on their disastrous wedding night, he isn’t exactly sure his wife will let him through the front door, never mind welcome him into her bed. But Griffin isn’t a nervous seventeen-year-old anymore — he’s a pirate. And he’s determined to win the heart of the bride he left behind.
What he doesn’t expect is that his wife has a few surprises in store for him herself…
Forget the high seas — the real adventure is on land in “Seduced by a Pirate.” Griffin and Phoebe are truly delightful protagonists. Griffin may not have been the perfect husband at the beginning of the story — he ran away to get drunk after a wedding night embarrassment, got press-ganged onto a pirate ship, then sailed the seas for fourteen years before returning home — but he’s considerably more grown up than he was before. I love the mature Griffin, who’s caring, honest with himself and others… And yes, devilishly sexy. Phoebe, in turn, is a warm, intelligent heroine who’s made her own life in Griffin’s absence but doesn’t turn her reformed-pirate husband away when he graces her doorstep. Griffin and Phoebe are two people who may not have been right for one another when they wed, but having matured they’re a perfect fit. I loved watching them fall for each other; Ms. James made their romance so entertaining I devoured “Seduced by a Pirate” in one sitting.
“Seduced by a Pirate” can be read as a standalone, but it is a companion story to The Ugly Duchess, which featured Griffin’s cousin and fellow privateer James as the hero. Having enjoyed The Ugly Duchess, I went into reading “Seduced by a Pirate” with high expectations. Ms. James not only met those expectations, she surpassed them. There’s genuine warmth and humor in “Seduced by a Pirate” that utterly charms me every time I think about the story. My only wish is that the story had been a bit longer, and only because I adored Griffin and Phoebe so much that I couldn’t bear for “Seduced by a Pirate” to end. I’ve been seduced by Griffin and Phoebe’s romance and I cannot wait to read it again!
As You Wish is a book that is as warm and inviting as its characters. Eloisa James never fails to deliver a spectacular story and she does so with both “Seduced by a Pirate” and “With This Kiss.” Dashing former pirates and naval captains make excellent heroes, particularly when they’re trying to win over the strong, intelligent women who’ve captured their hearts. As You Wish is a delicious treat for fans of historical romance!
Note: “Seduced by a Pirate” and all three parts of “With This Kiss” are also available as individual e-books.