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The Courage to Love (2006)

de Samantha Kane

Sèrie: Brothers in Arms (1)

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16810127,815 (3.55)1
Brothers in Arms, Book One. Kate Collier is still recovering from a vicious rape and trying to make a success of her dress shop when Jason Randal and Anthony Richards return to London from the Continent, intent on winning her. She's known them for years, ever since they served with her late husband in the Peninsula against Napoleon. She'd been in love with them for almost that long. To discover they feel the same is a shock, but Kate isn't ready to turn her life back over to a man, or men. Jason and Tony prove hard to resist, however, especially when their close friendship blossoms into desire for each other as they make Kate's body burn with passion. The combination of their insatiable desire for her and their journey into a sexual relationship with one another is irresistible to Kate. A nightmare from her past tries to keep them apart, but the three long for a life together in spite of society's censure, and they will not be denied. Reader advisory: Contains male/male sex scenes.… (més)
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The Courage To Love was originally published by Ellora’s Cave but like many authors Samantha Kane had to find a new publisher or become and indie author. The new publisher is SK Publishing and I am thinking the SK stands for Samantha Kane and if this theory is actually fact then I am really excited about her indie author status. I wish I could say I am looking forward to reading the newer edition of her story but I am currently thinking that my reading of The Courage To Love was a onetime deal.

Rape is a serious thing in any time period even if the burden of proof still continues to fall on the victim, female or male. Which brings me to my biggest issue in this story, Kate was not violently raped but she was raped all the same and by multiply men. Now I realize that everyone copes differently to trauma but I just don’t see the relationship between these three developing as smoothly as it did in this story. To make the story more believable there should been more than just social issues because Kate had been a mistress. I know people who have been raped and molested and they have all had hangs of some sort when it came to sex but Kate behaves like she was never raped. The only time you had any inkling to Kate’s trauma was when she came face to face with her attackers, but by the next chapter it was like nothing happened.

New Cover

There was a nice mixture of story line and sex so the book was more than written porn but again not very realistic given what Kate had been through before the men decided to claim her. But I will give the author credit for the hot steaminess of the bedroom scenes that she wrote, they were cold shower worthy.

Over all the story has potential but needs to be thought out more by the author especial in the area of the rape and bedroom jokes. Sorry, the joke about the goats was not even remotely funny. The other issue I had was Jason’s mother, the way she was brought into the story made her seem like more of an afterthought, like she was just something to put in to increase the word count of the story.

This review posting contains the body of the review, which is only a portion of the original review which was originally posted here http://lauralusbookreviews.blogspot.com/2018/06/the-courage-to-love-brothers-in-... ( )
  LauraLusReviews | Oct 6, 2018 |
I've been looking forward to reading The Courage to Love for some time now, mainly because, based on the cover blurb, it sounded like a book I would really enjoy. I admittedly did end up mostly enjoying it. Overall, the mechanics of the writing are fairly sound, especially for an erotic romance. The story also has a high level of emotional and sexual intensity, which helped me to feel the connection between the characters reasonably well. But ultimately, there isn't much substance to the plot or characters. I would say more than anything, this is a story of sexual exploration between three people who have loved each other from afar for a long while. The other elements of the plot, of which there are few, are definitely secondary to the sex. The main subplot revolved around Kate having been raped while Jason and Tony were away on the Continent, but the only time this really comes into play is when the man who instigated it reappears, leaving her a bit shaken and the heroes challenging the man to a duel. Unfortunately, even this wasn't particularly satisfying, because the man doesn't really pay for his crimes, which was pretty disappointing. Given that this is a historical romance, the reader will have to suspend disbelief somewhat in order to buy into the notion that Jason and Tony's “special relationship” seems to be rather well-known, not just among their close friends, but also among the ton at large, which leads to a bit of censure. It was probably equally odd to believe that Kate's niece, who is only sixteen and basically grew up learning to be a proper lady at a girl's school, as well as Jason's mother would not only accept Jason, Tony, and Kate's unconventional relationship, but also encourage it. Not to mention, Jason's mother made a miraculous turnaround to do so. So while the sex was hot and I could tell that these three really did care deeply for one another, I still came away from reading this book with a half-full feeling.

I liked Jason, Tony, and Kate for as well as I got to know them, but unfortunately that wasn't really well. Jason and Tony fought together in the Napoleonic Wars, and both apparently have their share of emotional demons, but we don't see any of that. Instead, they just briefly tell about how the horrors of war made them disconnect from other people and from their own emotions. Then they accidentally discovered a way to reconnect by sharing sexual partners, and they shared this information with other young soldiers who were similarly affected. I felt like there was something missing from this part of the story, and I really wanted to know more about how they arrived at this conclusion. As is, it merely seemed like a miraculous discovery that also happened to be a convenient plot device. As for their personalities, Jason is more driven by his emotions and prone to impassioned moments, while also enjoying playing the sexual dominant. Tony, on the other hand, is more controlled in his actions, and happy to play the submissive. While the two men have shared women before, they've never crossed that line into becoming lovers to one another until they rekindle their relationship with Kate.

I found Kate to be equally, if not more, underdeveloped than the men. She married a gentleman, who was a friend of Jason and Tony, when she was quite young, and appeared to have a reasonably satisfying relationship with him. However, he died, leaving her with a mountain of debt and no way to keep her young niece in school. Having no other option at the time, Kate became the mistress of several different gentlemen over the next few years, until one of them cruelly betrayed her by basically facilitating her gang rape at the hands of himself and several of his friends. I felt like this should have made her a deeply tortured soul, but in all honesty, she seemed to suffer few ill effects from this experience. When Jason and Tony return, she's reluctant to become involved with them, but not for the reasons one might think under these circumstances. Instead, she's all too willing to indulge in one night of sexual play with the both of them to appease her fantasies. I'm afraid I had a somewhat difficult time believing that a woman who had been brutally raped in that way would be so eager to be with not one, but two men relatively soon after her horrible experience, no matter how attracted to them she was. I also felt like she was perhaps protesting a bit too much with regards to why she couldn't be with the two of them for more than one night, but then she gets over it pretty quickly. I guess they turned her brain to mush with all the hot sex.;-)

As for the romance between the three of them, I really felt like the book was sorely in need of a prologue or some kind of introduction to explain how these three met and why they had fallen for each other years before. All we know is that Jason and Tony met Kate when she ended up marrying their friend. We don't really know at all what it was each of them saw in the others. Nursing broken hearts, Jason and Tony took a trip to the continent, and when they returned, their friend was dead and Kate was already mistress to another man, so they left again. This dance continued for three years, I believe, during which Jason and Tony thought that Kate was sowing her wild oats so to speak, while of course, what Kate was experiencing was something entirely different. She would have loved for Jason and Tony to come whisk her away from that life, but they kept leaving her. I thought this made Jason and Tony seem rather oblivious. Not to mention, if they really loved Kate and wanted her that badly, why didn't they get their alpha on and pursue her anyway? It's not like she was married to the men she was seeing. She was only trying to survive and should have been able to walk away from these relationships if she so chose, but Jason and Tony never presented her with that option until the worst had already happened. I noticed that a short prequel story titled Love and War: The Beginning was written six years after this book was first published, and perhaps it will answer some of these questions, or at least, I can hope. However, for the time being, with no real understanding of the origins of their love, I felt like I was simply immersed in this intense desire they all feel for one another without any build-up. The scenes are emotional, but I didn't grasp the why of their chemistry. I just feel like the characters needed to be developed more fully before throwing them into this torrid sexual relationship, and unfortunately, they don't grow much beyond the brief descriptions I gave of their characterizations earlier. It's simply page after page of more and more heated sexual encounters, which while appealing in their own way, would have been even better if there had been more actual romance.

The Courage to Love is the first book in the fairly prolific Brothers in Arms series, which is currently twelve books long. Several of the young men to whom Jason and Tony taught their secret formula for overcoming the nightmares of their time in the war are introduced, and they are basically Jason and Tony's inner circle of friends. I think all of them will become heroes in future books of the series, but there were so many of them and so little time to get to know them that few sufficiently stood out for me to recall their names. The only exceptions would probably be Phillip and Jonathan, whom the trio met up with while out getting ices at Gunther's. They and Maggie, the young lady they were with, become the heroes and heroine of the next book, Love Under Siege. Maggie kind of caught my eye, because she seemed really sweet. The others would be Michael and Wolf. Michael shared a passionate encounter with Kate's niece, Veronica, about which he felt quite guilty afterwards. Veronica, however, is a head-strong miss, who wasn't really fazed by it except in a positive way. These three will become the heroes and heroine of book #8, Prisoner of Love.

In addition to the deficiencies in plot and characterizations, there were several other things that bothered me about this book. While I did state earlier that it was reasonably well-written – and that is true – there were still the occasional grammatical errors or clunkily worded sentences that a sharp editor should have caught. The dialog, especially during the love scenes, which were a little too chatty for my taste anyway, felt rather clumsy and stilted. Oftentimes, the characters' actions and introspection would follow the dialog, but my editor taught me that these tidbits of narrative should come before it. It not only increases the impact of those actions but also makes it clearer who is speaking. I also feel like the author overused the "f" word. It's not that I'm offended by it or anything. I expect it to be used frequently in any erotic romance, but it was used so repetitively that it become rather annoying to me, just like any other overused word would. I also feel like using strong words like that too frequently, instead of in controlled moments, lessens their impact on the reader. The book is also basically a wallpaper historical, with little actual history and few historical details in it, which considering that the author's bio says that she's a history major, is pretty disappointing. Even some of the dialog is anachronistic. Last but not least, the author engages in almost constant head-hopping POVs, which was only made worse by the fact that there are three main characters instead of only two. I've never really cared much for this style of writing, as I feel that the reader can connect more deeply with a character when they see things from their perspective for longer periods of time. Despite my dislike for it, I got used to it after a while, but still found it very jarring when the POV switch came mid-paragraph, again something a good editor should have caught.

It may seem like I've had a lot of criticisms of The Courage to Love, and admittedly there were a number of things I thought could have been better. However, as I said at the beginning of the review, I still mostly enjoyed it for what it was. It might not have been quite as good as I was expecting, but it was still a pretty agreeable way to spend a few hours of my reading time. It appears that this may have been Samantha Kane's first published novel, and it looks like the future books of the series have higher rating, so perhaps she's learned and grown as an author since this early effort. I have to admit a certain degree of curiosity about Maggie, Phillip, and Jonathan, so I'm sure I'll give their book a try at some point.

Note: This book contains explicit language and sexual situations which may offend some readers, including menage a trois, some light dom/sub dynamics, a little biting, one instance of minor spanking (really just a playful swat) and anal sex within M/M/F and M/F/M combinations. ( )
  mom2lnb | Apr 13, 2015 |
I really enjoy this series. It's difficult to find trio fiction (especially where there is m/m as well as m/f interaction) where there is an actual story, and developed characters, and this series has both. My only complaint is that I wish it was longer, and more involved in the broader story of their lives, instead of a smaller snippet. More character development, more plot lines and so forth.

Of the entire series, I think that Very is my favorite character, hands down. She's fabulously frank and gutsy. I am eagerly awaiting the full story between Very, Wolf, and Michael. ( )
  cybermathwitch | Feb 6, 2014 |
The Courage to Love is a M/M/F erotic romance ostensibly set in the Regency era. Jason Randall, an earl of some sort, and Anthony Richards are veterans of the Napoleonic wars and formed an especially close friendship while serving together. With the war over, they return to London to propose marriage to Katherine Collier, a widow of a comrade of theirs. Kate, however, was forced to become a mistress after her husband's death, with traumatic results, and refuses to give up her hard earned independence easily.

The book has so many flaws, I wonder whether I read the same book as those who gave it five stars.

The most glaring flaw is a lack of sexual tension. Maybe it's a matter of opinion, but erotic romance should not merely be a romance with crudely worded, frequent sex scenes. It should be a romance where the sex plays an integral part in the conflict that drives the plot. I still want to see tension built up. A book where 80% of the action is sex builds no tension and leaves nothing to the imagination. Every itch was immediately scratched.

For a book with as much sex as this one has, it was incredibly unerotic. The language was appalling. It wasn't the obscenity that got me, it was the absurd purple prose. If I never see "rampant erection," "nether lips" or see vaginal lubrication referred to as "cream" again, it would be too soon. Newsflash erotic fiction authors: if a woman's vaginal moisture is opaque and whitish enough to be compared to dairy products, it means the poor girl has some sort of infection. Yeast infections are not sexy.

For a regency the language and attitudes were absurdly modern. Kate and her 16 year old niece Veronica have an absurdly modern relationship where Veronica is privy to, and accepting of, her aunt's sexual hijinks. The dialog sounds like something you'd hear on the streets of today and she makes a mess of the English title system. It is very much a wallpaper historical.

In the end, I finished the book only as a compulsion. The increasingly boring sex scenes got skimmed and I failed to make any emotional connection to the players. I was as invested in the characters' feeling as I would be in a porn star's, which is to say, not at all. ( )
  Ridley_ | Apr 1, 2013 |
Really more a 3.5

This is a story that has some very strong and powerful emotions. Kate, Jason, and Tony have had similar feelings for years but since they were never spoken or acted on something bad has happened to Kate. It takes all the love and dedication of the two men to help Kate relax and act on their feelings. ( )
  KatyBethMcKee | Mar 31, 2013 |
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For my husband, with whom all things are possible. For my family, who told me and showed me that dreams can come true. And for all those who enjoy this book, the greatest compliment a writer can receive.
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Brothers in Arms, Book One. Kate Collier is still recovering from a vicious rape and trying to make a success of her dress shop when Jason Randal and Anthony Richards return to London from the Continent, intent on winning her. She's known them for years, ever since they served with her late husband in the Peninsula against Napoleon. She'd been in love with them for almost that long. To discover they feel the same is a shock, but Kate isn't ready to turn her life back over to a man, or men. Jason and Tony prove hard to resist, however, especially when their close friendship blossoms into desire for each other as they make Kate's body burn with passion. The combination of their insatiable desire for her and their journey into a sexual relationship with one another is irresistible to Kate. A nightmare from her past tries to keep them apart, but the three long for a life together in spite of society's censure, and they will not be denied. Reader advisory: Contains male/male sex scenes.

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