Dark Before the Rising Sun and Chance the Winds of Fortune (Dominick Trilogy) by Laurie McBain
Chance the Winds of Fortune
Rhea blinked in disbelief. “What an insufferable man you are. And whether you are, as you would have me believe, a marquis, or whether you are a tinker, I would still find you the rudest, most vulgar individual I have ever had the misfortune to encounter.”
“Well done, my dear. I am impressed by this splendid show of ladylike disdain, feigned though it be, but well done nonetheless. But the light of truth has revealed you in my cabin. Now, how do you explain yourself out of that?”
Lady Rhea Claire, kidnapped and shipped to the Colonies as an indentured servant, manages with wits and courage to escape…straight into the arms of a ruthless English pirate.
For all his worldly ways, Dante Leighton, Marquis of Jacqobi and captain of the Sea Dragon, never expected to discover his redemption and his greatest treasure within the amethyst eyes of a beautiful English refugee.
Dark Before the Rising Sun
“Now you can see how easily an ill-spoken word can cast doubt on or even destroy the feelings we thought inviolate,” Dante warned her. “Never let anyone turn you against me, Rhea. Promise me that.”
Newly-wed, Lady Rhea Claire and Dante Leighton must return to England, where their reception is anything but warm.
Now armed with wealth and power, Dante is a target for the murderous smugglers who despoiled his family home, while Rhea’s father, the powerful Duke of Camareigh, vehemently rejects their marriage.
The two lovers thought themselves invincible together. But in the riveting conclusion of McBain’s epic trilogy, Dante’s determination to reclaim his family seat and Rhea’s desperation to win over her father threaten to cause an insurmountable rift that could break them apart forever.
This series was published in 1980, but is being re-released. I am a very fast reader, but these two books took me days to read. And I loved every minute!
One of my very favourite authors is Kathleen Woodiwiss. Her book, Shanna, is a complete classic to me. Laurie McBain’s writing reminds me of Woodiwiss’. Flowing and descriptive passages that set the tone and the scene with lush imagery create strong impressions while reading. Whereas authors say something with one or two superlatives now, the traditional bodice rippers of the 80s expand upon thoughts and words. The story is well developed and truly an epic saga. I think that is one of the things I like so much about these classic books. The story telling weaves slowly, there is no rush to the plot and the action. While things move along at an appropriate pace, you know that you are in the hands of an experienced story teller.
The first book in the series, Moonstruck Madness, features Lady Rhea Claire’s parents. While I didn’t read this book, I had no trouble picking up the story. However, I don’t think that would be the case with these two books. If you haven’t read Chance the Winds, then Dark before the Storm would be challenging to jump right into. But that is ok, because both books are fantastic and should be savoured and enjoyed.
Chance the Winds of Fortune takes place in a variety of settings. But I think it had my heart because the story spends a lot of time aboard the Sea Dragon ship. I absolutely adore stories that feature an adventure at sea. The author takes a lot of time to develop each of the lead characters and their backgrounds. It is almost half way through the book before Rhea and Dante even meet! This allows the author to set the stage for a very complex plot that takes the length of the two novels to unwind.
The lead characters, Dante and Rhea were fantastic! I could imagine Dante commanding his privateering ship – totally an alpha male. He was a fantastic character who challenged Rhea and the tension and conflict between the two was electrifying. The slow trickle of information about Dante’s past helps to build understanding of his motivations. I enjoyed the fact that he wasn’t completely fleshed out immediately. I didn’t understand his actions at times, but all was revealed with patience. While Dante’s burning desire is revenge, the insertion of Rhea into his life doesn’t diminish the need for retribution, but it gives his life a further purpose.
Like a typical book from the 80s, the heroine is very young. I think Rhea is seventeen when she meets Dante. Rhea is the ‘golden girl’. She is kind, honourable and beyond beautiful. I kept waiting to find out her flaws, but even her naivety was charming. Perversely I wanted to find something wrong with her – just to see a human frailty within her, but she was damn near perfect. It didn’t make me dislike the character however; in the end I was grateful that Dante had her in his life.
One thing that is different in this book to the others in the genre is that there isn’t much bodice ripping happening. Of course there is murder, extortion, smuggling, rape and treachery, but not a lot of graphic love scenes. Their love is definitely consummated, but the scenes leave more to the imagination than sharing every detail. I didn’t mind this and usually I want the goods!
Overall, these two books took me a long time to read, but I loved them both. I found the story of Dante and Rhea transported me back to when I discovered Kathleen Woodiwiss. I adored the complex and tenacious story that Laurie McBain created. The flowing prose was the perfect counterbalance to the fast paced books I normally read – it forced me to slow down and savour the wild adventures of Dante and Rhea.