My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Initial reaction: I’m presently in a mind debate over what to rank this. 3 or 3.5 stars. Amelia and Colin were characters I really enjoyed seeing in their respective heated chemistry, particularly in the beginning when Colin was the man behind the mask. There was a certain allure to that, and personally I had hoped that he’d reveal himself to her sooner than he did, but the prolongation of it somewhat bothered me, among other things. Still, there were moments I sincerely laughed out loud and I genuinely liked and got to know the cast of characters in this book, though sometimes in brief context. Hopefully I can explain this more in my full review.
I might as well admit it: there were parts of this novel I really liked considering I love historical fiction and pieces where I can get to know the characters, laugh at their respective banter, and have a decent amount of allure and tension to carry through the story until its end. But there were also times I nearly snapped my pencil in two while reading this because of wanting to will the characters to go a different route altogether, not to mention some problem spots where it just didn’t mesh right with me.
When I started Day’s “A Passion for Him” – note I had not read any of the other books in the series. Sylvia Day’s still rather new to me as an author – I’ve read some of her novellas, I’ve read “Bared to You” – which I liked more than I thought I would going into it. I received the galley, but didn’t realize it was a third book in a series. I figured I’d jump into it despite not having read the first two books. Then again, to enjoy this I didn’t really feel like I needed to, it drew me in on the measure of the first chapter alone, and steamrolled quite a bit of the way into the narrative.
Amelia meets an alluring masked stranger who calls himself Count Montoya. She’s actually said to be wed to another man, but her heart still pines for the son of a Gypsy who lost his life trying to protect her. Lo and behold, said man (Colin) is not actually dead, but not only on the run from a crime he didn’t commit, but also longing to reunite with his long lost love after being left for dead and recovering from that. And he’s acting in the guise of the Count.
There’s really no denying the chemistry between Amelia and Count Montoya/Colin. I loved their interactions, found their humor charming in their respective companies, found quite a few scenes humorous and exciting to see. At first I thought maybe this would be your standard historical romance with humor and appropriate tensions, but then when the sexy times started happening – I knew this was definitely erotica, and of the steaming molten hot lava kind.
In a way I’m glad that the erotic elements kind of came at a latter point in the story after the development, because it did make an appropriate payoff, but at the same time – I was bothered that Colin hadn’t taken the time to say anything about his true identity before that point. I mean, yeah have your share of sexy times, but to wait to reveal yourself right after the night you had sex with the woman who hadn’t been claimed by anyone else (sexually I mean)? And then to be in straight up denial of doing the wrong thing at first? No wonder Amelia wanted to smack your brains out and never wanted to see you again, dude. Seriously. She reacted the way I thought she would.
The rest of the story unfolded rather nicely with attention to the reveal and how Colin and Amelia came to terms after that. I think the first part of the story was my favorite considering the humor, dialogue and play betweens, though I was glad to see some parts of development among other things towards the end. I have to give it to Sylvia Day, this book certainly kept my attention and didn’t let go for a while. The narrative flows smoothly and actually ended up being a quicker read than I imagined. I do want to check into more of Day’s work from here on out, and I did enjoy a good bit of this, despite some personal qualms.
Overall score: 3.5/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Kensington.