Book Review: Lisa Valdez’s Passion

Posted November 1, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Lisa Valdez’s Passion


on July 5, 2005 and has 311 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

First in the Passion Quartet historical romance series revolving around the sisters in 1851 England. The couple focus is on Passion and Mark.

My Take

I’ve been reading so many stories that have been more action-oriented that at first I was whining to myself about why Valdez couldn’t just get on with it. After a mental head slap, I settled in and simply enjoyed how beautifully Valdez wrote. She is so descriptive whether she’s describing a character, setting a scene, or creating a love scene that it more than makes up for the questions her writing raised.

This was a lovely period piece with some unique aspects: The usual noble rake except he’s out-and-out honest about this being simply a short-term affair…except that he falls in love with the morally honest, yet passionate widow. And Valdez maintains the integrity of the manners and culture of the time. Such a treat for a history buff like me!

The twists and turns that Valdez builds left me wondering how she could possibly pull this off and she does leave it to the last minute while maintaining the good guys’ moral integrity throughout and keeping it real.

I do take issue with Valdez having her protagonists having sex behind a screen at the Crystal Palace Exhibition. I don’t get the impression that they did more than step behind it and enjoy some fairly passionate sex within earshot of the thousands attending the exhibition. It is, however, a unique trysting place. I wish she had also done a bit more with Crossman; she kept this so extremely low-key although I must admit it was in keeping with his character. I did feel for him.

I did enjoy how well Passion dealt with Swittly; Valdez write some very understated dialog here. Then there’s Mark’s comments on honor to Abigail. No kidding! I also enjoyed the difference in Matt’s and their mother’s reactions to Passion. What a contrast!

Oh, yes! I just loved the statements that Passion makes to Lucinda! I don’t think she could have hurt her more. Lucinda “explains” to Passion how awful it was for her. Oh. My. God. I just want to kill her. Extremely slowly. In as humiliating a way as possible.

I can see how the servants would want to get back at the bitch, but I don’t understand how they could possibly see their plan as working to hurt her??

I do love the ending. Everyone gets their comeuppance. Now I’m dying to find out how Matt fares with his fiancée, what happens to Charlotte, and how society views Lucinda in Patience.

The Story

It’s a chance encounter behind a large screen in the Gothic furniture room. One that will have major repercussions on three families and destroy at least one of them.

Mark’s mother left herself open to blackmail from a former friend. One who does not hesitate to put pressure on Mark to marry her daughter or face having his younger brother outed as a bastard. And possibly losing the woman he loves.

Only, the daughter happens to be the beloved cousin of the woman whom Mark does love.

The Characters

Passion Elizabeth Dare Redington is a widow and the daughter of a vicar. A very happy widow now that her jerk of a husband died. Unfortunately, the only passion she has in her life is her name and the ability to pursue the painting she loves. Patience and Primrose are her unmarried sisters. Which doesn’t make much sense if Passion has been married for a few years and widowed now for almost two years. Why aren’t they married as it sounds as though they’re around the same age? Samuel Dare is her incredibly amazing father. She’s visiting her somewhat silly, but well-meaning Aunt Matty, Matilda Dare, in London.

Charlotte Lawrence is a sweet girl and Passion’s cousin. Her mother, Abigail Lawrence is her very antithesis.

Mark is Mark Randolph Hawkmore, the eighth Earl of Langley. As far as he’s concerned marriage is simply the only way to beget an heir. Matthew is his younger brother. Half-brother, although it makes no difference to Mark. The only difference it could make is the effect it could have on his engagement to Rosalind Benchley. Countess Lucinda Hawkmore is their mother and she is a piece of work. More concerned about the effect of negative publicity on her than that she is condemning her son to a miserable future.

Cranford is his London butler and embarrassed about Mickey Wilkes, his ne’er-do-well relative. And just the kind of boy Mark needs.

Alfred Swittly is a boor whom Aunt Matty is trying to push onto Passion. John Crossman is the heir to Crossman Shipping. I do wonder if Valdez has introduced him to use him later in the series…

The Cover and Title

The cover feels generic. This is a man romancing a widow and it starts behind a screen at a public exhibition. Somehow this turquoise lace fan shielding the nude couple behind it just doesn’t work for me.

The title is appropriate as it is about Passion. The woman and the emotions.