A Watch Of Nightingales
by Sahara Kelly, paranormal (2007)
Ellora's Cave, $4.45, ISBN 978-1-4199-1025-8


I purchase Sahara Kelly's A Watch Of Nightingales because of the title. Hey, I've bought much worse things on impulse.

Marianne Donovan writes bestselling Regency-era historical romances under the pen name of Maura Donner. What her readers don't know, however, is that Maura Donner seems to know the time she writes about so well because Marianne dreams very frequently of being in the Regency England. She clearly remembers each dream ending with the death of an Honorable Christian Lawrence. Naturally, the unlucky sod is gorgeous. The song of a nightingale also features prominently in her dreams. Marianne is currently weary of having sleepless nights due to these dreams and her book tour is wearing her down even more. Perhaps it is time for a break.

By chance, she comes across a flier advertising the dream therapy sessions of a Dr Jake Corvo. Further research reveals that Dr Corvo believes that one's most intense dreams could very well be some residual "footprint in the soul" from a past existence and somehow, the dreams can go away if one finds a way to rectify whatever it was that triggered those dreams. Intrigued, Marianne sets out to meet Dr Corvo in person. As Marianne explores her dreams - and possible past lives - with Dr Corvo and his wife, will she ever find her long lost love in this life? Stay tuned!

You're probably expecting a sex therapy thing to take place between Dr Corvo, his wife, and Marianne since we are talking about an Ellora's Cave book here, right? However, Ms Kelly wants this story to be more romantic than just purely sexy. This is commendable, of course, but since we are talking about an Ellora's Cave book here and there has to be lots of sex scenes, this means that Marianne's flashback scenes are all about sex. Unfortunately, this means there isn't much believable romance in this story. Marianne talks about love, but all I get is shagging. And it doesn't make sense either, all that sex, because Dr Corvo and his wife come off as depraved people who need to go buy some Ellora's Cave books of their own when they urge Marianne to give explicit details about the sex stuff in her dreams.

Ms Kelly can't have it both ways, not with the short length of this story. On one hand, it is possible to have sex scenes to illustrate love and tenderness, but on the other hand, this book seems torn between telling me a story and giving me some cheap gratification when it gives me ridiculous scenes straight out of an adult film like a concerned therapist trying to help our heroine by asking her to give an explicit blow-by-blow account of her sexy dream.

A Watch Of Nightingales is a pretty good example of a potentially romantic tale ruined by forced inclusion of sex scenes. Ms Kelly doesn't seem to know whether she wants this story to be romantic or erotic. Maybe you should hold on to your money until she makes up her mind.

Rating: 53


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