N&N Reading Club: Shades of Twilight

NGWN Reading Club Pic

Welcome, READERS, to the April (a little late!) edition of the Nice & Naughty Reading Club. This month we’re discussing one of author Linda Howard‘s classic romances, Shades of Twilight.

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Roanna Davenport was raised a wealthy orphan on her grandmother’s magnificent Alabama estate, Davencourt, where she developed a genius for trouble and a deep love for her cousin Webb. But everyone expects Webb to marry the ravishing Jessie, and he does. Then Jessie is found bludgeoned to death, and Webb leaves for Arizona, abandoning his legacy. Years later, an all-grown-up Roanna walks into a dingy bar in Nogales and Webb is drawn back to Davencourt, to Roanna — whose ice melts under his touch — and to the killer who once destroyed his life and waits only for the chance to finish the job…

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Linda Howard is the maven of modern romance. There is nothing as dark and emotional as a Howard story, but there are also moments of wit and sass — usually from the heroine — that add a splash of brightness to all that angst. This book happens to be my favorite of hers. Originally published in the late 1990s, I feel this book stands the test of time. What did you think?

I’ve included a few questions to get us started. Remember, comment with your opinion and you’ll be entered for a chance to win this month’s Reading Club prize, an e-book copy of my second favorite Linda Howard novel, After the Night! Comment with a suggestion for a future Reading Club book selection and you’ll be entered into the drawing twice!

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Last month’s selection did catch a little tweak from me due to the whole Southern names and stereotypes issue. This book is much more like what I’ve encountered growing up in the South. (Minus the incest; no matter the jokes, incest is not any more common in the South than anywhere else.) Of course, this book deals with the upper-class, whereas last month’s did not. What were your thoughts on how the South was portrayed in Shades of Twilight?

One of Howard’s signature traits is, shall we say, a**hole heroes. Webb is not your average nice guy. He’s downright ugly to Roanna when she comes back into his life. Did he redeem himself in the end, or did you feel he didn’t deserve Roanna?

In the last couple of years, one trend in romance has been the retelling of a novel from the point of view of the other character (i.e. a book originally told in the heroine’s point of view has a sequel in which the same story is told by the hero). The first love scene between Webb and Roanna uses a similar technique: we first experience the moment in Roanna’s pov, an important aspect since we, the audience, feel she has the most emotional investment in the act. The next chapter gives us Webb’s thoughts on their lovemaking and the conclusions he drew from it. Did this technique work for you? How did reading Webb’s thoughts change your view of his actions when he took Roanna?

How does this romance, twenty years later, hold up against today’s new romances? What worked or did not work for you, the reader?

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Let’s discuss! Remember, one commenter will win a copy of Linda Howard’s After the Night. Tell us what you thought of Shades of Twilight, or give us a suggestion for a future Nice & Naughty Reading Club selection. I’ll announce the winner — and our (legitimate) MAY Reading Club selection — on Monday.

*Please present all comments — positive and negative — in a respectful manner. We reserve the right to remove any comments we feel are derogatory toward the author personally or are inappropriate.*

~ Ella

7 thoughts on “N&N Reading Club: Shades of Twilight

  1. Ella Sheridan says:

    I have to admit to being partial to a**hole heroes. There’s just something about seeing such a tough guy brought to his knees by his woman that gets me every time. So I loved Webb. It was hard to know he was married to Jessie first, because I hate bitchy women, but it made sense for the story.

  2. leelalou says:

    I loved this book when I first read it and I loved it when I brought it back out of my favorites box and read it again. I am not fond of the jerk heroes that seem to be the rage now, but I do see the allure and the degree of change is more spectacular. I love the almost-too-good Jamie Frasier from Outlander – a man who will listen and try to be understanding (even when you tell him you’re from the future…LOL)

    I did think Webb (I loved that name) was a jerk…well he did behave like a jerk but because we knew what he was going through I understood even thought I felt bad for Roanna. I thought the retelling of the first love scene was crucial because without knowing what he was feeling I would have lost all respect for him.

    The only thing that struck me as off was Jessie. It would have been nice to see her have at least one redeeming quality. I try to make my villain have a good reason why they’re being the way that they are and have some goal that I can almost get behind.

    Thanks for prompting me to re read it…:)

    1. Ella Sheridan says:

      You are welcome, Leela! Jessie was hard to swallow. For me it was like seeing two possible roads: you grow up with everything you could desire and no boundaries really (because you never do anything wrong, according to the people in your life), and you either become Webb or you become Jessie. (There are degrees, obviously, but that was the general idea.) I don’t know. But it certainly helped me share Roanna’s feeling of hating her cousin. 🙂

  3. Ella Sheridan says:

    It’s been decided!!! The next Nice & Naughty Reading Club book is Nalini Singh’s Rock Addiction! (Oh boy, I can’t wait… 🙂 )

  4. Jess N. says:

    yes, I’m really late to the party…

    Sadly, this book didn’t do it for me.
    It was too serious. While reading the first few chapters I thought this was like spending time with my family. No thanks. (Yikes)
    May’s book is more my speed.
    I’m glad there’s diversity in the types of books that are featured., though.

    1. Ella Sheridan says:

      Oops! Sorry about the family thing, Jess! I’m really looking forward to May too. 🙂

  5. Tammie says:

    Cool.

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