In 1989 Mary Jo put out “The Controversial Countess” , in 1993 the name was changed to “Petals in the Storm”. I would love to pick up the original title. Maybe one day I will find it. Not for more than just to have both of them. I also want to see what was changed. Reissues have a way of changing things in books, especially now.. More old school romance books are reissued for the new modern day woman, changing certain things to be more acceptable to the people of today. I have to wonder if this one was also changed. Maybe (hopefully) it wasn’t.
This is part of a vast series; Thunder and Roses,Dancing in the Wind,Petals in the Storm, Angel Rogue, Shattered Rainbows, River of Fire, & One Perfect Rose.
Here is the cover for the original:
I would have bought it.
Here is what my copy looks like from 1993: With the awesome insert painting!!
I think this version, Rafe is much hotter than the Countess version. I know I picked this one up, just for that image. I’m easy. What can I say?
Here is one of the newer versions:
And then there is the Spanish? version…
Now for the description. On Amazon, it was sadly lacking. So I went over to Goodreads and picked up this one:
A cool master of sensuality, Rafe Whitbourne, Duke of Candover, earned his rakish reputation in the silken boudoirs of England’s aristocracy, never giving away his hand or his heart.
Then a vital mission for a friend takes him to Paris to work with Countess Magda Janos, “the most beautiful spy in Europe.” To his shock, the smoky-eyed temptress is no countess, but the deceitful tart who betrayed him a dozen years before—the only woman he had ever loved, and the only woman he had ever despised.
Margot Ashton wants nothing more than to forget her turbulent past and the mesmerizing man who had cruelly wronged her. But patriotism binds the two together in a shadowland of intrigue, where a dangerous plot may plunge a continent into war…and a whirlwind of passion sweeps them into a shattering love that cannot be denied.
Sounds good to me! I loved the character Rafe. He was in Thunder and Roses. He was the one character I wanted to find out more about. I really had high hopes for him. I have to say, this book has been on my nightstand for over a month. I can’t tell you that it was because it was written badly, it was written very well, and it drew me in. Am I being fickle? A hypocrite? I love spy books, why did I have such a tick with Margot? Rafe too, but I liked him in the other book… I was disappointed in how she let him progress. But it was mostly her. It made the story hard to get through.
Here is a highlight… The sex scene was crazy intense…
“Storm clouds had been gathering around them ever since Rafe had arrived in Paris, and as he thrust into her, the storm struck. Furiously it swept her along,racing through her blood,driving all her fear and doubt away. Then lightning blazed through every cell of her body. Moaning, she clung to him as the one certainty in the tempest.”
So… she came. Now, do I like that better than “I’m going to come!” Yes. Is it a little out there? Yeah. But still better.
Okay, then it continues .. (this is a few paragraphs later, after he told her that it was okay that he had not gotten … um.. off yet… (like she would not understand that he was going to continue. I think that was obvious. She was not a virgin, mind you.)
“Yet desire still simmered within her. Rafe understood her body better than she did, for he knew when to begin moving again. His first strokes were infinitesimal, yet they generated as astonishing amount of heat. She matched his movements,and as the tempo increased, they ignited each other. The intimacy between them was scorching, a baring of mind and body that was frightening in its intensity.
Frantically she twisted her head back and forth as their bodies melded with stunning force. What had gone before was prologue,mere overture to a more urgent hunger than any she had ever known. This time the rising storm was not wind, but fire,burning away her awareness until there was only flame within her. Gone were the fear and prudence,anger and hate,leaving only the searing knowledge that the man she loved was enfolding her with passion and exquisite tenderness.
She reached shattering fulfillment, and was consumed by fire. Unable to suppress the words, she gasped “I love you.”
Storm and fire. Disintegration and rebirth. Through the conflagration, she heard him groan, “Oh God…God help me.”
I don’t know if God was in the room at that exact moment… but…
“With shocking suddenness he withdrew,crushing her in his arms as he thrust hotly against her belly. After a handful (handful… yeah… ) of violent movements, his seed spurted between them.”
Now, you can say this might not be her best book, but still…. It was better than most of the lines I read in romance. I’m not saying that it was poetic… but it was good and ridiculous all at once. Got to hand it to her. Although, I still had a feeling that if they had some lubricant it might not have burned so much.
I give this one a 4 out of five stars. The writing was very good, the story was a little too drawn out for me. All the spy stuff was rock climbing, and it felt added in. I wish I would have fallen in love with the two of them, but I found I just couldn’t. I do think it is worth a read, and if you find it, I would suggest you pick it up. It is part of a trilogy
The Mary Jo Putney’s Petals in the Storm was difficult to get through. now, I want to address something that is bothering me… Maybe I should put it in a stand alone article… do you ask too much from the big writers? Do we give books one or two stars less because we expect greatness from every book they churn out? Or is the less stars because it feels like they are churning things out instead of writing them? What ever it is, I always feel less inclined to give a top writer the kudos I give the writers that are not that well known. I have seen some people give this book 2 stars. Why? Because they expected more. (they said it, not me) .