Consumed by Fire
I put off reading Consumed By Fire. It’s difficult to say why; the plotline appealed to me, and I’ve certainly enjoyed Ms. Stuart’s writing enough in the past. I suppose I, like so many other people I’ve talked to lately, just fell into a bit of a reading slump. Luckily, this book proved itself up to the task of pulling me back into Romancelandia.
Evangeline Morrissey and James Bishop first met in Italy, where Evangeline was on a study tour and James was on a job. James works as an assassin for the Committee, an organization intended to stop crime around the world. When Evangeline unwittingly witnesses James’ latest hit, his partner Claudia decides she must be killed too, in order to prevent another loose end. James has a harder time issuing death sentences and instead marries Evangeline, thereby protecting her from Claudia according to Committee laws. Although James set out to manufacture a whirlwind romance to ensure Evangeline’s compliance, by the time he leaves Evangeline after their three-day honeymoon, he’s fallen hard for her.
Five years later, no one involved in the original incident has managed to move on. The family of James’ past target wants revenge on him, Claudia is still interested in killing Evangeline, James is still desperately in love with his wife, and Evangeline is likewise still mooning over her old lover. The only difference is that the threats to James and Evangeline’s lives have become more imminent, requiring James to face his wife for the first time in years in order to get her to a safe place.
I really loved reading the romance between James and Evangeline. Although this wasn’t the most unique and memorable story I’ve ever read, it reminded me of why I so love the romance genre. The couple went on a journey in this book, both literally and figuratively. While James has been constant in his love and care for Evangeline, she felt herself betrayed by him and spent years hating him. It takes time for her to move past that hate and to fully appreciate the reasons behind his actions. Once she manages that, she still has to cope with the danger they find themselves in. I doubt that would be easy for anyone, particularly a sheltered college professor like Evangeline.
This here is another part of why enjoyed the book. Too many times I’ve read novels where characters act unrealistically or battle emotions that simply do not fit the situation. It was relaxing and so enjoyable to read a book where I found I could identify with the main characters, even if the circumstances were far outside of my normal life. Although this wouldn’t make the cut for coming with me to a desert island, I’m certainly happy to own Consumed By Fire, and I’m sure I’ll read it again someday.