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REVIEW

"An exotic and emotional historical romantic tale of self discovery"

I read my first full length romance novel in the early 70's when I was a mere teen. The story was of Lucy Waring, a young English girl raised in a Chinese mission after the death of her missionary parents. The tide in that country had turned against the "foreign devils" and one minute Lucy is stealing to feed the mouths of the younger children, the next she finds herself in Regency England at Moonrakers, the home of the Falcons where she becomes torn between the desires to two men, a noble of challenged sanity who can provide for her every need and a commoner whom she loves but can't begin to understand. The story was MOONRAKER'S BRIDE by Madeleine Brent (Peter OŽDonnell) and it remains one of my all time favorites today.

I mention this because style and subject matter of THE DRAGON EARL brought back me to that long ago favorite. Jade Lee has brought that exotic flavor that I loved so much in MOONRAKER'S BRIDE back Regency England. THE DRAGON EARL is however destined to join it on my keeper's self based on its own merits. It is an incredible tale of self discovery for both the hero who has lived a life very different from the one he was born into and the heroine who is trapped by the very life she's been expected to lead since birth.

Mere moments before Evelyn Stanton say's "I do" to her betrothed Christopher Cato, the future Earl of Warhaven, the wedding is disrupted by a Chinese monk. Evelyn is shocked to discover that the man is not Chinese at all, but white. He claims that he is Jacob Cato, Christopher's long lost and presumably dead cousin, the true heir to the Earldom and that he is here to claim his promised bride.

The youngest of the family of solicitors who served the Cato's had been a childhood friend of Jacob's. The man before them had shared memories of their times together. He is convinced that he is the true earl. Jacob's grandmother also sees a strong physical resemblance between the man claiming to be her grandson and her late husband.

Pandemonium breaks out as "Jacob" easily dispatches three of Christopher's groomsmen who try to remove him from the church. While the current Earl sputters and consults with Evelyn's parents, Christopher's grandmother proclaims the Monk to be her long lost grandson.

Evelyn appears to be just as furious at the intrusion as her future husband but realizes their marriage will not take place that day. It appears that this man claiming to be Jacob is not going to go away, so while things are sorted out she offers Jacob a room in her home presumably to keep him close until Christopher's father can discredit him.

Jacob's father, the former Earl of Warhaven had chafed at his responsibilities and for reasons know only to him had decide to take his family off to China when he'd been a child of ten. There the family had been set upon by bandits while Jacob had been playing with the young son of their Chinese guide. Both boys had witnessed the murders helpless to intervene. Jacob had been taken to the temple where he had chafed and stewed and waited for his English family to retrieve him. But no one had come. He had later discovered that the bandits had been well paid by someone in England to kill his entire family. He had lived in fear that this person would find out he had survived. His dark secret that he has shared with no one is that when he'd grown and learned to fight at the temple, he had sought out the bandits, killing each one. Still he had not found peace.

Afterwards the Earl's manservant had returned to England family to report that the entire family had been murdered. Christopher's father as next in line had assumed the responsibility and all had agreed he was far more suited to the responsibility than his late brother. The obligation to marry Evelyn and join the lands of both families had passed to Christopher.

Jacob, who thinks of himself as Jie Ke wants nothing to do with the title or the woman. He wants to become fully a monk of the Xi Lin temple. However through what Jacob feels is prejudice against his race by his otherwise holy master, he had been told that he must explore his English roots and find himself before he can be accepted as such.

Evelyn has secretly yearned for the passion her future station denies to her. Even as a child she had relished dancing in thunderstorms. Jacob is powerful and exotic, everything she wants to be but isn't. She is the only thing the can quell the turmoil in Jacob's soul. What does it all mean? Deep within Jie Ke the apprentice monk who cannot seem to find the inner peace necessary to be ordained, is still the child Jacob who had helplessly watched his as his family was murdered and now found that his lifelong quest for vengeance had left him empty. Evelyn soon realizes what the wise temple leader had always known; only Jacob could set himself free. Can Jacob Jie Ke Cato forgive himself, let go of his hatred and his past to at last find peace? Will Evelyn find the courage to give up the security of the only life she ever known and take a leap with a man who had opened her mind and her heart to a world of possibilities?

Though the mystery of who paid to have Jacob's family killed is never resolved, it matters not. The important thing is the pair learn leave the past behind in order to embrace the future. Oh and what a fantastic journey it is! THE DRAGON EARL is a stunning and highly evocative tale of self discovery that leads to a simple truth that defines all human beings regardless of culture. Life should be lived in the here and now. The past is gone. The future awaits. Amen to that.

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted September 25, 2008

SUMMARY

**A PNR Staff Recommended Read**

ONE MAN

A Chinese monk striding down the aisle was the first shock at countess-to-be Evelyn Stanton's wedding. To watch him dispatch three groomsmen, unarmed, and to learn that he was white and the long-lost heir to the Earldom of Warhaven, was the second. He would be her husband?

ONE MISSION

After the slaughter of his family in far-off China, Jacob Cato found sanctuary. In a Xi Lin temple he learned to be strong, but now he had a grander goal: to reclaim his English heritage and the woman he'd left behind.

ONE DESTINY

Revenge. It poisoned everything he'd learned, everything he'd done, and yet every fiber of Jacob burned for it - just as he burned for the beautiful but very English Evelyn. Long ago, the conspiracy to kill his family had stranded him, lost Jacob in the exotic East and made him unrecognizable to his countrymen - and women. He had not forgotten that past. It was to make peace that he had returned. The manner was yet to be decided.

Read an Excerpt

 

The Dragon Earl
by Jade Lee

Leisure Books
August 1, 2008
Available: August 26, 2008
ISBN #0843960469
EAN #9780843960464
352 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
Jade Lee

Dragonbound
These Boots Were Made for Stomping
Dragonborn
The Tao Of Sex
Tempted Tigress
Shards of Crimson
Cornered Tigress
Burning Tigress
Seduced by Crimson
Desperate Tigress
Hungry Tigress
White Tigress
Devil's Bargain


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