Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sizzle & Swoon: Yours Until Dawn (Group Discussion)

 
I posted my review for this novel today, but as we planned, Sharon, Racquel and I all had a group chat session to discuss it. We had a lot of fun dissecting the story, the characters and all our feelings, and we hope you enjoy seeing what we thought of this one! Think of this as a conversational review, similar to what the girls did for What I Did for a Duke.
 
Yours Until Dawn - Teresa Medeiros
Yours Until Dawn by Teresa Medeiros
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 27, 2004
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library || e-book

Gabriel Fairchild's valor during battle earns him the reputation of hero, but costs him both his sight and his hope for the future. Abandoned by the fiancée he adored, he secludes himself in his family's mansion, cursing his way through dark days and darker nights.

Prim nurse Samantha Wickersham arrives at Fairchild Park to find her new charge behaving more like a beast than a man. Determined to do her duty, she engages the arrogant earl in a battle of both wit and wills. Although he claims she doesn't possess an ounce of womanly softness, she can feel his heart racing at her slightest touch. As Samantha begins to let the light back into Gabriel's life and his heart, they both discover that some secrets -- and some pleasures -- are best explored in the dark ... (from Goodreads)

On Our Hero, Gabriel Fairchild

Sharon: So... Thoughts on having a blind hero. GO!
Alexa: It was very different. I thought that it made it really unique, since I've encountered heroes with disabilities but NOT blind ones. Plus, it also impacts how he forms a relationship with the heroine.
Racquel: The blindness disability was done and addressed very nicely.
S: I very much agree with how it affected his relationship with Samantha!
R: And it made for a GREAT romance set-up.
S: It reminded me of Beguiling the Beauty. Because he had no frame of reference for what she looked like, you know that it wasn't just a physical attraction. But something deeper was happening.
R: Teresa Medeiros just did an awesome job with it and I didn't find anything distasteful about it.
A: I think she treated the whole disability thing really well.
S: I very much agree!
A: His struggle with it just seemed really authentic.
R: Something deeper WAS happening!
A: The blindness was also interesting to me because when you're blind, your other sense are stronger. So it was kind of fun to see how touch and smell were very strong markers for Gabriel.
R: Taking looks, beauty and physical attraction (well, sort of, on the last one) away from the equation had a good outcome. Kind of like The Voice and how the judges can't see the contestants during the auditions. They're judging solely on voice.
A: YES. I actually really like that comparison!
S: EXACTLY. I love the comparison!
R: With romance especially, HE/SHE IS SO HOT, MUST HAVE SEX WITH THEM NOW!
S: Exactly. It's not ALL about the physical, people! I love how that element was almost entirely taken out of the equation.
R: And I can deal with that, but I liked, for a change, seeing Gabriel suffer at the hands of this woman because he refused help. *evil grin*
S: Yes! You bring up a great point. It was so refreshing to see a man who was heartbroken over a woman's rejection, rather than the other way around. It was interesting to see a titled man rejected at all, actually. That's pretty rare.
R: YES, SHARON! Never happens. *jumps of joy* Die of the heartbreak, hero!... Just kidding. Don't die. I really did love Gabriel!
S: Of course, I don't ACTUALLY like seeing them suffer. I'm just saying, it was an nice change of pace.
R: I agree with Alexa. I liked that Gabriel couldn't see, and it made his other sense sharper. The book relied on smell and sound heavily. And it made the image of Gabriel in the beginning as a beast quite accurate!
S: Yes, the inclusion of sight and smell as markers definitely made it more authentic, I think. Because they showed that he used them. But it wasn't like they were at crazy superpower levels.
R: Agreed! He didn't start hearing from twenty miles away and such. His other senses just became sharper. Naturally.
S: Exactly. Because when you lose one, you have much more focus to devote to the others. Thus, your perceptions become stronger. I think Medeiros did a very good job conveying that. But what about Gabriel as a character, aside from the blindness?
R: At first, I WAS a bit wary because he really was beastly! I mean, I know it's romance but STILL. However, I understood that Gabriel wasn't coping with his blindness in a healthy way and Samantha was here to change that.
S: Exactly! I was a bit taken aback at first, as well. But I think it was a natural response, and no one had done anything to give him a reason to change it.
A: He totally reminded me of the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. I mean - the lack of manners! The stubbornness! The anger at the world!
S: Oh, yes! Most definitely. She even had to teach him how to eat properly!
R: I did get Beast from Beauty and the Beast vibes!
A: But once I understood him better... I kind of got where he was coming from.
S: I definitely agree, Alexa! I felt like I understood his behavior so much more after only two scenes from his point of view.
R: And I loved seeing the changes in him as he warmed up to Samantha and accepted that he needed to adjust how to live with being blind. But he never FULLY accepted it, or even warmed up to Samantha until it was too late. This being a romance novel, this is no surprise but Teresa Medeiros handled it well.

A Little Derailment To Discuss The Story's Drama
 
S: WHAT. You meant there had to be drama before the HEA (note: happily ever after) could happen? How dare you suggest such a thing!
R: I'll admit, it was GREAT GREAT GREAT GREAT drama. I've never enjoyed the drama portion of romance too much, but this has got to be one of my favorites!
S: Oh, most definitely! It didn't seem nearly as contrived as a lot of them. As crazy HUGE as the drama was, it was natural.
A: I love the dramas in my romance. It was perfect in this one!
S: I love them as long as they're not SUPER over the top ridiculous.
R: I agree Sharon! Ok, the drama was a bit crazy, but somehow it WAS natural!
S: Yeah. Maybe not even crazy, but HUGE. Yet it wasn't unnecessary. It totally went with the story.
A: I think all the drama in the story is the kind of drama that could actually happen to a normal person.
R: I so agree! I usually don't like these and they make me roll my eyes but the drama here was PERFECT!

And Now, Back To Gabriel

R: Any more thoughts on Gabriel?
A: Is it odd that I didn't think about HIS appearance too much either?
S: Interesting point! Now that you bring it up, I don't think I did either!
A: I know he was described several times, particularly including his face and his eyes. But I don't remember thinking too much about his appearance.
R: This was my reaction to Gabriel's appearance: LOL. BLONDE HERO. POOR MAN. SHARON WON'T FULLY LOVE HIM.
A: Sharon, you don't like blondes???
R: Blonde hater!
S: Your feelings were actually accurate, Racquel. And no, I don't like blondes, Alexa. It's a weird hang-up of mine. I like my heroes with brown, red, or black hair! Just not blonde. St. Vincent is pretty much the only exception.
R: It's okay. We all know your soul mate is blonde. And you'll have precious blonde kids.
A: St. Vincent is a good exceptioin.
R: I was thinking that too, Alexa!
S: If a hero is described as blonde, I generally either picture them dark-haired or just don't picture them. I DON'T KNOW WHY.
R: I like blonde heroes. They're usually fantastic. Look at Gabriel & Sebastian! I couldn't HELP picturing Gabriel. And I laughed EVERY single time because of Sharon. It was like she was in my head, saying, "Blonde? No!"
A: *giggles*
S: Glad to be of service. I have very few exceptions to my blonde rule. But Gabriel was one. He just seemed blonde! But at the same time, the physical wasn't really a factor. I feel like it wasn't even that big of a factor for Samantha, either. Yes, she mentioned it. But it was never a huge thing.

On Witty Banter & Strong Dialogue

R: And the dialogue. The dialogue was AWESOME.
A: Are you referring to the banter?
R: I loved the romance because of the dialogue and interactions. It's JUST SO GOOD. Yes! The banter.
A: It was perfect. I always enjoy banter!
R: It was! I highlighted EVERYTHING until it got crazy!
S: I LOVED their banter! It cracked me up.
R: For me, it made the whole book. It was THAT good. I was just laughing and grinning so many times (and thanking Sharon for recommending this book. Sharon can be wonderful like when she's not breaking my heart.)
S: You're welcome!
R: "Let's see, first there was old Cora Gringott. She was nearly as deaf as I was blind. We made a fine pair, we did. I spent most of the time groping for her ear trumpet so I could bellow into it."
S: The interesting thing to me was that alone, neither of them was particularly witty. I mean, they were, but not to any awesome extent. But when you put them together? MAGIC.
A: Yes! It was like a magic combination!
R: Yes, yes and YES. Everything they said to each other was great and perfect. I just want to share ALL the witty banter quotes, meaning, I want to share the whole book.
S: Basically, yes.
A: The book needs to come with the disclaimer: Read this and run the risk of being entertained.

On Our Heroine, Samantha Wickersham

A: Samantha's an interesting heroine! She's so witty.
R: I LOVED Samantha! She was great! She was determined to help Gabriel and he was such a BEAST to her, but she never gave up. Okay, maybe she gave up once or twice, but she got over that - which is what matters! She was a fantastic heroine, a new favorite of mine.
S: I thought she was such an interesting heroine! We knew from the very beginning that she wasn't being entirely honest about something. But we never knew what! Which is interesting, because it's usually at least revealed to the reader. Regardless of the fact that you didn't KNOW her past, you got the feeling she was entirely genuine with her interactions with Gabriel. Even if she was hiding something, she wasn't faking anything, if that makes sense.
R: Exactly! And when it was revealed, it was boom, pow, KICK IN THE FACE. I loved it. I so, so, so loved it.
A: Honestly, I guessed a lot of things. But I could never have guessed the truth.
S: Well. It was when I figured it out. I never would have done that without your heads up that something HUGE was coming though!
R: I had my theories about what Samantha was hiding and I was SO wrong but I really believed in them so I didn't see anything coming!
S: I thought Samantha was scrappy, witty and just awesome overall! I very much enjoyed reading about her.
R: She was a bad-ass. I approve.
S: ^ This.

On Other Characters, Particularly The Servants

R: Next topic: the servants! Did anyone else love this? I loved how the book took place mostly in Gabriel's house and the only characters were the servants.
A: OH MY GOSH. I love them!
S: I ADORED the servants in this book.
A: I love how loyal they were to Gabriel.
R: It was very secluded and nice. I felt like I was there with them in the house, which I wouldn't have felt if the setting constantly changed.
S: Which is interesting, because it breaks another one of my rules. I usually find the servants to be wooden characters or just there for random plot pushing or word count padding. But these were actual characters, and I actually liked seeing them. I liked seeing them interact, and I thought that they all actually felt like real characters. I agree about their loyalty to Gabriel too!
R: Since Gabriel was pretty much in hiding from society, no one really came and went, which made the servants close to Gabriel, and especially Samantha when she proves she's trying to help their lost master.
A: I loved when they really warmed up to Samantha!
R: I did too! And like Sharon said, they were real characters.
S: And they were actually integral to the story, which was nice to see. I really like reading about servants when done well, and it was awesome that this book had that.

Final Thoughts on Yours Until Dawn

S: Overall, this book really is a new favorite! There were a lot of unique aspects combined in ways I'd never seen before. I giggled, I swooned, I literally gasped out "OH MY GOD!" at one point, and I cried. It was great!
R: I can't thank Sharon enough for recommending this book! I never heard of it before but it's such a GEM. And yes, I laughed (A LOT), I swooned, I had a crazy freak out about a crazy revelation and I cried too because it was that  good! And I LOVED, I LOVED the epilogue.
S: *takes a bow* You're welcome world! But really, passing the thanks on to Ms. Medeiros for writing such a fantastic story!
A: Honestly, I don't think I would've read it if Sharon hadn't suggested it for this event! It's one of those older novels that might have slipped through unnoticed for me. I'm glad I read it though because now I'm curious about more of her novels.
R: This seems like her most popular book, but I'm definitely going to give her other books a try!
S: OH, YES. Thank you for mentioning that [note: the epilogue], Racquel! 99% of the time, I think epilogues are totally a waste. Yes, we know that 5 years later, they'll be married with 2.5 kids and be obnoxiously happy together. Some are well done, but I think a lot are just randomly tacked on there for no particular reason. But this was one of the most unique ones I've ever seen!
R: I love epilogues! Even if they are a waste!
S: I absolutely loved it! This is actually one of my all-time favorite epilogues.
R: My favorite ending goes to What I Did for a Duke.
S: 99% was totally an exaggeration, honestly.
R: But this is my second favorite ending and favorite epilogue!
S: I'm probably.... 50/50. MAYBE 60/40. There are quite a lot of good ones! I just hate when a book has a FANTASTIC ending or last line... Only to have a pointless, cheesy epilogue tacked on.
A: Yes! This epilogue was adorable.
R: Yeah, epilogues ARE cheesy, but I take them anyways!
A: I live for cheese.
S: LOL.

As you can see, we had quite the productive chat about Yours Until Dawn. The book is the first experience each one of us has had with Medeiros' writing, and it's fairly obvious that we liked it! This romance is fun, the banter is amazing, the characters are wonderful and the story is surprising. We hope that you'll take our word for it, and borrow or buy this awesome book to devour for yourself!

3 comments:

  1. I have to agree with Sharon on the blonde hero comment! (Glad I'm not the only one!). I love blonde hair in reality, but whenever I'm picturing a blonde male character in my head, it is never as attractive as it could be. That's probably just my fault, though. :P It's interesting to hear that Gabriel is blind. I don't think I have experienced a story like this before, but it definitely sounds wonderfully different.

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  2. I have read one other book by this author (Let Me Call You Tweetheart) and it was full of witty banter. I really enjoyed it. I'll have to check this one out!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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