Readers' Favorite

June 12, 2018

Breathless by Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan ~ A Review & Giveaway

by MK French

excerpt from Breathless
First Chapter, First Paragraph (and a little more)

In the 1800's, the Swan was a celebrated courtesan until her fall led her to be shipwrecked in Catalan. In the present day, Dr. Brenna Anderson impulsively hops on a plane after a new painting in the Siren Series is found, hoping to determine its authenticity and finally put a name to the subject. That would help repair her reputation at Harvard, where donations are threatening to dry up if she continues to teach there despite her tenure. The only thing that throws a wrench in her plans is Fitch Wilder, the art hunter who is also following the trail of the paintings.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Breathless cover
June 2018; St. Martin's Griffin; 978-1250008060
ebook, print (384 pages); women's fiction
If you loved A.S. Byatt's Possession, this is definitely the book for you. Instead of the world of poetry, here we have modern-day scholars looking into the art world and tracing a hundred-year-old mystery. The stories of the past and present are dovetailed in the book, and we're taken from Boston to London to Spain on the hunt for the identity of the Siren and Le Artiste.

Along the way are sumptuous descriptions of the locations, as well as learning more about Brenna, Fitch, the Swan and her artist. The details are lovely and unfold in a natural kind of way so that we have romance along with the mystery that they're looking into. I was just as frustrated as Fitch was when the Swan's letters ended abruptly due to corruption in the paper over time made it difficult to transcribe. I have the benefit of reading this in a book and not doing this kind of academic search myself so I can push on to the next chapter. And the next, and the next...

Of course, the stories all come together at the end of the book: discovering the Siren's name and that of Le Artiste, the resolution of Brenna's and Fitch's relationship, as well as Brenna's thoughts about academia. While the epilogue feels a little trite, it does tie up all the loose ends and lets us see the progression of events and the growth of characters for ourselves. It's a satisfying conclusion to the journey that the authors brought us on.

Buy Breathless at Amazon

(Giveaway is open to U.S. address only)
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Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever. 

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  1. Sounds a bit creepy. I hope you're liking it. Here's the link to my 1C, 1P & TTT:

    1. The summary probably sounds worse than it really is. It's more of a historical mystery with a side of romance. I did enjoy it a lot.


  2. Looks interesting! Thanks for stopping by!


  3. I am definitely curious now. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

  4. ha! I entered and then realised it's USA only... cries.

  5. It's definitely an interesting story.

  6. I'm on the fence, so I'd have to read a bit more.