RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge Roundup: The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne

Title: The Forbidden Rose
Author: Joanna Bourne
Genre: Historical: European

RITA®, and the RITA statuette are service marks of Romance Writers of America, Inc.No review was submitted for this novel for the RITA® Reader Challenge, so it’s review round up time!

Book Cover Plot Summary: A glittering French aristocrat is on the run, disguised as a British governess. England’s top spy has a score to settle with her family. But as they’re drawn inexorably into the intrigue and madness of Revolutionary Paris, they gamble on a love to which neither of them will admit.

This book has a 4.09 star average on GoodReads. It was also on my Kirkus list of the best books of 2010.

Kate wrote in her five-star review at Goodreads:

I’ve always enjoyed a good spy story, but I haven’t, until now, read a really GOOD one. Joanna Bourne’s The Forbidden Rose was everything I wanted in a spy novel, complete with romance – the kind that (as it does in war) blossoms unexpectedly and with a desperation that, at any moment, either party could be lost.


This book is available from Amazon | Kindle | BN & nook |

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Erin says:

    I have not previously been able to get a copy of this book because of geographic restrictions but this seems to have changed and I was able to download it this morning from BooksOnBoard. I’m so excited!! I loved “The Spymaster’s Lady” and have been really disappointed about not having access to this one until now.

  2. 2
    Tina C. says:

    I read this a few months ago and I really loved it!  I loved the relationship between the hero and heroine, in particular, but the whole background of France in the midst of the Terror was exceptionally well-done, too.  Great book!

  3. 3
    SonomaLass says:

    Jo Bourne is a fine writer, and this is a terrific book. It’s finely crafted, and I thought it had just about the perfect mix of external and internal conflict for the characters, making it a great story and a good romance. I wish I had seen that it was on your list of unreviewed books; I would have loved the excuse to re-read it rowdies about it in more detail.

  4. 4
    kkw says:

    I hadn’t realized there were so many books without reviewers.  I could happily have gushed about this one for 250 words (or more).  Definitely one of the best romances I read last year.  Not a perfect book but close.  I think the pacing could have been tighter and the sex hotter – it’s so difficult to have compelling sex scenes that don’t distract from the tension of characters on the run for their lives.  I usually wind up losing my belief in the suspense or in the passion, which is why I’m not a huge romantic suspense fan.  But the characters are real and unexpected, touching and funny.  And the dialogue! I’m such a sucker for good dialogue.  Bourne has a great voice as a writer, too, so the narrative is as fun as the dialogue.

  5. 5
    Donna says:

    I picked books I hadn’t read yet or heard anything about. Maybe others were doing the same and that’s why this and some others weren’t chosen. After all, Joanna Bourne is an easy review: A+++. Excellent character development. Intricate relationships. Wonderful dialogue. Well thought out plot with enough suspense, humor and action to keep you up reading all night.

  6. 6
    Lori says:

    Like kkw I feel bad for not paying more attention to the fact that this one was unclaimed. I read it a few months ago and could easily have written several paragraphs about how much I enjoyed it. In fact, I think reviews written by kkw and I would have been really similar.

  7. 7
    Nicole says:

    You know I liked this book.  I really did, but at the same time this book and Joanna Bourne’s other recent books (Spymaster’s Lady and another Spy book whose name I can’t remember) feature characters that are just so goddamn wonderful that I can’t really identify with them.  They’re noble, brave, capable, and so wonderfully, achingly human.  Now lots of romance characters are superior to the average human but Joanna Bourne’s books are so real and good that its different with them.  Anyway I really like the books, but I don’t love them and I probably won’t reread them.

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