Review of “Breathless” by Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan

Bradley, Celeste, and Susan Donovan. Breathless. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2018. 

Paperback | $16.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-1250008060 | 377 pages | Historical Fiction/Contemporary Romance

3 stars

This is my first book by either Celeste Bradley or Susan Donovan, and while I liked the book at points, it was definitely a little different than I first anticipated, given the little I know about each of these authors write independently, and what I inferred from the minor details peppered in that alluded to the characters in their last collaboration, A Courtesan’s Guide to Getting Your Man (republished as Unbound), which I did not realize was related to this one prior to reading the book.

Being different, however, is not a bad thing. The historical portion of the book does not end happily, but it was beautiful nonetheless. Despite not getting a lot of details about the characters’ identities beyond what was told to us by the narrator (the Swan) throughout, I was gripped by her experience and how she ended up finding love with her Artist after going through so many trials.

The modern arc, aside from those bits where they were researching the past that featured excerpts of letters from the Swan, fell a little flat for me. I liked Brenna and Fitch well enough as characters, but once I was invested in the historical storyline, I was annoyed with the futile attempts to bring the two of them together, as their chemistry wasn’t really there for me.

I will likely check out Bradley and Donovan’s other book, and their individual backlists. I feel that fans of one or both authors’ writing will love this, especially if they are familiar with their last collaboration, and prepared for something slightly different. This might also appeal to some time-slip mystery fans.

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