Illicit Passion

Illicit Passion

A Showbiz Family Saga

Romance - Sizzle
320 Pages
Reviewed on 12/06/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Sarah Stuart lives on the edge of a quiet English village where wildlife sightings are common. Many of her dogs are, or have been, rescues . All her royalties are donated to animal charities worldwide.

Dogs were her opening into show business. When she lived in Wales she supplied them to professional companies using Aberystwyth University’s Arts Centre Theatre during student vacations. Many musicals and plays performed there were on their pre-West End premiere run, which gave her an opportunity to talk to directors, choreographers and backstage staff, and the performers. These ranged from actors and actresses in their first, or early, roles to worldwide superstars of stage and screen. That, and association with the Northern Ballet, underpins the vivid portrayals of show business triumphs and heartbreak.

Sarah is a qualified adult literacy tutor and has written short stories, in addition to other resources, for her students. Her published articles have been in magazines dedicated to wildlife and dogs. The Royal Command trilogy, her debut into full-length fiction, has been well received. Book One, Dangerous Liaisons, is a Readers' Favorite Romance/Sizzle Bronze Medal winner.

Sarah’s hope is that readers will enjoy her novels as an escape from reality, but be left understanding that fame and fortune often comes at a high personal cost. Also, an increased perception of the threat to animals: those shot in the name of sport for trophy heads, endangered species, many poached for their fur and ivory, and tragically discarded pets.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Illicit Passion (Royal Command Book 2) by Sarah Stuart is an interesting tale of incest, a story of a family on the edge of destruction by its own dirty secrets. What happens when a woman loves her own father, passionately, intimately, sexually? The booming voice of the world will be rising, saying it is taboo, but to the elegant and successful television personality, Lisette, it could be a completely different story. Lisette has secretly loved her father and has had a child by him, and now, what has been secretly guarded may be brought to the eyes of the world. The media would want nothing more than to feed on the scandal that could rock the world. The family has to do something and they have to do it pretty fast or their already shaky family bonds might be shattered forever. The question is: how much time do they have to contain this secret and who might have known about it?

Sarah Stuart’s Illicit Passion (Royal Command Book 2) is a riveting tale of a family saga built around incest, blackmail, and the stabbings-in-the-back that take place when someone knows something that shouldn’t be known. Stuart is a storyteller who will please readers with her elegance of style. Her prose is sensual and exquisitely beautiful, and she creates characters that are as compelling as they are memorable. The story is interestingly unnerving, with enough suspense to keep readers turning the pages until the very last page, and then they will want more. This one will keep you glued to your chair until you finish it, and you’ll think about the characters for a pretty long time.

Rabia Tanveer

Illicit Passion by Sarah Stuart is the story that made me say, “Oh, my Gosh,” by just reading the blurb. But you know what, I absolutely wanted to read the story. I even broke my own self-imposed rule of not reading novels whose first parts I have not read. I am so glad I did. This taboo subject is enough to make you cringe at first, but it is also good at making you want to read more and more and more to know what really happened. Before we go into the actual review, let me talk a little bit about how the author did not confuse me.

Yes, it is a part of a series I was not familiar with, but I completely understood what had happened in the previous novel and what can I expect from the old characters. The information was subtle, nothing was implied, and all of it was explained in a manner that was not too long and not too short.

Now let’s get to the juicy part: the story. Lisette is a star and her father was her lover. And yes, they have a daughter Harriet. Lisette’s father has devised a plan that will set her free, but it may leave her with nothing else. And her daughter is in love with the man they registered her with as twins, so that her identity and her reality would be hidden from the world. But she will not stand back and let people rule her life and keep the man she loves away from her.

Needless to say, this novel had my attention from page one and kept me entertained. The characters were real and they were believable. Nothing was far fetched and that gets major points from me. I loved it and I am off to read the first novel in the series.

Faridah Nassozi

What would you do if you discovered that everything you thought you knew about your life was just one big fat lie? That the woman who raised you as her own daughter was never your mother, but instead your mother was the one you grew up calling a sister, the one with whom you share a mother and father, and that the man you were forbidden to love was never your brother? That twisted puzzle was Harriet's life. The Marsh family had never been an ordinary family by any standards and this was not just because of the way they defied social etiquette. Each member of the family endured their own emotional struggles as secrets and scandal threatened to expose the twisted mess that is their family tree and completely destroy their lives.

Illicit Passion (Royal Command Book 2) by Sarah Stuart is the tale of a family conundrum at the centre of which is sweet forbidden love, a child of incest, and a ruthless blackmailer among other dark family secrets. It was fascinating to follow their lives as they each used their wits to fight the battles that threatened them from within and outside the family. Sarah Stuart crafted a unique and gripping theme for this bizarre family drama. Although their actions are hard to come to terms with, somehow in the end the Marsh family come off as one that genuinely loves and cares for each other.

Mamta Madhavan

Illicit Passion: Royal Command Book 2 by Sarah Stuart is a gripping story of incest, passion, mystery, intrigue, exploitation and blackmail. Lisette is trying to escape from a blackmailer who wants to reveal the truth that her child is born out of incest. Her parents, Michael and Lizzie, are trying their best to save her from the blackmailer, Kevin Tyrone, who has control over Lisette. Will they be able to protect Lisette? Running parallel to this story is the story of Harriet, who discovers that she is Lisette's daughter and not Lizzie's, and the feeling when she falls in love with Kit and finds out that he is actually not her twin as she has been told. The story, set against the backdrop of the glitz of the glamour world, explores relationships and handles the taboo topic of incest with skill.

The plot has many layers and the author weaves the sub-plots masterfully into the main plot. All the characters have been portrayed well and the twists and turns in the plot will keep readers glued to the book to learn what is happening next. Though the plot is complex and has many shades to it, apart from the incest angle, the book also deals with sexual exploitation and abuse. The writing style is fluid and the characters and scenes come alive under the author's detailed narration. There is a lot of passion and action and the plot takes readers into a different world altogether; to one of glamour and riches.

Shazzie

I thoroughly enjoyed Dangerous Liaisons and didn’t think anything could match it, or in fact how the author could carry the characters and the story forward to another novel.
Sarah Stuart did, and she has done it in such a way it can be read as a standalone. Within the narrative the back drop to the previous story comes through with clarity. It wasn’t repetitive for a reader of her first book, Stuart reminds readers in a subtle way where the story left off and the characters we met Dangerous Liaisons.

The question is, has Illicit Passion lived up to my 5 star review from the prior book? Yes and more. Old characters and new are vivid, real and believable.

Stuart takes a serious topic and weaves it into a well-crafted story. She neither condones incest or glamorises it, what she does do is give the reader a brilliant story line that has mystery and suspense throughout. She treats the emotions of each individual character as if they were her own, love, frustration, anticipation, anger and so much more.

The characters we meet along the way have their own little traits and sense of right and wrong. Dialogue is also believable. I loved and appreciated the little Book of Hours and the author’s research that went into the time period and people in it.

I couldn’t fault the writing or the story. Well done Sarah Stuart.

Carrissa Backherms

I enjoyed this book for so many reasons. It was filled with drama, one juicy twist after another. It had mystery and action, the plot thickening at every twist and turn. The author tackles a controversial topic -- incest -- but she handled it so well, and I admired her guts for the way she wrote the story. She didn't condone incest, but she managed the topic in a way that felt real and believable. Also, I had no idea I was reading the second book of a series until I saw the first book online. But it didn't matter because the story worked as a standalone, and held my interest throughout. The author's writing style is flawless. She did an unbelievable job at characterization in this novel. I was able to understand the characters as though I were each of them, feelings their feelings and thinking their thoughts. Major kudos to the author for this! This is a must read, filled with so much drama and intrigue that I dare you to try and put it down!!! And now....I'm dying to get my hands on the first installment of the series!! 5 glittering stars for this book! I highly recommend this edgy read.

Janelle Fila

Illicit Passion (Royal Command Book 2) by Sarah Stuart is the romantic suspense sequel that tackles the taboo subject of incest. The Book of Hours is a diary from Margaret, James IV of Scotland’s queen and was passed through the female generations, with the message to love honestly without regard for whoever that love is bestowed upon. That is the central theme to this story, that love cannot be controlled. Characters love who they love, even if it means being blackmailed or hated. Showbiz superstar Lisette Marsh is dealing with her own nightmare of abuse that started in the first book of this series. Eighteen years ago Lisette had an affair with her own father which produced a child, Harriet. When Harriet comes to own the Book of Hours, she struggles with the meaning of true love as she is ina love with Kit, who may or may not be her twin. Trying to keep these secrets safe from the paparazzi just might bring the whole family empire crashing to the ground.

Author Sarah Stuart handles the serious nature of this theme well and readers will love the soap opera quality of this story. The characters are larger than life, beautiful, glamorous and glitzy, but obviously have their demons and secrets. Getting to know those secrets and peeling back the layers of dirt and grit that lie beneath all of the superstar glamour is the fun of the story, and readers will really appreciate this incredible journey.

Rita Lee Chapman

Intense is how I would describe Illicit Passion in one word. It drew me in from the start and I practically held my breath as I read it. Even when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. What would happen next – to Michael, to Lisette, to Harriet? Would Michael and Lizzie’s love hold strong, would Lisette break free of the chains which held her, what would happen to Kit and Harriet, to Greta? Where were Isla and Bob?

Sarah managed to sustain the suspense that captured me from the first and build on it chapter by chapter. The characters were alive and each of them had me hoping that things were going to work out for them. With a theatrical and musical setting, it delves in to a world of passion and love. The Book of Hours is the story within the story, a very unusual and unique concept, an adeptly woven theme which creates the basis of the series.

Although Illicit Passion can easily be read as a stand-alone, I would urge readers not to deprive themselves of the great pleasure of reading them in order. Dangerous Liaisons is a great read but Illicit Passion is amazing!

Amazon Customer

“Illicit Passion” is one of those stories you won’t be able to put down. Once I plunged into the world of show-biz with its twisted secrets, drama, blackmail and passion, I wasn’t able to stop reading this riveting story because I just had to know how it all would end. What I appreciated the most about this unconventional story is the extremely believable, multi-dimensional characters, with a whole spectrum of human emotions that can’t help but resonate with the reader. Another major point that adds to the author’s brilliant writing is how effortlessly she delivered quite a taboo theme of incest, turning the shocking factor into something natural and filled with the most sincere emotions between Lisette and her father Michael. The thriller aspect with the main villain and the blackmail plot was excellently played out and the ending is just too good to ruin – read it and you’ll love it as much as I did! Five stars!

Jenny

Another great read from Sarah Stuart. I wasn’t sure how she would improve on the first one but she managed to exceed all my expectations. Illicit Passion is a very entertaining book set in a surreal celebrity world. It is a true drama filled with complex emotions, sex, lies, betrayal and much more compelling you to read on. I look forward to reading more from this author.

randombadger

A cleverly written saga- In the world of showbusiness, a musical star- beautiful but scarred by years of torture and torment struggles with her sanity against a backdrop of twisted, emotional baggage, illicit relationships, ambition and family drama. Loved it!