Sunday, May 26, 2013

Of Angels and Orphans by Barbara T. Cerny

Title of Book :  Of Angels and Orphans

Author Name: Barbara T. Cerny

ISBN: 978-1-60860-013-7

Publisher: Strategic Book Group

Release date: 09/15/2009

Genre: Historical Romance

Length of Story: Novel (above 70K words)

Disclaimer: I got this book from the author in exhcange of my honest review

Back Cover...

Audra Markham is a ten-year-old girl born into privilege, but only in the sense of wealth. The granddaughter of a Viscount, Audra is the object of ridicule in her spoiled and spiteful family. Alone and unloved, Audra seeks solace in the comfort of food.

In another part of London thirteen-year-old Nathaniel Abbot lives a wretched life, forced to steal food in order to survive. Living in squalid conditions at the local orphanage, Nathaniel and three of his friends are spared further suffering when Audra “rescues” them from their plight.

Two lost souls that cannot find their place in the word suddenly find a place in each other’s hearts. Follow the lives of Audra and Nate as they grow from loyal childhood companions to inseparable young lovers, struggling through the perils of their own lives and facing difficult decisions that threaten to keep them apart.


At midnight, Audra finally felt the house settled enough that she arose from the bed, put on her clothes (God forbid if she was caught in her nightgown), and silently walked down the hallway to the stairs. Her knees were a little shaky but she couldn’t tell if that was from fear or from weakness. Not willing to take chances, she sat down on the top step and moved down the stairs one at a time on her butt, scooting slowly down to the bottom. So far, so good. All those years of sneaking food and clothing for the boys were paying off! The back staircase emptied out into the breezeway. If she went straight, she’d end up in the stables; if she turned around, she would go back into the kitchens. Glancing around to make sure she was alone, she began her trek across the breezeway and into the stables. The door seemed heavier than usual, and she struggled to keep silent. Once through the door, she stood on the other side of it to catch her breath. Her legs were very shaky now but she was too close to stop. Ahead of her were the narrow stairs up to the loft area and Nate’s room. This time, she crawled on her hands and knees up the stairs, hiking her skirts up so they wouldn’t be caught. This would the worst place to be seen with her bare legs showing and her skirt hitched up around her waist! She grinned at the picture she must make from the bottom of the stairs—at least her undergarments were clean! Audra finally made it to the top and had to stop for a minute to catch her breath. Then she stood up and went to Nate’s room. Like before, Calvin had moved out to keep from disturbing Nate with his horrible snoring. Audra confirmed this with a glance to the empty bed and swiftly moved to Nate’s side. The chair was on the opposite side of the bed this time as his back was facing the door. Audra went around the bed and kneeled next to his head. He lay there with both arms on his pillow, keeping them from touching the wounds on his side. Even in his sleep, his brow was furrowed in pain, his eyes tightly shut, his breathing ragged and shallow. His mouth was slightly open and he was making those little mewling noises she remembered from last time, as if he labored through his breathing and the movement hurt him. She reached out and brushed his hair away from his forehead and checked his temperature by putting the back of her hand to his temple. He seemed okay. She stared at his face in the dark trying to make out each of his handsome features in the inky blackness. A little light came from the window over his bed, but the moon was in quarter and not much help. She was afraid to light a candle and draw attention to the room. Audra put her hands in-between and over his, content to just kneel there and hold his hands. His breathing changed slightly, seeming to calm a bit for the next few minutes. As she lifted her hand to stroke his hair again, Nate opened his eyes. “I knew you were here,” he whispered, pain coming through his voice, “I could feel you.” “Oh, God, Nate.” She moved her face closer to his so they wouldn’t be heard. “I am so sorry. I am so, so sorry.” With great effort, he lifted his right arm and stroked her face with his hand. “Not your fault. He’s a bastard from the start and at least Termins was there to stop him this time. He really wanted to kill me. I could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice. He wanted me dead.” “Shhhh. Don’t think of him anymore. He isn’t worth the energy it takes to think about him. Shhhh.” “I am so glad you are here. That means you are better.” “I am fine. A little weak still, but fine. Now we need to concentrate on you becoming better. I couldn’t stay away from you any longer. I can only think of you and that night, and your kisses…” her voice trailed off as she choked on her emotions. Nate swallowed hard and closed his eyes, the effort of speaking overcoming him but not as much as the thought of that night when they shared their first kiss. Was that only five or six nights ago? Seemed like years to his tortured mind and body. But he wanted to relive the moment, to recapture the feeling of that night, to remember the stunning fire that had burned inside, to forget the dreadful fire that now burned outside. He opened his eyes and stared at the hidden face of his love, obscured by the darkness, backlit by the sliver of moon coming through the window. “Kiss me again,” he whispered hoarsely, “Kiss me now, Audra.” She followed the line of his cheek and chin with her hand, feeling for his lips with her fingers. Then she moved her head so she could replace her fingers with her lips. His body cried out in pain as he rolled slightly to meet her kiss and hold onto her arm with his free hand. Just like before, when their lips met, the world around them exploded with passion. Audra felt the kiss all the way to her toes, her mind focusing sharply on the intimacy of the touch. Nate moaned in pain and in pleasure, his body screaming at the pulling movement caused on his newly forming scars. But his heart and soul screamed at the joy her kiss brought him. He moved his hand to the back of her head, pulling her even closer to him, searching the depths of her mouth with his tongue. She responded fully with a search of her own. There was nothing tentative about her exploration. It was as if she knew exactly what to do, what she was meant to do, what they were meant to do together. There were no secrets between them, no hesitation. They were a perfect match. Audra broke the kiss, knowing the danger in which they were putting themselves. “I love you,” she whispered, lip to lip, “I am yours forever.”


She is Audra Markham. A rich, fat girl belonging to the nobility. Teased by her siblings and cousins, looked down by her parents, she looses herself to a secluded area in her garden to books. No one knows that she has something which is very rare in a small girl. A beautiful heart. A heart that motivates her to become friends with some street urchin boys.
He .....
He is Nathaniel Abott aka Nate. A young boy forced to live in an orphanage because he lost his family to the epidemic. He is more learned than any of his peers and also more cultured. But due to hunger he is forced to steal food. One day such an incident forces him to seek shelter in the garden of Audra.

The Love Story....

The chance meeting in the garden of Audra, brings her in contact with the Nate and his friends. They nickname her Angel. For she is truly like an Angel to them. Bringing them stolen food to satisfy their hunger and books to satisfy their young minds.

To escape the savagery of the orphanage, Audra makes her family hire them in her estate. Soon the young ones grow to by strong youngsters and love joins Audra and Nate in a beautiful relationship. Of course in those days it was unacceptable and they had to keep their love a secret- specially from Audra's family.

Audra in the meantime decides to lose weight [ this is truly motivational now folks!!!] And she does. She becomes the beautiful Madame Butterfly and attracts the attention of an old Duke. When he offers for her hand in marriage, Audra's father readily agrees to it since it would improve their social status to have their daughter as a Duchess. Then the story takes another turn which I had not expected!!!

Instead of taking it quietly both Nate and Audra decide on fighting against it. They plan a strategy. Will they succeed or will Nate end in the gallows? What happens to all their friends? Is  there a happily ever after?

What I liked.....

I really loved the narration style and the picturesque way the story is presented. Taking the readers to the old Victorian era is not small treat. The cobbled streets, the cobbler, the smithy or even the highwayman, all contributed in creating the aura of that era.

I loved the description of the cost of the tickets to America from England - $15. Wow! And to buy a stud farm in America.. guess the price? No wonder we say 'Old is Gold."

There are many characters in this story. Each character was well etched. The change in the atmosphere of the story from England to America was subtle, yet present. A job well done Ms. Cerny.

Coming to the characters. I loved Audra. Gentle yet fiery. A spunk of a girl who had great determination and she knew what she wanted. Though the story had some gruesome tortures by the bourgeoisie class on the commoner but they did not overtake the main theme of the story. Again very subtlely done Ms. Cerny.

What I didn't like....
Nate came out weaker than Audra. [Glares from the feminists around me]. I am not saying the I did not like Nate but after reading the story you have to agree with me that Audra is more adventurous, more spunky and definitely more loyal. [ Selena, remember Nate?]

Reading about complacent females slowly wooing the hearts of the macho men has clouded my decision may be. I am sure some of you readers would feel that Nate is a  "He is lovable every minute. He is cute, totally in love with Audra and a damn good friend". I do too... but Audra's spunk is what makes me want to be her. To all the feminists my apologies... but heck once in a while when come across a character like Audra, you need to root for her.:)


Nate is one of the major causes why I do not think of giving it a 5 star. In the equal battle of the sexes, Audra came as a fighter. Coming from the gentry class one would expect her to be more docile and Nate being brought up on the street should have had at times at least been more vibrant than Audra. Even in the fighting scenes, it is Audra who always comes out stronger.

About the Author...
Barbara T. Cerny grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado. She served twenty-two years in the US Army Reserves, retiring a Lieutenant Colonel in 2007. She is an information technology specialist and supervisor. Barb writes historical romances good for late teen and adults. She puts a lot of history and adventure into her work. Words are her passion, they do matter

Meet the author at her Website or you can email her @

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  1. Hi Rubina!

    I saw your post on goodreads (Creative Reviews) and stopped by your blog to check out your review. I now follow your blog :)

    Of Angels and Orphans sounds like a beautiful yet heartbreaking novel. And I absolutely love your review and like the way you write your reviews. Sometimes when I go on other blogs and read their reviews, they will give a book a 3 star rating but never explain what they didn't like about the book. I like how thorough you are! I can't wait to come back and check out more of your reviews!

    Feel free to stop by my blog sometime and follow if you like.

    Best Wishes,
    Mia @ The Muses Circle

    1. Thank you so much Mia. Following your blog too. Your blog is very interesting too. Many of the books from your blog have landed up in my TBR list.

  2. Hi, Rubina! Don't know if I am breaking blog etiquette here by commenting on your review of my novel but I do have to say this is a great review. Thank you! You do such a lovely job of explaining your rationale for your rating which is great. I utterly agree with Mia on that. I did get a 3-star on another of my books once with just that, 3-stars. I was able to get a hold of her and find out why to discover she was unhappy I stopped when I did - she wanted MORE! Hopefully this lovely review will want folks to want more. However, I am keeping my eye on the strength of my men now. I am a retired LTC from the Army, remember, strong women are my forte...

    1. Thanks Barbara for the support and liking my review. I had to take a break for personal reasons. But will start soon again. I loved your book and loved your characters. Hope to read many more from you. You are a very sensitive writer.