This is my first read by Judith McNaught, but certainly not my last. A Kingdom of Dreams, book one in the Westmoreland Trilogy starts out in Scotland,...moreThis is my first read by Judith McNaught, but certainly not my last. A Kingdom of Dreams, book one in the Westmoreland Trilogy starts out in Scotland, during the medieval period, with the lovely, strong, and often defiant Jennifer Merrick. The oldest daughter of the Scottish Merrick Clan. Sent off to a nunnery cloister with her step sister because of her past and "untameable" ways as her family deemed, were in training to become nuns and wait to learn their fate in life by their father.
One evening, the girls walking along a hill side are abducted by a foe of Clan Merricks, the English to be used as a bargaining chip for surrender in battle. In particular the brother of the legendary Black Wolf. A secret fighting weapon of the British crown, the Black Wolf, or Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. His legendary and infamous status labeled him a dangerous, heartless killing machine, a killer of Scots and French.
What starts out as defiance and dislike between Jennifer and Royce grew to admiration and lust while Jennifer was a prisoner of Royce's camp turned to a trusting and caring relationship. However, this trust because the Duke was her family's foe, was broken when Jennifer's family rescued her, publicly making Royce a laughing stock of his country, it was the ultimate betrayal of trust at Jennifer's hands.
The trust between the hero and heroine as constantly tried and broken. Royce became a more humane caring person because he learned to care for and eventually love Jennifer. One thing that bugged me about this book was the fact that Jennifer was quick to harshly judge Royce, even after the King of Scotland and the King of England bade them to marry to settle both countries into peace and he did everything in his power not to come between Jennifer and her family, or harm her family. Yet, she trusted her evil and manipulating family and clan who was fickle and often times detested her and didn't care what happened to Jennifer in life.
Jennifer, finally learns that her family isn't what she thought and her husband is a valiant and worthy man of her and her love during a tournament comprised of the same Scottish, French, and English that were enemies on the battle field. Jennifer and Royce submit to and admit their love once Royce is gravely wounded at some back handed plotting by her family. Royce willingly accepts dying and will not raise a hand against her family. In the end Jennifer defies the evil her family wants her to commit, murdering her husband on the tournament battlefield in front of thousands. She is disowned, but accepted once again by her English people, and especially her husband to help rule her kingdom of dreams, something she always dreamed about as a child.
I decided to put this book down because the ending is moving so slowly. I was hoping for a great epic story here in The Tea Rose. This book really had...moreI decided to put this book down because the ending is moving so slowly. I was hoping for a great epic story here in The Tea Rose. This book really had a lot of potential to lean that way. I would rate this book a solid 3.5 stars. There were definitely parts that would be rated higher, but I felt that Donnelly weighed down her story by mundane scenes, introducing too many characters, trying to lengthen the book so the story played out more slowly. I enjoyed the strong heroine, Fiona Finnegan. A young Irish girl of eighteen, full of drive and dreams to open a grocery shop with her childhood love, Joe Bristow on the east side of London where working and living is a constant struggle. Fiona's life is drastically changed by murder and death of various family members. The London streets were plagued by the infamous Jack the Ripper. I did enjoy the Jack the Ripper segments, not for the murders, but the idea of including him in this time period story to make it stand out amongst other similar novels. I couldn't stand the hero Joe. I felt no affinity for him, he really mucked up his chances early on with Fiona, he broke her heart shortly after they became engaged. Eventually Fiona must travel to America to live with an Uncle to be safe from some trouble involving an uprising in Unions and potential strikes involving the tea factory where Fiona was formerly employed. Fiona reaches America thanks to a new found friend and guardian angel. She discovers that being in America isn't going to be as easy as she thought, but she quickly learns to work hard and build up a business empire. She even tries to love again. I did love this gentleman, William McClaine, but Joe still had a hold of Fiona's heart. Joe eventually pieces together that he could probably find Fiona in New York where her uncle lives, and sets off to find her and repair what they once had if only she will take him back. Despite the fact that this book did move slowly and I did not finish it, I perhaps will pick it back up at another time and finish it. I am still interested in trying books 2 and 3 in this series.(less)
I enjoyed book 1 of the Hathaway series but wasn't in a hurry to start this next one. I wish I wouldn't have waited so long! This book was amazing and...moreI enjoyed book 1 of the Hathaway series but wasn't in a hurry to start this next one. I wish I wouldn't have waited so long! This book was amazing and definitely one of my favorite Kleypas books now :)(less)