To Beguile a Beast takes a tried and true romance theme and does it justice. In this case, the Beauty is the fugitive mistress of a powerful duke, who...more
To Beguile a Beast takes a tried and true romance theme and does it justice. In this case, the Beauty is the fugitive mistress of a powerful duke, who takes her children to start a new life, not as a kept woman, but as a legitimate housekeeper. The Beast is a naturalist who was tortured by Indians in the colonies, as the result of an ambush against British soldiers.
The writing flows and compels. The romance not only involves Helen and Alistair, but also the bond that develops between Alistair and Helen's troubled children, Jamie and Abigail. I guess I am just getting older, but lately I really appreciate the idea of a hero or heroine who has children meeting someone who embraces those kids and makes them part of their life in all ways, founding their own parental bond. In this case, I loved how this relationship develops between Alistair and the children. I felt bad for them that their father wasn't really a dad to them at all. He didn't even talk to them or acknowledge them, although they didn't lack materially. They were just possessions to him. Whereas Alistair does spend time with the kids and genuinely cares about them.
As much as I liked this book, I didn't love it as much as The Raven Prince. I think the subject matter might have been a bit more dicey for me. I don't really like the idea that Helen willingly committed adultery with a married man. I understand her actions were those of a young, starstruck girl-woman, and she fully accepted the accountability for those actions. I didn't judge her for her actions, I just felt disappointed for the choices she made, but probably nowhere as near as she did. She threw away a lot for a man that wasn't worthy of her love, and paid the price for it. The one good thing that came out of it was her children, and she decides to make tomorrow a different and better day for herself and her children, which definitely shows character in a person. From a creativity standpoint, it makes sense to have a story for once about the 'other woman', but my deep-seated issues with infidelity give me a bit of heartburn about that. I'm never going to take that subject likely, so I do always feel a twinge when I read a book and the characters go down that road, past or present. Conversely, I didn't like that Alistair gave Helen such a hard time about her past when he finds out. I mean, he really rubs it in her face. Considering that his past is hardly lily white (a man who admittedly has slept with prostitutes (another ick factor for me), it was sort of like kicking a puppy. I know part of his issues were jealousy because he will never be a duke or have the powerful, accepted status in society as a duke. And also, his issues with his disfigurement. For all my disappointment with him, I did love how he rallies around Helen in her time of need and works to ensure the safety of her children from their father.
The other issue I had was I guess I expected the duke to be a bit more sinister. I was waiting for other shoe to fall, and when it does, it's a bit of a thunk instead of a bang. Helen seemed very afraid of the duke, and when he appears, he doesn't have even a smidge of the presence that Alistair has. Stylistically, I would have liked a little more Gothic flavor here. The book sort of begs for it, really. I suppose it's just my melodramatic/drama hound nature. I just felt like I wanted something deeper, more intense in this novel. Maybe more angst and flair than it had. Having said that, I do like the crafty way that Alistair deals with the situation. I love a hero who has as much or even more brains than brawn and uses them to solve a tricky problem.
Despite my misgivings, I found this to be a pleasant, highly enjoyable read. The powerful passion between Helen and Alistair made for good reading, along with the relationship between Alistair and the kids. As before, Hoyt sets an authentic historical tone that really works for this reader. The story of the beast finding love with the beauty will always be timeless and beloved to this die-hard fairy tale lover, and Elizabeth Hoyt gives it a different spin and gives it justice overall. (less)
Maverick Wild gave me many hours of entertainment this weekend. It is the second story in the Morgan brothers duo by Stacey Kayne.
Chance Morgan is eag...moreMaverick Wild gave me many hours of entertainment this weekend. It is the second story in the Morgan brothers duo by Stacey Kayne.
Chance Morgan is eager to continue his carefree bachelor existence and not at all eager to get married. However, meeting Cora Mae Tindale again puts a wrench in those plans. Cora is the daughter of his hated stepmother. When they were kids, she was a boon companion who Chance and his brother enjoyed corrupting. Many times they got the young girl in trouble with her mean, overbearing mother, but she never complained about the abuse that she suffered at her mother's hands.
When Chance and Tucker ran away to join the Confederate Army, they knew that they couldn't take little Cora Mae with them. But Chance promised to return for her. However, when they were able to come back, Cora was gone, and their stepmonster had sold their father's farm. Bitter about women and how marrying them destroyed a man's life, Chance vowed never to get married.
Twenty-one years later, they are reunited when Cora Mae arrives in Wyoming to visit her stepbrothers for a short time. When she arrives, she finds that Chance has become a hard, dangerous stranger who only sees a hated Tindale when he looks at her. Little does she know that he sees a beautiful red-head with bewitching curves that make it very difficult to be resistant to her.
He needn't worry that she wants to trap him into marriage. After a painful and harrowing experience with a man that her mother tries to force her to marry, Cora Mae has sworn never to marry. She just wants to feel a sense of family and home that she felt when she tagged along with Chance and Tucker as a girl.
Maverick Wild was an excellent book. It helped to cement my appreciation for Stacey Kayne as a western writer. It's not a copycat of her first book, Maverick Wild. The heroine and hero are different people with different motivations. Yet the elements that made her first novel appeal to me are there in spades: emotion, vivid descriptions of western life, good storytelling, and likable, appealing characters.
Cora Mae is not a rough and ready cowgirl like Skylar. She's more of a homemaker who is very happy knitting and crocheting, and baking goodies. She is a sturdy, curvaceous woman, who has been made to feel that she is unattractive. Although she is self-conscious after years of being put down by her mother, she has an inner strength and spunk that makes her a worthy opponent for Chance. She also has a sweetness and a kindness that makes everyone around her love her. Chance sees this in her, but is determined to resist the pull she has on him, at times showing a suspicious attitude towards her that is hurtful to Cora Mae.
Chance is definitely a western hero. He's very attractive in a hard, sexy way. He's tough and independent, but clearly loves his family and wants to protect them. Although he fights his attraction for Cora Mae fiercely, when he realizes how dangerous her plight is, he steps up to the plate to take measures to keep her safe, even if it means losing his freedom. Of course, deep down, the real reason is that he wants her to stay.
The chemistry between the characters is just as heady and appealing as it was in Mustang Wild, but there is also a poignancy as Cora Mae heals from her fears of men and opens her heart and mind to being loved by Chance.
If you would like to read a western that reinforces the joy of hearth and home, and features characters who are struggling to get over painful pasts to find a happy future, you will love this book. (less)
This book is a beautiful love story. Derek Craven is a self-made man who is not interested in love, and certainly not with a sheltered provincial spin...moreThis book is a beautiful love story. Derek Craven is a self-made man who is not interested in love, and certainly not with a sheltered provincial spinster like Sara. But when he falls for her, he falls hard. The beauty of this story is how deeply Derek comes to love Sara. Some of the things he says to her, and the way he shows his love move d me intensely when I read it, and still do, though it has been years since I read this book. And Sara is worthy of his love. She might be rather plain and certainly unfashionable, but she has a great mind and a beautiful heart. Derek is not a perfect guy. He's not smooth or urbane. He doesn't speak well because he grew up in the stews of London, but he's one of my all time favorite heroes, and certainly my favorite Lisa Kleypas hero. He earned this because of the fact that this man was so utterly affected by love for Sara, and how he cherishes her. And also due to the fact that he pulled himself up from the gutter and made something of himself. I love those kinds of heroes/heroines. This book is in my top 10 of romances easily.
This is a guardian/ward romance, and it's a little twisted, I suppose. I must confess that I always feel a little kinky for liking this book. Oh, well...moreThis is a guardian/ward romance, and it's a little twisted, I suppose. I must confess that I always feel a little kinky for liking this book. Oh, well. So this is how the story goes, Dinah came to live with Jason Devrel when her parents die. He sees her grow up, and plans to marry her when she gets old enough. In his mind, she is his. It doesn't even occur to him that she might want to move away and have her own life separate from him. I don't think Jason really realized that he fell in love with her as a child and the natural progression is to marry her as a woman. Dinah has feelings of hero worship and awe for her guardian, and it never occurs to her that he has marriage plans for him. In her mind, he's too far above her. When she has her coming of age party, she overhears women putting her down, and decides she doesn't want to live in the high class world that she doesn't fit in with her bookish nature, awkward looks, and her owl-eyed, glasses-wearing self. Jason comes in when she is packing and is livid that she is going to try to run away. For the first time in their relationship, he loses that cool, withdrawn demeanor that is typical for him. In his mind, she belongs to him. He shows her that physically. And Dinah is pretty traumatized. Afterwards, he feels remorse, but Dinah runs off.
The book actually starts a few months after this incident on Halloween night. Jason finds Dinah working in a department store. It turns out he got her pregnant. He convinces her to come back home, and to marry him so that his heir can be legitimate. He promises he will let her go when the baby is born.
This romance may not work for everyone. For one thing, it's a little kinky to seduce your guardian. And this book has rape, or forced seduction. It's not horribly done or wince-worthy to read. You really don't see anything, just that vague description that the older books give when there is a sensual moment.
Winspear doesn't write like modern writers. There is an old fashioned feel to her writing. The sensuality is very mild, and more suggestive than anything. The relationship develops slowly, and there's that whole paternalistic vibe in Jason's treatment of Dinah.
The reason why I like this book is because of the fact that Jason is a cold, withdrawn man who doesn't care about much of anything, but Dinah somehow comes into his lonely life and gives him life and inspires love in him. I really like romances where the hero is the one who's more in love than the heroine. He's not expecting to fall and love, but it hits him like a semi. And I must admit, there is something about the older Harlequin Presents that always gets to me. They are so dramatic and out there. I mean in real life, who has a rich guardian who's going to marry you when you come of age? Who gets a painter to come make a portrait of his wife? Only in the pages of a Harlequin Presents book.
It's one of those books where the heroine doesn't fall head over heels first. It takes her a while to realize that she does love Jason, and that love had been hidden in her heart because of their relationship, and also because of the very cold, standoffish demeanor that Jason has. Plus she's holding a grudge that he got her pregnant and now she has to be married to him until the baby is born. At first she isn't too keen on being pregnant, but then she realizes when has a fall that she really does want the baby. In a way, it's kind of refreshing to have a heroine who is reluctant to be a wife and mother. Not all women are instantly maternal and have dreams of happy wifedom.
While I don't defend what Jason did, and I thought Dinah was pretty immature and withdrawn, I like reading this book. The thing about fiction is that you don't always agree with what is done or what you read about, but at the same time, you can enjoy a book and get something out of reading it. This is one of those books. For that reason, it is a keeper for me.(less)
I quite enjoyed this book. Andrew is the type of hero I wish I saw more in romances. He's a complete nerd and a bit of a mad-scientist inventor thrown...moreI quite enjoyed this book. Andrew is the type of hero I wish I saw more in romances. He's a complete nerd and a bit of a mad-scientist inventor thrown in. He's a hot nerd, though, with a very sexy body and beautiful reddish hair. He sounded very very yummy to me, anyway. I loved the fiery chemistry between Andrew and Celsie. At first they thought it was mutual dislike but it turned out to be the beginning of a deep love. Although superficially they are different, there was a meeting of the minds, and a mutual respect that I believe a couple should have. I like that they were both misfits and felt like they would never be understood or accepted by society, although for different reasons.
Celsie is a tall, slender woman who feels like she's not very attractive, but Andrew definitely found her attractive from the beginning. Celsie supported Andrew's desire to invent, and Andrew supported Celsie's crusade to protect animals that few care about, such as cart horses, and dogs used to turn the spits that meat is roasted on. I could see some of myself in both of them. I am a bleeding heart and I love animals, and hate their unnecessary suffering. I am also a bit of a nerd who can get lost in the things running around my brain, like Andrew. Andrew's deep dark secret was a bit odd. I felt like more time could have been spent on wrapping that up. I don't want to spoil anyone so I won't go into detail about that.
Loved the aphrodesiac storyline. Imagine jumping someone's bones like Celsie did Andrew. That was funny and steamy. I loved glimpses of Lucian, the Duke of Blackheath, who schemes and connives to get his younger siblings married and settled. He's a great character, and I fell in love with him when I read The Wicked One, which is his book and the last in the series. It's interesting to see how things work out in this to start his relationship with Eva. They are definitely a match made in Heaven, or perhaps a place south of there.
I loved the Georgian setting, which is like Regency but a lot more wild and free-wheeling. Part of me wishes this book was about fifty pages longer so we could delve deeper into Andrew's abilities/curse, whatever you want to call it, and have a more leisurely climax. But overall, I am very happy with book and enjoyed it because it reminds me of the great historical romances I used to devour several years ago, and seem less in the offering recently. (less)
This is a beautiful and very underrated romance novel. I fell in love with the story from the first page. This was my first read by Emma Jensen, who d...moreThis is a beautiful and very underrated romance novel. I fell in love with the story from the first page. This was my first read by Emma Jensen, who doesn't write anymore. I could not be more saddened by that fact. A great talent has been lost to the literary world.
Entwined is the story of the relationship between Isobel, who is a tall, ungainly spinster with carrot red hair, and an unfashionably curvaceous body, and Nathan, Duke of Oriel, who was badly injured in the midst of his spy work for the government. He is now scarred and blinded. Instead of Nathan being a mean, embittered jerk as a result, he is a very wonderful man. He realizes very quickly what a jewel that Isobel is (in fact, he runs into her when she goes into his office to return money her drunken father stole, and is very captivated by her womanly physique). Although he hires her initially as his secretary and personal assistant (she is the only one who knows he's blind), he offers her marriage very soon afterwards. It was easy to fall in love with both of these characters because of their good hearts and unique personalities.
I have a weakness for less-than-perfect characters, so I was so glad that this book was listed on the All About Romance Special Title Listing for Beauty is in the Eye and also Less Than Perfect. I made a note to grab this at the used bookstore, and I am so glad I did. If you are a reader who loves a good marriage of convenience book where two people come together for a common purpose, and initially are not in love, but fall deeply for each other and find togetherness and a wonderful future, you would love this book. There are no big misunderstandings or foolishness. There is a spy plot, but the relationship between Nathan and Isobel is what captured and kept my interest. They face the world as a team, and it's so wonderful how deeply Nathan and Isobel care for each other and take care of each other. The term 'help-mate' is wonderfully exemplified by this couple in this novel.
It's been a while since I read this book (and I really should pull it out for a reread), but I really love this story, and I consider it a favorite out of the many historical romances I've read. It might be hard to find, but it is definitely worth the read.(less)
**spoiler alert** Having read The Sheikh's Bartered Bride by Lucy Monroe, I was eager to read another sheikh book by her. I started this book and it k...more**spoiler alert** Having read The Sheikh's Bartered Bride by Lucy Monroe, I was eager to read another sheikh book by her. I started this book and it kept mentioning an older brother who lived with his wife prior to marriage, and so I was thinking he must have a book also. So my gaze focused on the short story collection Hot Deserts Nights with a Lucy Monroe story, and sure enough, it was about Khalil and Jade called Mistress to a Sheikh. So I took a break and read this story first to get a frame of reference. Then I jumped back into Hired: The Sheikh's Secretary Mistress. I enjoyed this book, but I had a couple of issues with it. For one, I thought the heroine Grace was a little too self-deprecating. Yes, I know she was slender and shy and didn't think much of her looks, but I didn't like how high she put the hero Amir on a pedestal above her. I wish she had a little more self-worth. Don't get me wrong, I love the shy, unassuming, plain Jane heroines, but I like the ones with a little more spark and self-love. It is clear that she has always been shy and in the background, so I guess it makes sense that she would be so down on herself. But it bothered me. She was a very capable person and she wasn't ugly. But she had this opinion like she was worthless other than her skills as a PA. Even as a shy sibling in a large family, I am sure that Grace's parents showed her enough love to know that wasn't true. I was about to get disgusted when she goes to get a makeover to get Amir to see that she was a worthwhile bride candidate, when he had propositioned her in a prior scene. Obviously he liked her already. For some reason, makeovers in romances rub me the wrong way. I don't mind if the heroine never got to spend time on herself and does go and do that, but when she feels like she needs to change herself to make herself more acceptable, that bugs me. The only thing that saved it for me was that a) the hero said she looked great before and didn't all of a sudden notice her just because she got her hair fixed and wore more revealing clothes. I know men are that shallow in real life, but I don't like shallow heroes in the books I read. b) It was made clear that she had possessed inner beauty before and was just bringing out the real her. Okay, if you insist. The other thing that bugged me about this book was the hero's insistence on not allowing himself to care for Grace in a meaningful way. He had loads of girlfriends, and paraded them in front of Grace, getting her to shop for gifts for them. That was rather unfeeling of him, as he knew that she was attracted to him, if not in love with him. I think he should have tried to be more discreet in this case. And to compound matters, he asks Grace to make a list of suitable bride candidates for him. How callous is that? In his mind, he thought he was doing the right thing because he cared for Grace and loved her as a friend, but knew he couldn't allow himself to love his wife since he had loved and lost his first fiancee when she did. Okay, I understand your fiancee died, but you were eighteen years old. Get over it. And then he decides he's going to have a sexual relationship with Grace but still not marry her, knowing that she's a virgin, but not marry her. That's really lowdown. I admit that I am old fashioned. I like heroes who do care for the heroine and do have honorable intentions. I don't mind if they seduce the heroine into marriage, or seduce her with the intention of marrying her for certain. But I hate when the hero seduces a heroine just for a sexual relationship and has no intention of a permanent relationship (marriage). That's my issue and so I was annoyed at Amir's behavior. He confides his intentions to his older brother, Zahir, who is a confidant for him. Zahir seems to see that he has feelings for Grace that he isn't owning up to, and doesn't tell him that he's being a selfish jerk, probably because he thinks it will lead to him marrying Grace. And Grace just falls in with his plans, because she loves him. It bothers me in some of these romances that the heroine loves the hero so much she'll throw away her self-respect and negate her own self-love. Personally I don't want anyone to love me to this degree. You should love others as you love yourself, so obviously caring about yourself and having self-esteem is important. I guess I'm a masochist. I read these books because they inspire strong emotions in me. Well this one definitely did inspire strong emotions. So I will keep this book and possibly reread it, because it was well-written, but I can't help feeling aggravated with the heroine and the hero for their attitudes. Frankly I wish that Grace had told Amir to kiss her anatomy where the sun doesn't shine. Maybe he would have got a clue earlier. Hopefully Zahir will be a lot more gallant than his brothers and not act so dishonorably towards his woman like his brothers did.(less)
This is my favorite book of all time (well, tied with Jane Eyre). Great hero, heroine, story, humor, romance, angst. Perfect except I didn't want it t...moreThis is my favorite book of all time (well, tied with Jane Eyre). Great hero, heroine, story, humor, romance, angst. Perfect except I didn't want it to end.
I fell in love with Dain from the moment of his birth. He was an ugly baby, loved only by his dearest mother, who was taken away from him. He was horribly treated by others growing up because of his half-Italian heritage and his large nose and ungainly features. Not knowing love, he felt he was unworthy of being loved. As an adult, he lived a life of selfish pleasure, spending his time with women who he could pay for his pleasure, thinking no woman would want him voluntarily. How could I not want to know and fall in love with a hero who is so tortured?
Enter Jessica, the best heroine ever written (other than Jane Eyre). She is ruthlessly intelligent, and knows just how to handle Dain. And she pretty much loves him the first time she sees him. Although others think he is ugly, he is perfect to her. There's a statement made by Jessica where she thinks or says she cannot resist him, and he is baffled that she would feel that way, used to being considered ugly as sin. I am like Jessica. To me, Dain is gorgeous.
The chemistry between Dain and Jessica is better than any other book I've read, and I've read a lot. I've read books that were much more sexually explicit. The love scenes are not at all descriptive in this book. But they are incredibly effective, because of the passion between Jessica and Dain, and the deep caring and love they feel for each other. She knows of his flaws, but cares about him anyway, although she doesn't let him get away with anything. She even shoots him when he compromises her in the eyes of the ton but doesn't offer marriage. How cool is that? Dain cannot resist her, even knowing that she is much too good for him, and will change his life irrevocably.
The scenes between Dain and Jessica are so delicious, it's like eating a banana split with a cheesecake chaser. And I have read few books that could manage poignancy and humor so well. There are scenes that make me cry every time I read them. Yet other scenes cause the biggest smile to spread over my face. One of my many favorite scenes is when Dain acknowledges his illegitimate son, knowing he loves him, even though he is just as ugly as Dain was as a child, and is filthy and covered in vomit. My heart wept, and tears flowed from my eyes.
At the end of the day, it's really hard to describe why I love this book so much. But I do. I have absolutely no reservations in saying, this is my favorite book of all time (or at least tied with Jane Eyre for favorite, which is nothing to sneeze at). If I ever meet Loretta Chase, I will thank her from the bottom of my heart for writing this book that has so enriched my life.(less)
The Raven Prince was a sweet, sensual, delectable book that I've had sitting on my tbr pile for years now! In a way, I don't regret that, because I re...moreThe Raven Prince was a sweet, sensual, delectable book that I've had sitting on my tbr pile for years now! In a way, I don't regret that, because I read it at the right time. This lovely story took what could have been dark and melancholy subject matter, and made something upbeat and whimsical, yet no less moving.
Anna and Edward are characters that get shoved into closets and overlooked when it comes to romance novels. They are both over thirty. Neither is drop-dead-gorgeous. Neither are shining diamonds of the ton (who usually bore me to tears anyway). Neither is especially wonderful to the world--except for me. I prefer reading about the misfits, the 'ugly ducklings' and 'raven princes'. I liked the fact that although both Anna and Edward have had some very tragic, lonely times in their lives, neither of them are particularly whiny about it. They have moved on to live their lives, even though deep down, they hoped for better. Anna was married for years to a man who made her feel inadequate because she never conceived, even going so far as to cheat on her. When he dies, she settles into widowhood, supporting her mother-in-law on his dwindling investments. In fact, she reminded me of the story of Ruth and Naomi from the Bible in how she cared for her mother-in-law and loved her. The time comes for her to get a position, and there are few to come by in Little Battleford. However, the mysterious Earl of Swartingham needs a secretary, and his estate manager, Hopple, is desperate enough to hire a woman.
When the two meet, there is a connection. Not exactly love at first sight, but something that develops into much more than what an Earl should feel for his secretary. I liked that both Edward and Anna looked past the superficial to what mattered in life. Anna saw Edward's smallpox scars, but more importantly, she saw a strong, beautiful man, even if he was a bit surly. Edward saw a vivid, attractive women although she had a plain face to the rest of the world. He liked being around her, talking to her, being with her. He liked her for who she truly was, giving her an acceptance her deceased husband had denied her.
Ms. Hoyt managed to take some aspects that wouldn't have appealed to me and to build a lovely romance. In theory, I didn't like the idea of Anna meeting Edward in Aphrodite's Grotto, pretending to be a lady of pleasure. I hate the idea of prostitution, and I especially hate when the hero in a romance book that I am reading goes to a brothel. What Ms. Hoyt did here was pretty cool. If she was going to have Edward go to a brothel to deal with his unseemly, lustful urges for his secretary, why not have his secretary be the woman he slakes those urges on? Those love scene were very well-written and "fan-yourself-now" steamy.
Anna discovers passion for the first time, and has to pay the price of passion--the knowledge that it is gained without knowing she is loved by the man she is with. Edward enjoys his time with the mystery woman, but his mind always goes back to Anna. Why does she come to mind when he's with this other woman? How can he feel such passion for her when his mind is fixated on Anna?
I liked how Ms. Hoyt deals with the double standard that society holds to regarding prostitution. A woman is the one who is sullied, but men are just doing what comes naturally. It drives me crazy! Anna helps a sick prostitute and has to deal with a bit of social stigma because of it, because that woman is dirty and beneath her. I was glad she was brave enough to do what was right, showing what a 'good woman' truly is. I do have to say I didn't like some of the double standards that Edward showed. His anger at finding out Anna was his mystery woman, and the way he put her on the "pure, innocent" pedestal, but had no problem slaking his urge on the professional woman who he always called whores. It's just my personal issue with the subject. I hate prostitution, but I hate it because I don't think a woman should have to use her body that way. Even moreso, I hate the hypocrisy of society when it comes to prostitutes. They didn't get 'sullied' by themselves. So, I particularly liked when Anna tells Edward off when he lectures her for taking in the sick prostitute, Pearl. The way I look at it, the oldest profession would go out of business if people didn't pay for sex, so it goes both ways for me, with a higher burden put on people who pay for sex. Anyhoo, societal rant aside...back to review.
I liked the subtle humor here, a light touch that brightened this story and kept it from being too melancholy. As much as I like angst, sometimes it's nice to have a fun read that's also deep and manages to move me at the same time.
I don't think I have much more to say here. I really enjoyed this book. I liked Ms. Hoyt's ability to write clearly, beautifully, but never floridly. She captures the Georgian era, but isn't heavy-handed about it. I knew I was reading a historical romance, and I believed in the setting. I definitely want to read more of her books (good thing I have been accumulating almost all of them over these few years). The elegant simplicity of her prose made this a swift and enjoyable read. This was historical romance that was enjoyable from beginning to end--I never felt the plot drag or my attention start to wane with this book. Although some of their moments of blindly holding on to misconceptions and fruitless determinations frustrated me, I never lost respect or liking for Anna and Edward. I could see that they had built barriers to love out of fear of heartbreak, and to keep themselves safe from further loss. Because I felt like I knew and cared for them, I found their passion very hot, but it also was a sweet, deep love story, so it satisfied me on both levels. In fact, I loved the characters for all their imperfections; I felt that they were normal, relatable people who deserved a happy ending. I was glad I got to see them get their happy day in this book.
Thanks to my Secret Santa Julie for selecting this book as one of my Christmas presents to read for the Lisa Kleypas group!(less)
There is so much to love about this story. Baroness Lorelei Winters is used to being made fun of and ridiculed by the Ton for her red hair, her tall,...moreThere is so much to love about this story. Baroness Lorelei Winters is used to being made fun of and ridiculed by the Ton for her red hair, her tall, abundant body (certainly not fashionably thin), and her outspokenness. Enter Adrian, Viscount Dane, mild-mannered, but upstart American who has just inherited a title. Their eyes meet across the room, and Adrian knows that he's found the woman of his dreams. I loved it. He declares his affections for her in front of all the people who had made fun of her, and proceeds to pursue her until she agrees to marry him. Although Adrian needs to marry, he is 100% sincere in his admiration and attraction to Lorelei. If he's going to marry, it will be this marveous Goddess in his eyes.
This book doesn't have the misunderstandings and the breakups that never fail to frustrate me in otherwise good romance novels. It's about the development of a marriage of two people who are deeply drawn to each other but have lessons to learn. I loved the wedding night scene and all the other love scenes. They aren't explicit at all, but the passion is there in spades, giving them a sensual, and meaningful feel. Just perfect for this story. You see that both Lorelei and Adrian have some adjustments to make in being married. Lorelei is used to being independent and has to learn to integrate a husband into her life. Adrian has to learn how to have a wife who will always be independent and outspoken. And then there's the fact that technically Adrian is on the enemy side of the brewing war between England and America (The War of 1812).
I liked that Adrian's gentle support and adoration of Lorelei allowed her to open up and become more vulnerable in a good way. I liked that Lorelei reciprocates Adrian's feelings, although she doesn't quite understand what he thinks is so wonderful about her. I admired Lorelei's strength and intelligence, and her warm nature that she had despite being treated so badly. I liked that she wasn't ugly in her behavior or prickly towards Adrian because of fears and her feelings of being unwanted and rejected.
Ms. Byron did a great job of not allowing Lorelei's size to be the elephant in the room. It was a part of her that Adrian accepted and appreciated about Lorelei just like everything else. There is one scene where he tries to pick her up and carry her and he throws his back out. It was a great scene because it showed that just because a hero can't pick you up and carry you because you aren't dainty doesn't mean that he can't find you desirable and adore you just as much. I know I've read enough romances to wonder about whether there are cases where a man can't carry the woman because of her weight.
It was a lovely book to read. I loved it so much, I 'pimped' it out three of my online bookfriends who lived overseas. I found copies at the used bookstore and mailed them out to my friends.
I had never heard of Eve Byron before I read this book. After reading it, I bought every book she wrote that I could find. She is a solid author, but this book is definitely my favorite by her. She definitely made a fan of me with this wonderful book.(less)