I'm really enjoying Jeffries' Hellions of Halstead series. This latest installment was different in that the lady didn't want to be married, but the g...moreI'm really enjoying Jeffries' Hellions of Halstead series. This latest installment was different in that the lady didn't want to be married, but the gentleman did. I always love stories where the reluctant heroine needs to be wooed into a relationship by the besotted man.
Minerva Sharpe has wanted Giles for a long time, but he sees her as a child. Not only was she too young for him, but her older brothers made it clear she was off limits to the likes of him. Until her 19th birthday when they shared a kiss - one that rocked Giles and Minerva both. Determined to save her from himself, Giles says some nasty things to her. As a result, Minerva creates a villain in her novels based on Giles.
The problem is she uses real-life situations and since Giles really is a government agent, he needs her to stop before other people realize she's writing about him and get suspicious. The best way to make that happen? Marry her. The fact that he's in need of a wife, truly enjoys Minerva's company, and finds her extremely attractive is just icing on the cake. But of course he needs to convince her...
Minerva has seen what marriage can to do a person and knows it isn't for her. She's perfectly content to remain alone for the rest of her days, being the favorite aunt and writing novels. She doesn't want a husband who will dictate her life, or stop her from doing the things she loves. Giles is an enigma to her. She's vowed to hate him, but he makes it very difficult to stay angry with him. He seems to genuinely care for her, yet she knows that can't be so. Can it?
Giles was a bit of a surprise. Though it was alluded to in previous novels that he had more substance than we saw, it was still a shock to see him as an upstanding barrister rather than a playboy. He had a reputation as a wild man-about-town who gambled too much and spent a lot of time with the opposite sex. That wasn't truly who he was, he only played it up to keep his cover for his government work. Proving it to Minerva was difficult, but he persevered. It was good to see that his reputation wasn't just brushed aside. That was a major sticking point with Minerva and she didn't let him off the hook about it easily. At the same time, it was easy to see he cared for her and wanted to see her happy. I'm a sap for a man who truly wants his woman to be happy, even if that means making sacrifices in his own life to see it happen.
Minerva had every reason to want to remain single. She had a means to support herself through her writing and she'd have her freedom. She didn't expect Giles to intrigue her as much as he did. Though she was reluctant to enter into a marriage with him, she still took the time to get to know him. I liked that she didn't judge him solely on his past behavior, but agreed to consider the man he was when he was with her.
Giles' lack of trust in Minerva began to grate after awhile. It was understandable that he was concerned with what she'd put in her books early in the story, but as their relationship progressed and he came to know her better I thought that was a weak argument on his part. Similarly I was disappointed with the way Minerva brushed it aside as fairly minor once she found out. That should have been the major problem between them, not a minor side-issue.
That aside, this was a well told love story. I really enjoyed both Giles and Minerva as well as the full cast of secondary characters. With each story, the series just gets better.
This was a delightful historical read that was super easy to fall into. I was expecting great big fireworks and while I didn't get them, I was still s...moreThis was a delightful historical read that was super easy to fall into. I was expecting great big fireworks and while I didn't get them, I was still satisfied with my reading experience. Getting three fantabulous historical authors to get together and write a book is always filled with awesome and this book wasn't an exception.
This book follows the adventures at a country house party where the hostess is hopeful that she'll find a wife for her horse loving brother...and how she keeps striking out until her brother takes things into his own hands and finds himself the girl he's always wanted.
Hugh Dunne, Earl of Briarly is ready to take a wife and being the sensible man that he is, he finds that he needs help trying to find a wife so he goes to his sister for help. What kind of help does he want? He wants her to make a list of suitable young ladies that he might woo into becoming the next lady of his house. After she finishes laughing her tush off, she decides to throw a party after the Season has ended to bring some eligible misses to Hugh's attention.
It's at this party where all the magic happens...and there's a lot of magic. Six people are thrown together at this party and they couple up and find their happy endings and each couple gets their story told by each of the authors that penned this book.
Julia Quinn's addition to this book was told first and was told in true Quinn fashion. It was filled with laugh out loud scenes and characters that I totally connected with. Not that I connected with Alec's sister, Octavia. I wanted to choke her the hell out but Alec and Gwendolyn made up for Octavia's selfish and totally immature self. Alec was one of those heroes that keeps you giggling like a school girl and Gwendolyn was one of those heroines that you wanted to be your friend. Their story was extremely short but still enjoyable.
Connie Brockway's story came next and Neill Oakes and Katherine Peyton's story was my favorite story of the bunch. I loved their whole childhood crushes turned into true adult love. Their whole journey started long before the party started but the way that these two came together made for such a romantic story that I totally ate up. I loved me some Neill, wanted him for myself and Katherine was a great heroine, perfect for Neill and all that jazz. I loved watching these two find each other again after all this time and I loved how crazy in love Neill was with Katherine...when we find out what really happens all those years ago, my heart totally sighed that they came full circle and made things right. Loved it!
Lastly, Eloisa James brings Hugh his happy ending. The way that she just rounds this up made me one happy camper because I was hoping that he'd end up with the woman that he did end up with. I was a fan of them both and I laughed when Hugh was seen with dirt smudged on his face and I loved that Georgie loved him horns and all. Hugh was not your normal Earl, he loved working with horses and he did. He had plenty of people to do the work for him but he loved being out there, getting dirty and taming those wild horses and training them up. He was good at it too and it would have been a shame if he got stuck with a woman who couldn't accept his wild nature. I loved the way that Hugh and Georgie came together, I enjoyed their story and it rounded this book out and made it all work.
Overall, this book was great. It had a lot of good stuff in it and my only complaint was that each story was so short that it left me wanting more but I can't complain too much because I did enjoy getting to know all of the characters and I did enjoy their stories, I just wish there was more of it. I'm a greedy wench, I know this. =)
Tess is quite shocked when she runs into the new owner of the garage in the village she lives in and discovers that he’s the spitting image of her bro...moreTess is quite shocked when she runs into the new owner of the garage in the village she lives in and discovers that he’s the spitting image of her brother-in-law. She knows that he has to be closely related to Montgomery, who her sister Pippa married not two months earlier, but she’s hesitant to tell John that she knows where he came from because she’s afraid he’ll bolt.
John is immediately taken with Tess’s looks and when he gets to know her he likes her even more. But John is afraid to get to close to Tess for fear that she’ll figure out something is amiss with him. She is, after all, an expert in medieval times. John, however, can’t seem to keep himself away from Tess, though, especially after he begins to believe that someone is stalking both of them. He’s determined to protect Tess, his feelings for Tess as well as his secret no matter what it takes.
This one started off really great for me. The budding romance between John and Tess was so great - very sweet and a bit hesitant but it really made my romantic heart go pitter-patter. John was not afraid to speak his mind to Tess and let her know that he wasn’t sure it was a good idea for them to be together but he couldn’t stop himself from coming by her castle, calling her and saying some of the sweetest darned things to her. He was really wonderful and they were a good couple.
My problem started when the pair accidentally went back in time to the 13th century. The romance was kind of put on hold for the sake of John’s family reunion and while that was all right for a while and the reunions were touching it was just disappointing that the wonderfulness of the first part of the book didn’t continue. Oh, sure, there were a few times that the couple escaped the family to steal a few moments together but with the boundaries of propriety that they were now thrust in to those moments were few and far between.
So while I loved the first part of the book the second half wasn’t as good for me, unfortunately. Still a good book and an enjoyable read.
Caroline had one experience with Sir Grant Dunsmore when he kidnapped her but she seemed to bond with him in some strange way. Since that time, 4 year...moreCaroline had one experience with Sir Grant Dunsmore when he kidnapped her but she seemed to bond with him in some strange way. Since that time, 4 years, she’s not been able to get the man out of her head. Telling herself that she’s going to see him on his desolate island to see a book, when she’s really going to see him, she heads off to his island home. But when she gets there things are not as she thought they would be. There are rumors of ghosts in his castle and the townspeople are more than scared of their Lord.
Grant is not happy to see Caroline as he’s expecting “guests” soon and he didn’t want her there when they arrived. But deep down he’s thrilled that she’s there as Grant couldn’t stop thinking about Caroline while they were parted. Their eventual coming together is quite engrossing and a bit magical and they both find themselves falling hard for each other.
But Grant is involved in something that he can’t involve Caroline in and when danger comes knocking at his door he needs to get Caroline to safety.
Like book two I really liked the setting for this story. I think the desolation and isolation of Muirin Inish had just the right feel for these two very different characters to find what they were looking for in each other.
Unfortunately the story itself, besides the romance, fell a little short for me. Though there was quite a lot going on in the story at any given moment it just didn’t have a great pace to it and I felt my mind wandering while I read and that’s never a good thing. I know that the slower parts of the book were meant to have Grant and Caroline get to know each other better but they just weren’t enough at times.
In the end the story was pretty good and I do feel like I want to go back and read book 1, which I haven’t done yet and see how it all began. If you love a good romance with lots of Irish history involved then this one would be great for you.
The three previous novels in this series have introduced a panoply of characters that continue to play an important role in each succeeding novel. Fir...moreThe three previous novels in this series have introduced a panoply of characters that continue to play an important role in each succeeding novel. First and foremost, the women of The Rarest Bloom are each one, in their own right, the heroines of their own stories. All are women with a past, a euphemism often used in that historical time period for either a woman of questionable morality, or who had become disgraced by unwise social practices of one sort or another. Some were haunted by evils perpetrated against them by others, while others were hiding from spouses or relatives seeking to do them harm. Some were both haunted and hunted. Daphne Joyes has her own secrets and has opened her home to these women for whom society has no place. All of them together have entered into the flower business which brings in sufficient income to maintain their home and provide for their needs. It is a household free of men--at least that has been the case in the past until the Duke of Castleford shows up to examine the property which has been bequeathed to him by Daphne's former landlord. Being a distant relative of the now deceased landlord, Castleford assumes that the property was important because the tenant was one of the old duke's "soiled doves." He couldn't be more wrong, but Castleford, instantly desiring Daphne, determines that she is now fair game for him.
And so the romp begins . . . and Daphne is pulled into the machinations of Castleford, but she is no fool, either. Their encounters are full of humor and sexual tension, their attempts to outwit one another fascinating and in many ways endearing, their attraction growing and on Daphne's part it is unwanted on some levels but compelling in others. Castleford is enthralled with her but his behavior puzzles his friends because he appears to be changing the way he lives--something he has never, ever done before for an object of his lusts. Wanting to see how all this was resolved had me rushing from one page to the next. And then their Latham, a man who has been Castleford's best friend in the past and who is now the object of his derision, a man who has some hidden participation in Daphne's past and for whom she has only loathing. When no other aspect of their growing relationship seems to be bringing Daphne and Castleford together successfully, their mutual hatred of Latham appears to the one thing on which there is no disagreement. And Castleford comes to believe that Daphne, naked and clothed only in a king's ransom's worth of diamonds is a dangerous woman indeed.
This is a truly enticing historical romance, full of wit and winsome love scenes, characters that almost jump off the pages, and filled with the tidbits of living in this historical period which make such novels so interesting for historical romance fans. Hunter keeps the pressure on, keeps the reader involved in the story to such a degree that it was painful when I had to put the book down to go pick up a grandchild from school or take a granddaughter to her martial arts lesson. When I got home, I was back in my room with my nose in the book and it didn't come out until I was done. It was somewhat of a miracle that hubby got his dinner! It was delightful to become re-acquainted with characters that had populated the previous novels in this series, to read how their relationships were evolving sort of as an epilogue to their stories, and to find them to be continuing their involvement with The Rarest Bloom. All in all, it is one of those books that I set aside to go back and re-read, revisiting characters that have become friends, and taking the time to savor the story, more the second time since I know how it all comes out but enjoying the way it plays out just the same.
I think historical romance fans will enjoy this book alot, and Hunter fans will not be disappointed. I give this book a rating of 4.5 out of 5.
When Lady Isobel’s husband died his will stated that she had to keep her reputation spotless at all times or her son, the current Earl would be taken...moreWhen Lady Isobel’s husband died his will stated that she had to keep her reputation spotless at all times or her son, the current Earl would be taken from her permanently by his brother and mother. It also gave all control of her money and properties to her in-laws. Isobel is miserable and wants nothing more to be as far from her in-laws as possible but for the sake of her son she stays and deals with the humiliation that is piled on her regularly.
One night at a masked ball she breaks through her invisible bonds and not only flirts with the Marquess of Blackwood, and a known rake, but ends up having sex with him. He is smitten by the masked lady and though he introduces himself she does not, only giving him a fake name. Even though they meet as Countess and Marquess later he doesn’t see beyond the dowdy clothes and hairstyle she is forced to wear to recognize her as his secret lover.
The Marquess isn’t who he says he is either. He acts the rake but really wants nothing more than to live a quiet life. He’s a spy for the crown and his brother-in-law is the slave driver that keeps him in the business when he wants to leave. When the Marquess finally figures out that Isobel is his secret lover he doesn’t know if she’s hiding more than her identity. He thinks she may be hiding the fact that she’s a smuggler and a traitor to king and country.
I think there were things about each of the main characters that I liked and disliked. I liked Isobel and her love for her son and her willingness to suffer her in-laws for him, but I found it strange that she would take a chance like having a secret liaison with a man in a garden, at a ball, where she could have been caught by anyone, quite strange. She knew what would happen yet did it anyway. I really could understand her wanting to break free, I could, but knowing the consequences made me look at things a little differently.
I also liked Phineas, the Marquess as well. He seemed like such a strong character but then he wouldn’t stand up to his brother-in-law until the end. I really would have liked for him to been a little more forthright in his dealings with Adam (who I really didn’t care for at all).
Isobel’s brother-in-law and mother-in-law were nasty people. I didn’t like them at all and that was a good thing. I like when an author makes people truly evil – because if I really hate them it means that they were written well. lol
I have to say that the first two chapters of the book really had my attention and I wanted nothing more than to get back to the book when forced to put it down. However as the book went on I was less enthralled with it. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good book but it just lacked that umph that the first two chapters had given me. I do look forward to reading more from Ms. Cornwall when future books are released.
The hysteria of the Salem witch trials has spread throughout the world. Women who are accused or even suspected of being a witch are rounded up and in...moreThe hysteria of the Salem witch trials has spread throughout the world. Women who are accused or even suspected of being a witch are rounded up and incarcerated. Shea's aunt was convicted and burned at the stake in a public spectacle. Since then, Shea's been on the run from her past, hiding who and what she is from both the world and herself. But it all goes to hell in a handbasket when she zaps a guy trying to rob her. A mob gathers, ready to kill her on the spot when a stranger shows up, envelops her in fire and flashes her away, saving her life.
Torin, her savior, claims to be her Eternal, destined to love her, protect her, and be with her forever. And he wants to mate (yes, he uses the word "mate") with her almost immediately. When I got to that part, I felt my eyes roll and breathed out a heavy sigh of disappointment. Really? Another story where there's an instant connection because their love is destined? Another one where the guy is pushing this whole insta-love thing and the girl's protesting the whole time until, of course, she falls in love and then falls into his arms?
But wait! With this story, there's a twist—Torin and Shea have actually known each other for hundreds of years. It's not insta-love; it's a love that's lasted despite Shea's multiple reincarnations, despite her not remembering Torin until the Awakening of all the witches of the coven, happening in this lifetime. Being an immortal, Torin could only watch and wait for his witch to remember him and return to him. Ah, now that…that works.
Once Shea starts to remember, she not only remembers him and their love but the terrible thing she and her coven did for power as well as what they had to do to fix it. It's the reason her whole coven of witches had to forget and live without power for hundreds of years and why she has to trust Torin or fail at the task she must complete to help right the wrong.
Okay, back to the whole mating thing. Turns out that it's a month-long affair of lust and copulation which will then bind the two of them together, making both of them stronger and giving Torin a soul. A month of hot, steamy, do-it-anywhere-anytime sex. Even while they're being hunted by people who want them for a variety of purposes (including the President, who wants Shea as the face of change and acceptance of witches and an evil scientist who wants the witches' power for himself), they're ready to jump each other at the drop of a hat. Um, don't you all have a task to complete? Magic to learn? Spells to remember? Witches to save? Hot sex will only get you so far, people. Back to the plot, please.
Because there's so much time spent mating and becoming one, the ending, which could have been totally kick-ass, what with the task and a magical foe trying to stop them, felt really rushed, which was kind of disappointing. There's a ton of set up for the rest of the series (we never find out exactly how many witches were in this coven but it seems they each have their own Eternal and their own task to complete), which also leaves a lot of loose ends flapping in the wind. However, the potential for a really good series is there, and I'm definitely going to check out the next book to see how it all develops.
If there is one quality of a historical romance that keeps me glued to the page it is the presence of two unlikely main characters who, because of soc...moreIf there is one quality of a historical romance that keeps me glued to the page it is the presence of two unlikely main characters who, because of social station or circumstance or personal differences, are adversarial to begin with but manage to find some common ground that moves their story along. So it is with this new novel about those intrepid ladies of Spindle Cove, all of whom really do march to the beat of their own drummer and who have given society an "up yours" by banding together in this out-of-the-way location. Colin, Lord Payne, is pulling in exactly the opposite direction. Now he isn't the sort that is dying to conform, not by a long shot. He just wants to be away from this back water, lost in the fogs of rural England kind of place so that he can kick up his heels in his own fashion. He has an eye for a pretty feminine ankle, but there aren't many in this little place that interest him, if any. No, he just wants to be gone!
But Minerva Highwood plants herself in from of Colin with a proposal that just might get him out of Spindle Cove, even if he does have to pretend to be a fiance or whatever. She's a woman who thinks little about herself or even of herself, a woman who is bent on being the best paleontologist she can be and with few other interests other than keeping Colin from offering for her sister--the pretty one in the family.
This is a novel that is another fine work from an author who respects the intelligence of the reader, who knows how to right the wit and color of that historical period without losing sight of either the story or the people involved, who knows instinctively that the reader will "catch" the subtleties and appreciate the complexities of a story within a story within a story. She has also given readers a heroine who is smart enough to fool even England's premier scientists and to make her mark within that snobby, chauvinistic community because they don't know that one of their rising stars is a woman. At the core of this story is the journey of discovery that both Minerva and Colin must traverse--she must discover not only her marvelous brain and how to exercise her intelligence within a repressive society; he must discover that he does indeed have a heart, a conscience, and the ability to love someone other than himself, to move beyond the hurts and inner barriers to being the man he really wants to be. It is these discoveries that Minerva and Colin make as they must endure not only the constraints of their supposed betrothal, but each must find the inner fortitude to meet some very challenging occurrences as they travel. Perhaps the greatest joy of this novel is watching these two learn that the most sterling quality of real love--the real thing--is that deep and abiding desire to think of the loved one before one's self. Funny how that changes people, eh? It certainly did these two.
Tessa Dare has given romance fiction lovers some wonderful books and that gift continues in this novel. It's just a wonderful read, and I don't think anyone who picks up this book will come away from the experience with anything but admiration for both the author and for the characters that have taken up residence in our minds and, if I might assert strongly, in our hearts. The book is full of wit and the dialogue throughout is a feast for those who love the use of language which sets apart authors who really know their craft. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Please don't miss it!
This second novel in the "Royal Entourage" series features characters who are a part of the close inner circle of the Prince Regent of England, a man...moreThis second novel in the "Royal Entourage" series features characters who are a part of the close inner circle of the Prince Regent of England, a man who lived "high on the hog" and whose excesses are the stuff of historic legend. Unlike many historical romance novels, "Prinny" as he was called is an active character. His close friends have really screwed up this time--a bachelor party for one of the highest ranking dukes was so out of bounds and actually destructive that the unwashed masses in England (as they were often characterized) have finally had their fill. As a means of reclaiming any modicum of his people's loyalty, Prinny has decreed that his circle are ALL going to be married and being living staid and proper lives with wife and babies and such. Here the Duke of Norwich, best friend to the Duke of Kress (who is a main character in the first novel) has disappeared as far as his chums are concerned. Actually he ended up on a passenger ship bound for the Continent and he is scared spitless. A long held and well-known curse rests on his family and he just knows he is going to die by drowning. Thus he has determined that he will never marry and the line of succession will end with him. Obviously, someone of the female persuasion has a different idea as she has determined that the duke is going to be around for awhile. If that were not the case, we wouldn't have a story, would we?
This is a truly fun novel and lovers of historical fiction will find lots here that will please. The heroine is a woman of strong will and self-determination. She is a widow and she knows what she wants and it is, first and foremost, her own independence. That is, until she offers "comfort" to the duke while they are caught in a storm that could have easily sunk their ship and ended their lives. Out of this sexual encounter comes the necessity of a marriage--of convenience, to be sure, but a marriage that the duke is determined will never produce an heir. The new duchess is an artist of note and while she wants to proceed with her original plans to tour distant lands and their artistic treasures and museums, she has developed a "connection" or perhaps it is safe to say a sense of affection for her erstwhile husband, even though they have agreed that they will lead separate lives. In this case, that agreement appears to be in trouble.
This is another fine novel from a writer that has given romance lovers some fine novels and this book will not disappoint. The two main characters are people of the kind that we would probably love knowing, in spite of their aristocratic station. They have set goals for their lives, want to live productively rather than while away their days playing, and feel a deep sense of responsibility for the families who depend on them for their livelihood and future prosperity. The duke is a man who also has an artistic bent but it has been ridiculed out of him by a hard and unloving father. Yet he uses his talents to develop a new method of bring fresh water to the citizens of London. In the midst of their strange relationship is the knowledge that the Prince Regent's popularity is nil and the Duke of Norwich's marriage is still a well-kept secret--on the command of Prinny himself. So there is political stuff here, romance of a rather strange nature, and two people who have difficulty coming to terms with the situation in which they find themselves.
Good reading, people, and the kind of historical romance I really enjoy. There is so much humor here--the dialogue in general is witty with the exchanges between the main characters especially fine. Yes, their circumstance is serious but underneath it all is that sense of fun and humor that makes it a delightful book to enjoy and one that will entertain from page one. I don't think you'll want to miss this one. It will be especially good to have read book one in this series although both are stand alone novels. The two stories really do enhance one another.
Mark and Rainey have history. She had a crush on him growing up, but he always thought of her as nothing more than his best friend's baby sister.She h...moreMark and Rainey have history. She had a crush on him growing up, but he always thought of her as nothing more than his best friend's baby sister.She humiliated herself trying to get his attention one night in high school and they haven't spoken since.
Mark is now a NHL coach and Rainey is the program coordinator for the local rec center. When some of his players get in trouble, he sentences them to spend their vacation time helping out at the center coaching softball. Which means Mark and Rainey have to work very closely together. Now that Rainey is all grown up, Mark is looking forward to getting to know her on a more personal level. Rainey hasn't forgotten how humiliated she felt back in the day, and she has no intention of throwing herself at Mark now. Especially since he'll be leaving as soon as his community service project is done.
Mark was seriously hot. I loved the sparks between him and Rainey. They were well matched. She doesn't just immediately fall at his feet, something he isn't used to. Some of his antics had me cracking up (cornering her in the supply closet, scaring off her dates, etc). Shalvis brought her trademark humor and wit to the story.
Rainey is looking for a long-term relationship. She knows she isn't the type for a one-night stand, and sees no point it starting up with Mark when it isn't going to go anywhere. I liked that she knew herself so well, and didn't fall in bed with him just because she was attracted to him.
The characters definitely drew me in. I didn't want to put it down.
The Prince Regent whose presence gives this historical period its name, is a man who loves to party. He is a man who is far more into "playing" than h...moreThe Prince Regent whose presence gives this historical period its name, is a man who loves to party. He is a man who is far more into "playing" than he is into ruling and were it not for the presence and continued life of his ailing father, he would be king outright. Yet his inner circle knows his penchant for fine wine, beautiful women, and as much loud celebrating the public can tolerate. Well, folks, this series begins the tales of those inveterate players--bachelors all--who made up the inner circle of Prinny and whose loud, boisterous, drunken playing has now managed to offend aristocrat and commoner alike. Not only that, the hero of this novel has managed to lose his entire fortune after only possessing it and the title for a very short period of time. In order to reclaim some semblance of his people's loyalty, Prinny has decreed that ALL the dukes will marry--they will each choose a bride from a list the Prince will provide--and they will do it as soon as possible.
This initial offering in this series has some wonderful characters. The main characters are a man who has no interest in marrying yet must do so as a result of the fallout from the bachelor party--an evenings festivities that caused such damage that the groom never made it to the church. Now the Duke of Kress is sent to the lonely sea coast of Cornwall to repair his ancestral castle and take all the other partying dukes with him as well as the simpering misses who are hoping for a ducal title and that little band of gold (and the fortune to go with it). Who would have imagined that Kress would come upon a woman who is hanging on to almost nothing half way down a sea cliff, staring at her possible death on the rocks below, and whose presence at his home would cause all the rather strange circumstances that develop because of her being there? Yet that is the crux of this story and as in some of the finest historical novels, the dialogue and goings-on of the guests are the most entertaining aspect.
The heroine--the woman saved from certain death at the bottom of the cliff--wants to move on with her life. She knows that her greedy husband has left her to die if not actually managing to arrange her fall in the first place. She is attracted to the duke but understands that Prinny has commanded and so he must do. She was certainly not on Prinny's list of potential brides who were acceptable. Yet as is most often the case, little if anything goes according to plan, and we all know that human emotions and sexual attraction top the list of unpredictable aspects of human living. So it is here, and the circumstances that are constantly causing the duke and our heroine to face their feelings for one another are many and much resented by both.
I think you'll like this novel; you'll find yourself chuckling often and sometimes laughing outright. It is fun, entertaining reading and is the kind of historical romance that moves away from the ordinary sufficiently to capture even the jaded interest of those of us who read mountains of books. The heroine is the kind of woman who is willing to live according to the dictates of society--to a point. Yet she now knows that no man is going to be allowed to diminish her sense of herself as has her husband. I guess facing one's death as one hangs off a cliff can change the way a person is willing to live in the future. The hero is also a man who finally faces up to the necessities of his rank, yet there is still that sense of wanting life on his own terms. Thus, these two independent and strong-willed individuals has a tough time finding their way toward one another and when they do, they still have problems.
This novel is good reading from beginning to end. I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.