I just finished listening to this audio book for the second time this week...something I rarely, if ever, do. (Nope, don't have any books falling apar...moreI just finished listening to this audio book for the second time this week...something I rarely, if ever, do. (Nope, don't have any books falling apart at the seams from numerous rereads.) In Reckless (the 2nd installment in Anne Stuart's House of Rohan series), the conversations between the hero...the handsome, wealthy, titled, debauched Viscount Adrian Rohan, and the heroine...the too-tall, socially inept, firmly-on-the-shelf spinster, Charlotte Spenser, were so delightfully engaging (as in seductive & erotic) that the second listen was a must to catch what I missed the first go and relive (and savor) what I didn't.
Needless to say, I LOVE this book! Wait, I need to elaborate...I adore it, I cherish it and I will cradle it to my bosom for the rest of my days. In turn, I love Anne Stuart as well (but will leave off the elaboration). Reckless is only the second HR I've read by Ms. Stuart (the first being Ruthless, Book #1 in this series, which told the story of Sir Francis Rohan, Adrian's father and the one genetically responsible for his son's libertine ways). I do not know if this is indicative of her usual style or not, but these are dark stories written with a stark, flagrant - and at times a little unsettling - look at uninhibited sexual congress among the elite in Regency London. This author knows exactly what the term "rake" means, and she gives no quarter when penning this one. But Adrian Rohan is so captivating - so deliciously wicked - that I forgave him all the sexual depravities he indulged in before he met Charlotte and accepted the liaisons he half-heartedly engaged in after they met. No sugar coating here. Adrian did not fall madly in love with the awkward, virginal Charlotte when they first met (and she stepped all over his toes during a dance). Not even when they meet again at a ball 3 years later (where this book begins), although he is very intrigued by this poor relation of the beautiful Lina Winthrop.
At a gathering of the "Heavenly Host" (your basic no-holds-barred, 3-day "fuckfest" - brainstorm of original bad boy Francis Rohan who gave it all up for love), Adrian's intrigue gives way to lust when he spots Charlotte there (attending with cousin Lina merely out of curiosity). The seduction begins, which turns out to be the sweetest, most charming, "aww"-worthy "first time" that I have ever read in a romance novel.(It was maybe an hour long on audio so at least 50 pages in a book.) It also signified the beginning of the reformation of a rake...not an easy task to manage effectively when an author chooses to "show" rather than "tell" (actually walking the reader through the stages of change as opposed to an author who claims the hero is a rake yet he is smitten with the heroine and totally in love by the end of the first chapter). Anne Stuart gets an A+ for effectiveness, not only for the reformation but for her presentation of a believable, beautiful love story between two polar opposites. running the gamut of emotions for both protagonists...insecurity, defensiveness, fear, longing, hope, despair, heartbreak for Charlotte...grief, anger, confidence, trepidation, denial, acceptance, contentment for Adrian.
There is a secondary romance with Lina and the rake-turned-vicar, Simon Prescott, that warranted its own book. Acting out the pretense of mutual dislike, they provoke each other mercilessly as they try to tamp down their traitorous feelings of love. Their relationship was rife with sexual tension that I would have loved to see played out in detail. They got their HEA, but unfortunately for us readers it was delivered with a G-rating.
Overall, this book rocks from beginning to end. It isn't necessary to read Ruthless first...although it gives you a detailed look at the Heavenly Host. In other words, much darker and more depravity. Reckless is a little more carefree and the hero, at 28, a lot less jaded than his father was at 40 when his story was told. I would recommend this book to historical romance readers that aren't looking for comedy, fluff or a wallpaper romance...those that don't have delicate sensibilities when it comes to sexx and can endure a blow-by-blow (!!) account (H/h only). And, of course, those that require a believable, satisfying HEA. I hope you enjoy Reckless as much as I did!
Lady Elyssa has a secret admirer and she wants to meet him. Her brother Harrison, the Marquess of Fellingsdown,...moreAn excellent HR by a new author for me!
Lady Elyssa has a secret admirer and she wants to meet him. Her brother Harrison, the Marquess of Fellingsdown, is horrified when he learns that the so-called admirer is nothing more than a fictitious gentleman their twin sisters have created in the hopes that their older sister will feel better about herself. You see, although she is breathtakingly beautiful and has a charming personality, Elyssa has never had a suitor. A freak accident at the age of nine left her with a mangled foot that could not be corrected, and she can not walk without the use of a cane. Her coming-out Season had been a mortifying experience, and she has been residing at the familial country estate ever since. Harrison, ever the protector of his sister, immediately organizes a house party to which he entices Brent Montgomery, the Earl of Charfield and most eligible bachelor in London, to attend. If Brent will "pay attention" to Elly for the 2-week duration of the party and cause her to forget about the secret admirer, Harrison will let Brent sire a colt on his prize-winning Arabian horse.
Historical romances with house party themes are always fun and this one is no exception. Of course the "deal" goes awry from the get-go because Brent is immediately attracted to Elly, and vice versa. As they become better acquainted, Brent teaches Elly to look past her disability and strive to do all those things she once thought to be impossible. There were several touching scenes...Brent teaching Elly to waltz and how to play croquet...he was really the hero extraordinaire. In fact, their relationship reminded me of that between Kit & Lauren in Mary Balogh's A Summer to Remember. Add to this, a thoroughly enjoyable secondary romance between Harrison and the woman he loved and lost 4 years prior, a peer at the party who wants Harrison dead, a kidnapping and ensuing chase, and of course what transpires when the bet is discovered, and you've got one damn good book! The sexual content is mild and limited, but the sexual tension carries the story right on through.
I'm currently reading another book by Laura Landon that is showing promise of being just as good as Shattered Dreams, and Ms. Landon is showing great promise of becoming an auto-buy for me. Seriously, if you are in the mood for a fast-paced, well-balanced HR with an awww-worthy love story (or two) and a sweet HEA, this would be the book to pick up (for only .99c on Kindle)!
(No, Dina, I will never grow tired of him.:)(less)