**spoiler alert** EDITED: Re-Read August 2010 -- I still agree with the below review and rating, only this time I was really put off by the enormous a...more**spoiler alert** EDITED: Re-Read August 2010 -- I still agree with the below review and rating, only this time I was really put off by the enormous amount of exclamation points lol
What other secrets was his bride hiding?
Did family honor really dictate that he marry the first eligible girl who could make intelligent conversation? The Earl of Darleston certainly hoped not, but there was no denying that he needed a bride. And Miss Phoebe Ffolliot seemed the ideal candidate for a marriage in name only.
Or so he thought. Until his bride brought a wolfhound to the wedding and the learned that he hadn’t married Phoebe, but her twin, Penelope. But when Penelope revealed the reason behind the charade, Darleston knew his “unexpected bride” deserved nothing less than his whole heart. Could he now turn a paper marriage into wedding bliss?
If you've read any other books by Elizabeth Rolls, you'll recognize a lot of elements of this book. First, there's the bitter mistress plotting with some evil somebody to do harm to our Heroine. You've also got her typical Hero who just refuses to admit that he's falling for his wife. And then there's the bit about the horse at the end which reminded me a lot of the climax of His Lady Mistress...
That said though, I was quite pleased with our Heroine, Penny. She wasn't nearly as much of a doormat as some of ER's other heroines which was quite refreshing. While I was a bit surprised by a physical condition of hers (that I'm going to make you read to discover -- bad me!), I was also thrilled to see that it didn't make her weak as it might have any other character.
One thing that bothered me though was that during the first three chapters, our Hero had an active sexual relationship with another woman. Now, I realize that part of the fun of those Reformed-Rake stories is that the Hero previously was a man-slut.. However, I don't particularly want to read about it in the present tense, no matter how hard the author tries to allude to it without going into an actual "love scene"...
Having his mistress (who is, of course, not our Heroine) change into a very revealing night robe and him remove his cravat and start kissing her on the sofa before they fade to black and then have the narrative comment the next morning about how late he got home? Yeah. Not my thing.
I actually cringed to hear the mistresses' POV about how our hero was "distant while making love" or somesuch nonsense. Blech. I would have been much happier had ER left that out, and merely given us the history as she did in The Dutiful Rake which of course had a similar bitter-mistress-turned-villainess plot (though I actually LIKED the villainess in TDR lol) At least in TDR, when the Hero was still macking it with his mistress, he hadn't yet met our Heroine..
Don't get me wrong -- he's not cheating on Penny. In fact, they'd only met once (maybe twice by this point?), and it's not as though they'd started to express any interest in each other except for the casual social chatter you would expect from passing acquaintances.
The ending left me a bit... I don't know.. "Not Surprised" I guess... I don't want to spoil it completely but let's just say that I had a sneaking suspicion all along that things would end up exactly the way they did. You'll see what I'm talking about if you read it :)
Overall I did enjoy it. I still prefer His Lady Mistress, though it was pretty equal to the other ER works that I've read.
While all of ER's books seem to have similar plot elements and tend to be a bit formulaic, it's the needless angst brought about by lack of communication and even self-loathing and insecurity that make me keep reading anyway. This book had the formula, but not as much of the angst.
For many readers, however, that will actually be a positive point. Had I not read her other works, I think I might have enjoyed it a bit more because of this. The simple fact that I recognized similar plot elements from her other books did detract from the story a bit, which is why it got a lower score than some of her other books that I've rated. If I work to put those similarities out of my mind, then the book really does become more enjoyable (starting with Chapter 4, for reasons I mentioned above ;)).
Overall a nice summer read, despite the fact it's December ;)(less)
I've thoroughly enjoyed the entire medieval trilogy by Elizabeth Lowell, which started with Untamed, followed by Forbidden, and ending with this book,...moreI've thoroughly enjoyed the entire medieval trilogy by Elizabeth Lowell, which started with Untamed, followed by Forbidden, and ending with this book, Enchanted. Though they were, in some ways, a bit predictable, they were also quite satisfying in their conclusions.
I'm very sad that she has no plans for more medieval stories, but I do plan on reading more of her works.
Though each of her books can be read alone, I do highly suggest reading the entire trilogy in order. (less)