Jan 02, 12
Read on January 02, 2012 — I own a copy
*Originally read 9/4/10*
I think whatever I say about this book won't do it nearly as much justice as I feel it deserves. When you think about the plot, it seems like it has been done to death and that it's just a cliche. But this author takes every expected outcome or reaction and twists it in an unexpected manner. When you would normally see a dramatic moment or a villainous character, you don't end up with the expected. It was so refreshing!
Miranda was a simply awesome character. She's a "lowly shop girl" who somehow catches the interest of Viscount Downing. Their first encounters are full of playful banter and hidden innuendos. I loved how Downing skewed things in his favor so that he had an excuse to see her again. As their acquaintance deepens, Miranda cannot help but feel that Downing has cultivated their friendship for another purpose, but she quite rationally thinks it through and decides to risk it anyway. Miranda is an optimist, but she's also very pragmatic and realistic. There were a few moments in the story where I expected her to react with high drama, but she didn't. She took the time to think things through and decide what she was willing to accept and what the motivations of the offender were. I couldn't help but love her for it.
Downing was quite fascinating. When we got further into the story and discovered his hidden motivations, I just wanted to smack him upside his head, and then cuddle him. That man needed love. He was constantly plotting and maneuvering, but he was afraid to trust it when he finally achieved his goal. His dual nature was so sad. He had incredible self loathing, but he desperately wanted someone to see him and love him for who he was. I was so devastated for both him and Miranda toward the end. The anguish and yearning that was shown in that final scene in the bedroom...it killed me.
I loved how there were no villains in this story. Even though there were characters who caused issues and problems for their family, they were still sympathetic. Also, there was a situation involving a woman that I felt was handled extremely well. I was afraid she would turn into a caricature, but the author held true to her determination to make every character feel real and understandable.
At times the writing was quite poetic and lyrical. Downing was the biggest cause of that. He liked to seduce Miranda with his words, and he had quite a compelling turn of phrase. The sexual tension in this book was excellent. The characters don't have sex until far into the book, but I'm glad they didn't. I really enjoyed watching them seduce each other with their conversation and their personalities. It made their final capitulation so much more meaningful and sexy.
This book wasn't dark and angsty, but it wasn't light and irreverent. It felt like a nice balance of all those factors depending on the requirements of the scene. There were times it was humorous and cute, and times it was powerful and sexy, but it was also tortured and dark too. I like that it couldn't be easily typecast.
I cannot wait to try more by this author. I can only hope that I enjoy them as much as I liked this one.