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Trial by Desire

(Carhart #2)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  2,762 ratings  ·  308 reviews
She cannot forget the fire he ignited…

In the three years since her husband left her, Lady Kathleen Carhart has managed to forge a fulfilling life for herself. But when Ned Carhart unexpectedly returns, she finds her tranquility uprooted—and her deepest secrets threatened. Though she has no intention of falling for Ned’s charms, Kate can no longer deny the desire that still
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by HQN Books (first published September 28th 2010)
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Average rating 3.59  · 
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 ·  2,762 ratings  ·  308 reviews

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♡Karlyn P♡
DNF at halfway point, just not feeling the romance and not caring about the hero or heroine. It was original so I can see why many gave it 5-stars, but for me I just couldn't quit skimming as I wasn't being pulled into the story. I really wanted to like it as I so enjoyed her debut, so I will read more by this author. There was a lot of 'telling' and not as much 'showing' going on too, and while it was done well for me it was just too much narrative. ...more
Ned Carhart left his wife Kate a mere three months after their marriage to go to China at the behest of his cousin to check out what was going on with the British and the Opium situation and to find himself. At the point of their marriage Ned considers himself something of a useless fribble with no responsibilities.

Kate is stunned and bereft.

Fast forward three years later and a lot has changed. Kate rescues women who are victims of domestic abuse and helps them to leave their husbands and reloc
Nov 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 5 out of 5.

A beautiful story about estranged husband and wife. This is one of the few estranged romance stories I have ever read and liked. The best part of this romance was that both the heroine and the hero were true to one another throughout their separation. It wasn't like other stories where the hero/heroine profess to love the other, but then actually proceed to gallivant with other people.
Anna (Bobs Her Hair)
Grade: C - or weak 3 stars

Smoothly written story, a confident heroine who rescues abused women and a hero that battles depression should have been an angsty historical romance so why was it a struggle to maintain interest in this book? It felt tedious.

The Story
After three years abroad, Ned Carhart returns to England and his wife. He had left to conquer his inner demons and now has control over the melancholia that nearly destroyed him. The fear still lingers that he may sink into the pit of desp
Preeti ♥︎ Her Bookshelves
Ned is the life of the previous book -- even more beloved and central than the mcs.
I feared (as it alwaaays happens) that when it will come to his own book, I'll be disappointed and here, I am ... disappointed.

(view spoiler)
Sadie Forsythe
Apr 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
OK, I won't say this is a bad book. I know Milan is quite popular. I've even read and enjoyed some of her books. But the simple fact of the matter is that I DID NOT LIKE THIS BOOK. That's the truth of it.

I found Ned horribly selfish, from start to finish. Yes, I understood that he was young and fighting demons, that he regretted having left and was trying to make amends. My problem was that he returned just as selfish as he left. I didn't find his fear a good enough excuse for the fact that he
Sep 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wishlist
Favorite Quote: “I don’t like to lose control.”

Kate inched her fingers across the coverlet to his free hand. His knuckles were heated, even though he’d been sitting in the cold. “Ned,” she whispered, “let me inside your control.”

We first meet our hero Ned in Proof By Seduction, where we learn he battles many demons, and depression is a big part of his life. At the start of Trial by Desire, Ned is not done battling his demons yet. After only three short months of marriage to Kathleen Carhart, he
I was first turned on (pun intended) to Courtney Milan thanks to Stacey's review of Proof by Seduction. Which I also ended up loving and have been eagerly anticipating this sequel for some time now!

I wasn't sure if Trial by Desire could live up to Proof by Seduction. Especially because in Poof by Seduction Ned was kind of a fuck-up. Sure, I liked him and felt sorry for him but I was wondering how Milan was going to turn Ned into hero material. But hero material he turned out to be!

Ned, determin
Aug 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was one of the readers of Courtney Milan’s debut novel, Proof by Seduction, who finished that book hoping that Ned Carhart, cousin to Gareth Carhart, the Marquess of Blakely, would get his own story. Trial by Desire is Ned’s story, but Ned is no longer the confused boy of POS; he is now a man, tempered by the hard experiences of three years in China. He returns to his home and his marriage, determined to uncover the secrets his wife is safeguarding even as he protects his own secret.

Trial by D
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
I will never ever stop being impressed by Courtney Milan's novels, mostly because not only are they the most helplessly and honestly heartfelt and romantic stories ever, they have such a PROFOUND sense of social justice to them--the plots are intelligent and they mean something and I always want to stand up and cheer and then maybe read a book or two about Victorian legal reform once they're over. God damn, she's my favourite author, and this book was great. ...more
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful story with a surprisingly well working mixture of action, aspects of an thriller and well done, if not perfect, characterization.

Lady Kathleen "Kate" Carhart hasn't seen her husband in three years, when he, after only three months of being married, went on an abrupt diplomatic visit to China.
Said husband, Ned, comes back to find that his wife hasn't been a meek and silent resident of his country estate, but has some, lets say curious, projects going on.

I must applaud Courtney Mila
Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*
Cute! I liked the heroine. It dragged on a little, but I'll definitely read more of Milan's work in the future. ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gah! I wanted this to be a better book. It's really only just three stars for me. I think the problem stems from Milan trying to do to much. She should've stepped back and taken one character element away. Ned is suffering with depression (which was a little flippantly dealt with in itself but CM is probably brave for even going there in an historical) and fears losing control. He fears that control will be lost in sexual encounters with his wife. He doesn't want her to see his weakness so he so ...more
ρυηүα [Punya Reviews...]
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Well, what an interesting book. I read the Kindle enhanced version which gave the book a whole other dimension. The author lets you tap on symbols that take you to explanations and even audio where she (and, in one, her husband) talk about the book. It was actually fascinating to ponder the author's aim, her struggle to get an HR novel with a manic-depressive hero AND domestic violence (not the H here!) published and her own very critical opinion of this, the second book she has ever written.
Quite disappointing.

I’d been saving this book, so I could savour it whenever I felt like I needed to read a really good romance novel. After the last couple of months, it felt like it was time.

Trial by Desire is a sequel to Proof by Seduction and although the couple set up is much more believable than in its prequel, the romance itself isn’t.

A scandal forced Ned and Kate to marry, but it was clear that both of them—Ned—at least needed to grow up in leaps and bounds for them to earn their (bel
We met Ned Carhart in CM's Proof of Seduction and frankly I loved Ned. He was young and sweet. The glove with the teeth mark scene is still one of the funniest to me. But this story picks up about 3 months after PoS and Ned has married Kate.

Ned though feels that he needs to grow up before he can deserve Kate, so he takes off for China....for 3 years! When our Ned comes back he is a changed man, he has filled out those broad shoulders and cheek bones.

Kate however, isn't impressed she has 3 year
Pamela Shropshire
This one is about Ned, who played a significant role in Proof by Seduction. He compromised Lady Kathleen Ware, trying to set her up with Blakely, and thus ended up marrying her himself. Ned was too young and hadn't come to grips with what we now call bipolar disorder, so he went to the Far East to investigate incidents leading to the First Opium War.

When Ned comes home three years later, he finally gets to know his wife and the strong woman that is hidden underneath the frippery. Since she was 1
Well, this didn't live up to the first book, not in the least. It was an okay read, I suppose, but it simply didn't pack the feels the way I've come to expect from Milan.

The romance was fine, the characters were fine, the plot with Kate helping abused women was really lovely, but nothing seemed to live up to its full potential. I ended up simply skimming through various parts, because I was bored - bored on a Courtney Milan novel!? *cries* THAT broke my heart a lot more than anything that happen
Leigh Kramer
Holy angsty goodness! I felt like crying for a good portion of this story because of how fraught relations were between Kate and Ned. There was so much longing on both sides, so much to overcome in their estranged marriage. And that’s only the internal struggle!

Kate and Ned had a marriage of convenience after they were caught in a compromising position. After three months of marriage, he left her to go to China and stayed away for three years, breaking her heart in the process. It may have been
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

I can't decide how I feel about this book. On the one hand, I really, really loved Kate, a lot! On the other hand, the main conflicts in this romance/self-revelation historical were kind of frustrating. It really wasn't until the second half of the book that things started picking up a little bit.

And I can't believe that I actually found myself annoyed with Jenny's behavior after all the things she'd been through in the first book. I hadn't expected the snobbish dismissal
I usually love Courtney Milan books, but this series is harder for me to like. The biggest part fro me is the characters aren't that likable, or more that they are too self centered. In this case it was the hero - it was all about it him. Not in a bad way, but what he 'needed' was more important than anything else. Until the end at least and even then it almost had to be forced one him. Still a good story.

I listened to the audio with Elizabeth Jasicki narrating and it was good.
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who love historical romances and developed characterizations
Recommended to Rose by: Courtney Milan
I originally read "Trial by Desire" in June of 2011, but I decided to re-read it in audiobook form and return to the book because I really enjoyed it. Lady Kate and Ned were both wonderful characters to get to know in the mix of events. I loved the opening of the novel where the two are reunited after quite some time apart. It takes place after the events of "Proof of Seduction" - where Ned returns from his travels as a more mature gentleman, though left unspoken - he still has his own internal ...more
This one is hard to rate. There were elements that made me mad and others that made me so happy.

What worked for me:
1) Courtney Milan's writing. I liked the alternating povs told in the third person.
2) The safety which is pretty much a unicorn in the land of historical romances these days. (view spoiler)
3) An H who is a decent guy, albeit completely obtuse at times.
4) A cute epilogue.

What didn't work for me:
1) The h was a
An intelligent, complex and mature romance that keeps the heart pounds of those ridiculous but ravenously readable bodice rippers, but removes the rage-incensing disempowerment, ignorance, and approved assholery.

This historical novel, set mid 19th century England, features concerns that, while not in any way new to humans, have a modern vocabulary. Issues sensitively crafted within include depression, suicidal feelings, obsessive compulsion, domestic violence, women's rights, borderline personal
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: z2014-bir
Another completely fabulous historical romance. I love non-typical characters!
Proving yourself doesn't mean you need to kill dragons so I'm really happy about how the hero and damsel in distress part of the novel was handled. ...more
Michelle Connolly
Trial by Desire is my second book by Courtney Milan, and I'm shockingly finding this author to be a great disappointment for me. I've read so many good reviews about her books, but I'm hontesly not understanding why. I thought I would probably like this book better than the first, as apparently reading about Ned and Kate (who are the two main characters in this book) was the only thing I enjoyed about it, but I actually disliked it even more.
At first, I wasn't quite sure what it was that I didn
I like the idea of a romance featuring an already-married couple, and the fact that the heroine runs a sort of underground railroad for abused women is even better. But what this book really focuses on is trust. The two need to learn to trust each other with their secrets, their vulnerabilities, and their needs, and they need to learn to lean on each other, which is especially difficult for Ned. He thinks asking for help is showing weakness. He also has a mental illness, which makes him think th ...more
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Courtney Milan’s books have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller and a RITA® winner.

Courtney lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, an exceptionally perfect dog, and an attack cat.

Before she started writing historical romance, Courtney got a graduate degree in theoretical physical chemistry from UC Berkeley. After th

Other books in the series

Carhart (2 books)
  • Proof by Seduction (Carhart, #1)

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