Sunday, September 6, 2009
Of all the dukes in England, Jered Marcus Benton, the Duke of Bradford, was the wealthiest, most handsome -- and most arrogant. And of all London's ladies, he wanted the tender obedience of only one -- Caroline Richmond.
She was a ravishing beauty from Boston, with a mysterious past and a fiery spirit. Drawn to the powerful duke, undeterred by his presumptuous airs, Caroline was determined to win his lasting love. But Bradford would bend to no woman -- until a deadly intrigue drew them enticingly close. Now, united against a common enemy, they would discover the power of the magnificent attraction that brought them together...a desire born in danger, but destined to flame into love!
I really enjoyed this book, another Julie Garwood winner! All of her books that I've read and loved in the past were medievals, but this is my first book by her that is set during the English Regency Period. I wasn't sure if I was going to like it - but I loved it! Her hero was a bit on the domineering side, not open to suggestions or improvements upon his attitude, but that was the point of the story, will he finally come around and be considerate and trust his new wife, in other words in blind faith?
Caroline Richmond is the heroine, born in England and sent to live in Boston with her uncle and aunt and cousins at the age of four, she returns to England fourteen years later to be reunited with her father and to experience her first London Season with her cousin, Charity. As it turns out, Caroline is a crack shot with a pistol and helps rescue an English dandy being set upon by bandits. He is embarrased but grateful. I loved this moment in the book, btw, great surprise at the end of the chapter. His friend, the Duke of Bradford, comes on the scene shortly after the rescue and is immediately taken with Caroline. A cynic by heart, he is transformed and suddenly very interested in this new girl on the London scene. He does everything to make her "his." But, being the young virginal daughter of an earl, he must court her properly, even though he takes as many improper advances as he can get away with.
Caroline is overwhelmed by Bradford as well, he's huge, virile, masculine, commanding, and unfortunately stubborn and obstinate when he makes up his mind. As he and Caroline become closer and closer (and ultimately marry) he treats her unfairly. While she admits to him she loves him, he cannot say the words back to her. He jumps to conclusions when he sees her in the arms of another man, even though moments later he realizes she's unwillingly being mauled by the creep! He's a duke of the realm, and he not used to being crossed in his decisions and ways of thinking and handling himself. Caroline is also very stubborn and is bent on changing him for the better - but he doesn't want to be changed! She's angry at him a lot of the time, despite their passionate and hot forays in the marriage bed. They have a lot fights and it becomes tiresome after they are married because they're always at odds with one another, I just wanted to slap them and tell them to just get over it and give in! Pride gets in his way, and she has some unrealistic notions of how he should be. She knew what he was like when she married him, yet she's trying to change him! The crux of the matter is, is their marriage doomed if he can't trust her blindly, no matter what - and admit he loves her? Can she live with him and remain married to him if he doesn't change?
In the meantime, they're also trying to figure out who is trying to kill Caroline. Bradford means to keep her safe, yet he's also being too paranoid about it and ultimately hurting her feelings by not consulting her in what he's doing.
I did really enjoy this book, but I would have liked it a lot more if Bradford had not been so high and mighty and lording it over Caroline so much. She's likable and smart, though she starts out as a self-reliant cool, calm and collected heroine, once she meets Bradford she falls apart and loses her backbone. I was disappointed in the way she became with him, always doubting herself and crying and wishing he loved her. I wanted her to be more like her old self. But, since we have a happy ending and they clear everything up, I'm optimistic she finds her old self again.
Give it a try, if you like regencies and Julie Garwood, you'll probably really enjoy this book! She does a great job in describing the settings and clothing and Bradford is quite the swoonworthy hero - he's just got to be brought down a peg!