Sunday, November 8, 2009
Mistaken identity and a night of shattering passion force a marriage of opposites: Ruan, duke of Cynssyr, a sophisticated and notorious rake, and Anne Sinclair, a spinster with the bad luck of being a pretty woman born to a family of beauties. Will "Lord Ruin" succeed in showing Anne that more than passion unites them or will their differences keep them apart?
Let me start off by saying I loved this book.
It was a complete surprise to me, I did not know what to expect, I thought it would be another regency romance with a winsome heroine and rakish lord, something cute and sweet, but not very memorable. I admit, the reason why I believed this to be so was based on the sickeningly sweet and somewhat sappy cover. How wrong I was - never judge a book by it's cover! This was a can't put down story, at once sexy and thrilling with a thread of a murder mystery running throughout. It made it more than just a sensual regency romance between a spinsterish heroine and rakish duke. As much as I'm all for sensual romances between rakish dukes and spinster misses, the sex scenes can sometimes become repetitive, in fact to the point of being dull - but this was anything but!
The story sets out a little confusing, there are three main men we meet, all good looking regency bucks. Dev turns out to be the male lead that is in love with our heroine, Anne. He intends to marry her, but then we are taken unawares for it turns out she is inexpicably debauched by his best friend, Ruan, the Duke of Cynssyr (get it, his name is Ruan - Lord Ruin? Corny, but I liked it!) I won't go into how it all happens, but it does and I must admit as outlandish, implausible and unbelievable as it was, it had me from the beginning and I couldn't put the book down! I had to know what would happen to poor Anne! Poor Anne - who turns out to have another side to her concerning the bedroom!
Anne and the duke must marry to save her reputation. From there we see their relationship develop. They become friends as well as lovers, but Anne suffers from the idea that she is unattractive, yet to her husband she is anything but. She is a breath of fresh air to him, although I did tire of how often I had to read about how much he admired her enormous breasts. The duke comes across as a rake and a cad - basically a self absorbed, selfish man who takes what he wants - namely Anne. But, as the book unfolds, we realize he is much nobler than we believe. He takes his role in the House of Lords seriously and is much admired by his peers. At the same time, he is trying to find out who is kidnapping and raping, and sometimes killing young women in London. There are a lot of red herrings, I often thought I knew who the culprit was, and then I'd flip flop to thinking someone else was the killer. This was the interwoven thread through the book - who's the killer and will Anne be it's next victim? Everything comes to a head at the end with an exciting rescue and finish, although I was a bit confused about who actually was the culprit. I think I might just have to read this book over again - and again - and again. *grin*
Anne was a likable heroine. She turns out to be a very competent duchess and lives up to the title. Plus, I often sympathized with her, I felt so sorry for her when she believes Ruan is still carrying on an affair with his ex-mistress, and empathized with her when she wouldn't believe him when he told her he loves her. She keeps thinking he's going to pack her off to one of his estates in far off Cornwall to keep her out of the way, yet as it turns out, he can't bear to keep away from her. They have a passionate marriage, one that was sizzling with chemistry, it was truly a pleasure to read! ;) Yes, there was always the worry about his ex-mistress and the fact that Anne had wanted to marry Dev - would that pose a problem for Ruan - and if so, what would he do about it? I liked it how he had this possessive streak when it came to his duchess. I loved it how he fell in love with her, how he wanted to protect her, and how devastated he was when he realized she was in danger.
There are also all sorts of side characters to consider, Ruan's friends, were they really friends, or were they really the killer? I also liked Anne's sisters. One of whom, Emily, the prettiest and youngest, takes a fancy to Dev. I'd like to read about their relationship which this book sets the reader up for. It turns out Emily has more backbone than anyone believed.
This is the first book I've read by Ms. Jewel, and it certainly won't be the last. I hope she writes a sequel to this one, for it really deserves one. I was sorry to finish this, I loved the characters and was wrapped up in their world and the who done it mystery of the Jack the Ripper type killer - great sex, great plot, great characters. For me, this had it all!