Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught

Book Description:
From sweeping passion to taut suspense, Judith McNaught has entertained millions with a stunning array of emotions in nine dazzling bestsellers. In this beloved classic, "one of the best ever" (Rendezvous), two defiant hearts clash in a furious battle of wills -- in a glorious age of chivalry. Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as "The Wolf," his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will...until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web...a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.

My first book by Judith McNaught, I really enjoyed this medieval. Reminiscent of the medievals I've read of Julie Garwood I instantly liked the heroine, Jennifer, though "the Wolf" took a little more getting used to. This book came out in 1989 and it shows. For one thing our heroine's name. Is it me, or is Jennifer just too modern a name to have been around during medieval times? I know it was a very popular name in the 1980's, so maybe that's it. And it also bothered me that Royce always called her Jennifer in the beginning, not milady, or Lady Jennifer, just Jennifer - which was just not done back then. And then Royce was sleeping in the same tent as her all the time when she was still held captive by him - and no one seemed to raise an eyebrow? These little historical inaccuracies bugged me, but it didn't ruin the book - but still!

The basic gist of the story is Royce is a great knight and landowner in England, a close friend to the king (Henry VII). His brother mistakenly captures Jennifer and her sister from the abbey where they live in Scotland because their father is their enemy. Much happens, and Royce winds up bedding Jennifer (willingly, though she was coerced into it) and it gets out and he has to marry her, but she's still labeled the whore of Scotland. Due to much misundersandings she hates him after this, but is still drawn to his vigor and sexual magnetism. He thinks she is a scheming bitch and lied to him from the beginning and had set a trap for him. She didn't, all she was guilty of was walking up a hill with her sister and getting captured! Eventually love triumphs over all the political and familial tensions they both have to undergo. It's a great story with two powerful leads as our hero and heroine. Jennifer is a good match for Royce and I liked the way she was strong and could stand up for herself and wasn't some shrinking violet under his gaze. She really had some nerve, particularly her antics in sewing his clothes!

Royce was no nonsense. Used to being a conquering warrior, it's time for him to give it up. He wants to settle down at his beautiful castle, marry and produce heirs. Sounds simple, but it isn't for him. Just marrying Jennifer was a trial! Then, once they are married, they must try and overcome their distrust for one another. Just when it looks like they're going to - something happens to ruin it! On top of that, every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to fight the great Royce Westmoreland and in an exciting build up, Royce must fight many at a mock joust which turns out to be more than he bargained for. Not only is he fighting for his life, he's fighting for the love of his life and her acceptance and love for him. Of course, there is a happily ever after ending, but there was a lot of angst and tension getting there. Through much of the book, there is some humor and irony mixed it with it as well as the usual historical aspects of medieval times with horses and swords kings and what not. Oh, there's a fair amount of sex too! *grin*

I am definitely planning on reading through the rest of her backlist, particularly the rest of this Westmoreland series. I'd always heard of Judith McNaught and I'm sorry it took me so long to get around to reading one of her romances. Now I know why she is such a legend, this really was a good book, a well developed storyline, great characters, humor, passion, I enjoyed this medieval romance very much!



Misfit said...

I got into McNaught's books when I first moved into historical romance, and this was a favorite. Now that I've read Chadwick and Penman not sure how well it would go, but Royce is still quite a hunk IMHO. The one thing about McNaught is the sure-fire BIG MISUNDERSTANDING before everything is revolved.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

LOL! Yes, the BIG MISUNDERSTANDING! Grr - they drive me crazy, but it drives the storyline!

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