Published by HarperCollins on 25-11-2008
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Once, Abrielle was a privileged daughter coveted for her bearing, her breeding, her wit, and her beauty. But when her stepfather is denied his rightful title and the wealth that accompanies it, Abrielle finds herself suddenly disgraced. Only one man would still have her: the oafish and grotesque Desmond de Marlé. To rescue her once-proud family's honor, Abrielle must sacrifice her virtue to this scoundrel she fears and detests . . . even as she yearns for another lover. Dashing, handsome, tall, and kind, Raven Seabern is quite unlike any man Abrielle has ever encountered. But their love can never be, for Abrielle is betrothed to a monster. And the well-being of everyone she cares for demands that she honor her promise. Still, Raven knows he has found the true one and must never let her go—though secrets, deceptions, dishonor, and unimaginable peril will surely be their fate if they follow the dictates of their hearts.
Every now and then I need to reset my book brain – you know, take a break from reading worthy and meaningful books and simply wallow in something simple and mindless while I relax with a cup of tea.
My genre of choice for this is trashy romance books, particularly historical romance. Usually I just pick up something from the local library when I am there, but I actually splashed out and bought a Kathleen Woodiwiss book yesterday.
I’ve been a Woodiwiss fan for a while, having read and loved Ashes in the Wind many, many years ago. I’ve enjoyed other titles including The Flame and the Flower and The Elusive Flame, but after trying to read Come Love a Stranger a few years ago and giving up after the first three chapters, I haven’t bothered with her books for a while.
I have to confess I wasn’t all that impressed with this book either. The central characters Raven and Abrielle were fine, but after spending three-quarters of the book building up the tension between them and forcing them into marriage (thanks to the unintentional compromising of Abrielle’s reputation by Raven, who was just trying to be chivalrous and keep her warm when they were lost in the woods) everything seemed to resolve itself in a great rush.
Raven loves Abrielle, but Abrielle is resisting her attraction to him because she doesn’t trust him. He goes away to consult the King and when he returns she is completely over her hesitation and discovers that she loves him more than life itself. It would seem that absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. I won’t even mention all the plot contrivances that prevented the beauteous Abrielle from being sullied by other lustful men, including the horrible little man she was forced to wed to save the honour of her family.
I realise that I am over analysing what I intended to be a brainless read, but this book (and the last one I read) have been a disappointment when compared with the other Woodiwiss titles that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed.
So, read it if you must, but I’ll be limiting any future encounters with Woodiwiss books to those that I find on the shelves at the library (or perhaps giving them a miss all together).by