Dear Ms. Carlyle,
Well, after my last letter to you, I bet you never thought I’d be writing another. I dare say you probably wanted to give me a total body paper cut and then pour lemon juice all over me. But I’m a sucker for Jane saying, “No, really, it’s good. You should read it. She didn’t back out of having Kieran be a real rake, didn’t dumb him down, didn’t pull his claws.” And as I found out, Kieran actually has a real reason for his self-destructive behavior instead of just sulking and being melodramatic for no good cause.
I did have to get past the prologue which I found to be terribly overwritten and filled to the brim with adjectives. And the fact that except for a few phrases thrown into her speech here and there, the ‘raised in France’ heroine doesn’t sound very French. I thought it odd that Xanthia would haul off a guest during her after dinner party for a private chat instead of circulating as a good hostess should. The conversation between Kieran and Gareth during the first scene at Tattersalls made me think to myself, “These are two men talking? Two Englishmen? Wow, very emo on Gareth’s part.” Oh, and the first time Kieran and Camille were intimate, my thoughts echoed Kieran’s who knew it was tasteless and “probably the worst possible position for a woman of no experience.”
But for most of the rest of the novel, and that’s most of the novel, I was absorbed. Jane was right. I did need to read this or I could have made the mistake of crossing you off my reading list. Thanks Jane.
- I liked that there’s no spying nonsense and Kemble keeps his intrigues to himself. I hope that he and Camille will whip Kieran’s London house into decorating shape. I know I’d like to be let loose in his place of “Elegant Oddities and Fine Folderol.”
- I like that Kieran says, “I am a wretched old reprobate and habituated in sin.” As I mentioned before, you really give this man a reason to drink and smoke himself to death as he frequents hellholes and places of ill repute. What he did and what he, rightly or wrongly, blames himself for are hard sins to live with. He wasn’t alone in his sin and thank you for not making the one he sinned with into a total beyotch. Plus we get to learn what he holds over their Aunt Olivia! Something I’ve wondered about since the first book.
- I like that Camille is practical. That she sees in her father’s drunken offer to gamble her marriage to one of the rakes currently at his house in the wee hours of the morning a way to get away from him, take control of her destiny and that she doesn’t hesitate when the chips are down. I like that she keeps her heart whole and knows that this is a marriage of convenience – at least until she finally admits to herself that she’s fallen in love.
- And speaking of love, I like that you show us the reasons Camille and Kieran fall for each other instead of waving your authorial magic wand and telling us they are. And then expecting us to believe it in the face of all you’ve thrown in their path to true love. I like that they fully accept that they’ve fallen in love and don’t turn on each other as a way to deny it to themselves.
“Once upon a time, he had foolishly believed Camille cold. But she was not cold, she was strong – and there was a world of difference between the two. Without him, Camille would survive. Without her, Kieran feared, he might not. He loved her. Completely, fully, he loved her. It was not an emotion he welcomed and yet it came to him with searing certainty.”
- I like that the truth behind Kieran’s health problem is realistic, medically sound, and I can believe in the cure. I laughed when the second doctor says, “Yes, but I find an exorbitant fee tends to dramatically increase the value of my advice. And I like the terminally ill to pay straightaway. After all, one never knows.”
- Though I usually don’t care for the miraculous way romance characters find out their true family history, I will admit that in this book, you coat the bitter pill enough for me to swallow it and be okay with it.
I’m putting this next bit under spoiler wraps.
Yes, I’m glad I read this one. I’m glad Jane cajoled me into it and mailed it to me despite my thoughts on the earlier books in the series. B