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REVIEW: Waking Up with the Duke by Lorraine Heath


Note to readers: This review contains SPOILERS. If you would like to read this book and prefer to remain spoiler-free, it may be best not to read this review.

Dear Ms. Heath,

I got this book from the library after a good friend of mine mentioned that it was one of her favorite books of the year. Waking Up with the Duke makes use of the conceiving an heir trope which has sometimes resulted in books I’ve loved and other times in books I didn’t care for. I was hoping that this book would be one of the former, but instead, it seems to be one of the latter, and on p.317 (of 375 pages) I have decided that reading further will only make me more frustrated. More on the reasons why in a moment, but first, a brief plot summary.

Waking Up with the Duke	Lorraine HeathWaking Up with the Duke begins with Ransom Seymour, Duke of Ainsley (referred to throughout the book as “Ainsley”) drinking with his cousin the Marquess of Walfort. Three years ago a carriage accident that occurred while a drunken Ainsley was holding the reins resulted in Walfort’s being paralyzed from the waist down. The emotional trauma led Walfort’s marchioness, Lady Jayne Seymour, to lose the child she was carrying.

Now Walfort wants Ainsley to atone for his actions by giving Jayne a child and Walfort an heir. Ainsley is stunned and horrified. Although he sleeps around quite a bit, he considers married women off limits. Not only that, he can’t imagine allowing someone else to claim and keep his child. What he can’t deny, however, are his feelings for Jayne, whom Ainsley has loved from afar since the day he met her at Walfort’s betrothal dinner. Unfortunately for Ainsley, Jayne blames him for all she and Walfort suffered as a result of the accident, and thinks very little of him.

When Walfort tells Jayne that he wants her to conceive a baby with Ainsley, she is sickened and hurt. But eventually, for reasons having to do with wanting a child and wanting to give Walfort his heart’s desire, Jayne agrees to Walfort’s suggestion. Of course, there’s an attraction between Ainsley and Jayne, and once they go to Ainsley’s retreat in order to get down to business, romantic feelings develop. Both know that these feelings can’t lead to happiness, and yet, they cannot repress them.

A number of things bothered me while reading Waking Up with the Duke. I’ll begin with Walfort’s behavior in the first hundred or so pages of the book, which felt inconsistent to me. On the one hand he kept talking as if Jayne’s happiness was the most important thing to him, but on the other hand he was not at all possessive of her nor romantic toward her. He seemed at first to be all over the place and it was very hard to get a fix on his character. I would have liked more clues as to his motives.

Later in the book, when his secret was revealed, his motives made more sense, but even then I wasn’t certain how much his request that Ainsely and Jayne conceive a child was driven by selflessness and how much by selfishness. He kept saying that Jayne should not be deprived of children, but the later revelations made his motives more questionable and I was uncertain as to whether my interpretation of his character was that which you intended to convey.

In the beginning, that was true for me of Ainsley as well. Ainsley fit the “fake rake” archetype in that he was said to constantly sleep with women and never spend more than a few nights with each one, but his actual behavior didn’t match these actions. He did not seem casual about his relationships, and was affectionate and sweet a good portion of the time.

I was further confused by his behavior with Jayne in the first eighty or so pages. Perhaps it was simply that the romance was rushed, but Ainsley kept thinking about how he could never be a party to adultery yet at the same time he flirted with Jayne and kissed her after learning that Walfort had not done so since the accident that crippled him.

I think I was meant to believe that Ainsley was sweet, selfless, generous and honorable, but it took a long time for the book to convince me of that because Ainsley kept finding ways to spend time with Jayne while protesting that she was a married woman and therefore off-limits.

For a duke, Ainsley also seemed too humble, and other characters did not behave as if he were a duke either. Jayne thought that his hunting retreat was a one room cottage, and was surprised to discover that it was larger. Ainsley’s mother kept wanting Ainsley to marry and have children but her concern seemed to be almost entirely with his personal happiness and not with the succession of the title. There are times when I feel that a character is a duke merely so that the word “duke” can be on the cover and sell books, and that was the case here. Ainsley’s dukedom didn’t figure in the plot very much, at least in the 317 pages that I read.

Other aspects of his character were inconsistent as well. Ainsley was said to be very discreet, yet to conceive Walfort’s heir, he invited Jayne to his hunting retreat for an entire month. Although Jayne doesn’t use the Walfort title or the Seymour name, Ainsely presents her as “Lady Jayne” which seemed risky to me, revealing both her first name and the fact that she is a lady to his dozen or so servants. Ainsely also takes Jayne also visit a local fair and they regularly go walking in the village, patronizing merchants along the way. In England of 1860, this doesn’t seem discreet to me.

At Ainsley’s hunting retreat, some things happened that bothered me. First, despite Jayne’s wishes to the contrary, Ainsley was determined to bring her pleasure, and he brought her to climax their initial sexual encounter. On the one hand, Jayne’s resulting emotional distress made the scene powerful, but on the other, I had a difficult time reconciling this with Ainsley’s supposed love and selflessness. Physically Jayne may have felt pleasure, but emotionally it made her betrayal of her marriage vows more complete. Had Ainsley been portrayed as morally ambiguous I would have had no problem with his violation of her boundaries, but since he was supposed to be such a good guy, it didn’t entirely fit with the rest of his portrayal.

The pacing of the book felt off to me, with much of it rushed or underdeveloped. For example it took Jayne less than two days alone with Ainsley to change her mind about him completely. Where before she had thought he was hateful, she now saw so much goodness in him. I thought it would have been more believable had it taken her longer to come around.

I also noticed an occasional slipping into contemporary speech patterns in the characters’ dialogue, for example “It hurts so bad” and exchanges like “You deserve so much better than I’ve given you. “Walfort, please, let’s not go there.” And “Is that a threat?” “It’s a promise.”

It may sound like I felt there was nothing good about this book but in fact there were things I liked about it. I loved the setup that Ainsley felt obligated and guilt ridden toward Walfort. I thought Walfort’s character was thought-provoking, in light of the revelations about him. Much of Jayne’s stay at the cottage was both poignant and romantic. For a while, I believed that these two people were falling in love and wanted them to be able to be together.

Unfortunately, my positive feelings evaporated when Jayne returned home. I wanted so badly to know what Jayne and Walfort’s marriage was like in the wake of Ainsley and Jayne’s affair. Was Walfort jealous? Did he regret pushing them together? Did Jayne view Walfort differently after being with Ainsley? Did she feel lonelier in her marriage than she had before? More confused? And how did she feel when she learned she was pregnant? All of this was glossed over in favor of more trivial things.

At this point I am on p.317 and the improbabilities keep coming. The recently widowed Jayne has just received Ainsley in her bedchamber, in her nightdress, without even trying to hide this from her servants. I don’t feel motivated to keep reading.

I really did love the premise of the cousin/friend whom the hero felt responsible for rendering unable to sire an heir asking the hero to sleep with his wife. It is the unrealized potential for a gripping, romantic, complex story that has engendered my frustration and made me finally decide to put the book down unfinished. I know that other readers, like my friend, have enjoyed Waking Up with the Duke a lot more than I have, and I wish that I had as well.

Sincerely,

Janine

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Janine Ballard loves well-paced, character-driven books. Examples include novels by Shana Abe, Loretta Chase, Patricia Gaffney, Cecilia Grant, Judith Ivory, Carolyn Jewel, Laura Kinsale, Julie Anne Long, Alison Richardson, Nalini Singh and Pam Rosenthal. Janine also writes fiction. Her critique partners are Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran and Bettie Sharpe. Her erotic short story, "Kiss of Life", appears in the Berkley anthology AGONY/ECSTASY under the pen name Lily Daniels. You can email Janine at janineballard at gmail dot com. or find her on Twitter @janine_ballard.

43 Comments

  1. Maili
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 15:10:22

    For such an intense story, the title seems a poor choice. Based on the title alone, I thought it was a light-hearted romp through Romancelandia. I’m a terrible book browser.

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  2. Janine
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 16:04:32

    @Maili: I would rate the book as medium in intensity. For me it was neither a light romp nor incredibly intense. But that may be because the consistency issues kept me from becoming fully emotionally engaged.

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  3. Jill Sorenson
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 16:34:41

    Ooh, I love this premise. Maybe I’ll give it a try.

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  4. GrowlyCub
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 17:02:21

    I finished, but I had the same issues (especially the totally non-discreet behavior). And like you the biggest disappointment was that this had so much potential for an interesting story and the author took all the easy outs instead.

    The only difference we have is that I figured Walfort for a villain from the 1st chapter with one throwaway line and that this was Heath’s way of signalling who’d get the boot.

    I gave it a C, which in a way is my worst grade because it means this wasn’t an awful book, but one that deserved better from its author (and maybe editor) and could have been so much more.

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  5. Kim
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 17:49:37

    @Janine This was my first Loretta Chase book and I enjoyed it. I’m surprised it was a DNF for you.

    To answer one of your questions, I felt that Walfort was both selfish and selfless. He wasn’t in love with Jayne, but he was humbled by the way she cared for him after the accident. It was seeing Jayne in this new light and knowing that he had two “treasures” that Walfort became somewhat selfless and gave her a path to motherhood. It’s actually similar to how Walfort treated Ainsley. Walfort viewed Ainsley as a good friend, yet he still wanted Ainsley to suffer from guilt. I think there was a flaw in his character, but he wasn’t evil. It was interesting that Loretta Chase didn’t make Walfort a true villain.

    I didn’t read the first two books in this series, so I wonder if some of your questions about Ainsley and even his mother are brought out in the earlier books. We got glimpses of his interaction with his brothers and mother, but a lot must have happened in the other stories.

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  6. Janine
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 17:54:21

    @Jill Sorenson: I hope you enjoy the book more than I did.

    @GrowlyCub: It’s heartening to encounter a reader who had the same issues. I think that if I had kept reading and the last sixty pages were anything like the first 317, I would have graded it a C- or lower, though. I only got absorbed in the story for a short while, during the romantic moments in the cottage, and then when Walfort revealed the truth about himself.

    Re. Walfort, I happened to glance at the author’s note at the end of the book and I see that she writes “At his core, Walfort was not a bad man. He was simply terribly flawed.” This is what I suspect I was intended to feel, but instead I felt he was an inconsistently written character. I would have liked it so much better if Ainsley and Jane had gotten angry with him. It would have made it easier for me to form my own conclusions about him.

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  7. Janine
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 18:12:40

    @Kim: I haven’t read the earlier books so it’s possible there is more context for the characterization there.

    I suspect that I was meant to view Walfort the way you viewed him, but as you can see from my reply to GrowlyCub, if this was Heath’s aim, she didn’t pull it off for me.

    ETA: Loretta Chase is a different writer from Lorraine Heath. They both write for Avon but their books couldn’t be more different.

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  8. Kim
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 18:27:12

    I haven’t read Loretta Chase, but for some reason I keep transposing her name with Lorraine Heath.

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  9. Janine
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 18:28:44

    @Kim: At her best Loretta Chase is excellent but her books are funnier and lighter than Heath’s.

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  10. Susan/DC
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 18:39:50

    I too had mixed feelings about this book. I thought some of the conversations between Jayne and Ainsley were poignant and romantic, and I liked the personalities that appeared through those conversations. However, I found Jayne a bit too perfect, and I thought the book would have been more interesting if Ainsley hadn’t already been halfway in love with her. I would have liked to see Ainsley falling in love as he came to know her, in parallel with what happened to as Jayne came to know and fall in love with him.

    I liked that Walfort’s cousin turned out to be a pretty decent guy so it was okay for him to inherit the earldom. However, I was a bit confused by the fact that Jayne and Ainsley’s child became Ainsley’s, rather than Walfort’s, heir. Jayne and Ainsley married before the baby was born, but wouldn’t the fact the the baby was conceived during her marriage to Walfort mean it would be Walfort’s heir? The issue of biological parenthood didn’t really come into it, as I understand the law back then, so the end of the book confused me. It would have been far simpler for Heath to make the baby a girl, thereby avoiding the issue, and have an epilogue where they have a baby boy as a second child. Just wondering.

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  11. GrowlyCub
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 18:42:57

    Yeah@Susan/DC: I totally forgot about that ending, which had me rolling my eyes like a frightened horse; my gut feeling is that yes, it’s totally legally incorrect, but I’m not entirely sure. Even if it’s right, it *felt* wrong.

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  12. Meoskop
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 18:43:14

    I do think having read the earlier books in the series aided characterization. I see why I did not have the same issues with Ainsley, because his character was somewhat set by the prior books. I really wish she’d written the mother’s story as it’s own book, I felt it was too quickly summed up.

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  13. GrowlyCub
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 18:49:23

    @Janine: Walfort felt like a cop out to me. Not entirely villainous, but not nice enough that readers would be upset that she killed him off. I think she had the ingredients for a really standout, *different* story and she chickened out.

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  14. GrowlyCub
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 18:56:17

    I think I read one of the other books, but I didn’t remember enough for it to make a difference. :)

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  15. Janine
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 18:59:34

    @Susan/DC:

    I thought the book would have been more interesting if Ainsley hadn’t already been halfway in love with her. I would have liked to see Ainsley falling in love as he came to know her, in parallel with what happened to as Jayne came to know and fall in love with him.

    I saw your comment to that effect on the AAR boards and I actually mentioned it to the friend who recommended this book to me, because I thought what you said was so astute. I would have loved to see that happen also! When my friend and I were discussing what the story could have been like if it had gone in that direction I thought of marriage of convenience plots, where the abrupt change in relationship status often forces the characters to keep reevaluating each other. Something like that– For Ainsley to slowly get to know Jayne’s dimensions and realize that he admired and was drawn to her — could have been so great here.

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  16. Janine
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 19:03:56

    @Susan/DC & @GrowlyCub:

    I liked that Walfort’s cousin turned out to be a pretty decent guy so it was okay for him to inherit the earldom. However, I was a bit confused by the fact that Jayne and Ainsley’s child became Ainsley’s, rather than Walfort’s, heir. Jayne and Ainsley married before the baby was born, but wouldn’t the fact the the baby was conceived during her marriage to Walfort mean it would be Walfort’s heir? The issue of biological parenthood didn’t really come into it, as I understand the law back then, so the end of the book confused me.

    I haven’t researched this but I have heard others say the same thing. I didn’t make it this far in the book, but there were enough implausibilities for me already. Especially Ainsley and Jayne’s idea of discretion.

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  17. Janine
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 19:06:56

    Walfort felt like a cop out to me. Not entirely villainous, but not nice enough that readers would be upset that she killed him off. I think she had the ingredients for a really standout, *different* story and she chickened out.

    I don’t want to speculate on the editorial process for this book and whether or not Heath had a different story in mind at one time because that’s impossible to know.

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  18. Janine
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 19:10:20

    @Meoskop: Sorry, missed your comment before! The mother and Leo’s storyline was in some ways more interesting to me than the Ainsley/Jayne storyline because the characters weren’t quite so perfect and saintly. However, since both storylines felt rushed to me, I do agree that it would have been better to reserve it for a different book.

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  19. GrowlyCub
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 19:13:41

    @Janine: I didn’t think in terms of editorial or even self-censoring, but more in the sense of ‘I can see the (riskier) potential, I wish it had been realized’.

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  20. Janine
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 19:16:42

    @GrowlyCub: Ah, I see what you mean! I felt that way too. But for me it was less about a lack of risk taking than about aspects of the writing that impeded the execution I wanted — particularly pacing, consistency of characterization, and prose.

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  21. GrowlyCub
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 19:18:23

    And to totally change the subject, did anybody else have a funny reaction to Jane’s name? Because my first thought was, Jane Seymour, Henry IV, dead wives, followed by ‘Sully’! :)

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  22. Janine
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 19:27:30

    Yes! My first thought was Jane Seymour the actress. My earliest and most immediate association with her is, of all things, the Bond movie “Live and Let Die” which I caught on network TV when I was a young teen. Then I thought the Jayne spelling seemed unusual and I wondered if it was there to differentiate the heroine from her real life counterpart. Lastly I thought of King Henry’s wife.

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  23. Janet W
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 20:27:39

    Have you read Balogh’s Gentle Conquest? Not only is the hero, an earl, certain that his wife’s child can’t possibly be his, he’s prepared, no questions asked, to accept the baby as his heir. I can’t quite remember the details but he doesn’t even do that “hope it’s a girl” thing. Of course, “all is revealed” but Ralph’s gentle, serene, utterly beta but strong personality really comes to the fore during that section of the book.

    I’ve liked Heath (the Texas books more) and this does sound interesting so I might keep my eye out for it. I would like to know the legal side tho: I had always thought any issue from a widow (within first 9 months after husband’s death) was considered the legal heir. Not that I don’t believe dukes could re-arrange such things fairly easily. But I’m curious.

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  24. Janine
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 20:34:14

    No, I haven’t read that particular Balogh yet. She is a prolific author with a long backlist, which is something I appreciate, but I probably haven’t read even half of her books yet.

    I too would be interested in learning more about the legal issue.

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  25. swati
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 22:18:31

    I am glad that i wasn’t the only one. I love Heath but something kept nagging me when i read this book. I just kept thinking that it could have been so much more.
    Him being a duke was completely superfluous to the story. He didn’t act like one nor did anyone treat him like one. I usually don’t like books where people fall in love off the pages. It takes away from the story. And i didn’t like how Jane went from hating him to thinking he is such a good man in a split second.I never had a problem with walfort though. I understood his motivations. I thought he was the most well etched out character of the book.
    So much potential but sadly it fell way short.

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  26. Kaetrin
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 06:09:23

    @janetW I’d love to read Gentle Conquest – if only I could get a hold of a copy! I wish she would or was able to (as the case may be) release the OOP regencies as ebooks

    Sorry, off topic…

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  27. Nicole
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 07:34:50

    It’s simply a legal presumption that the child born during a marriage is that of the husband. This means it can be rebutted if there is evidence to the contrary. No one would really challenge Ainsley’s heir (although I suppose if a cousin got wind of Jane’s stupid delaying in getting married then they could try to make a run at the title in court), but Walfort’s cousin could have definitely challenged the child being Walfort’s heir with all the evidence regarding Walfort’s disability and Ainsley and Jane’s indiscreet behaviour.

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  28. GrowlyCub
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 08:51:50

    I’ve done some research (well asked somebody else to do it, grin) and been getting some fascinating replies. It’s still an evolving answer. I’ll ask whether I can share it here when the final verdict comes down. ;)

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  29. Janet
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 11:44:29

    I share many of the concerns, especially about the careless writing, but, in a complete turn-around for me – I loved the emotional inconsistencies. It seems totally natural for these three people to be irrational. While the set-up is contrived, it does allow for a range of deeply felt emotions.
    I also wanted more about WHY Ainsley was so gone for her. I believed it – but wanted a bit more. And more about Walfort as well and better understanding how Jayne could love him so. And what about her past?

    Hardly ever do I have so many questions, that keep me thinking after I’m done reading. I think this book is on the verge of being really good.

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  30. Janine
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 12:37:05

    @swati: I thought I was the only one too, since I’ve seen a lot of people praise the book. For me it was a really frustrating read. I partly agree re. Walfort. Although I don’t consider him well etched, I did see complexity in him. I wish we had been privy to more of his thoughts and feelings — it might have helped me feel that he was more consistent. Incidentally, when you say you understood his motivations, what did you feel they were? To give Jayne a child in order to make her happy, or to give her a child in order to bring her down to his level of having a child out of wedlock too?

    @Kaetrin: Balogh’s old trads are being rereleased, but only slowly and gradually. I think at the end of October The Famous Heroine and The Plumed Bonnet will be rereleased, in a 2-in-1 edition, like Dark Angel and Lord Carew’s Bride were last year.

    @Nicole: I don’t know enough about it but based on the debate about that here and elsewhere, I’m not sure it’s as clear cut as that.

    @GrowlyCub: I’m so glad your friend is looking into it! Keep us posted on what she (or he) discovers.

    @Janet: I understand what you are saying but the irrationalities here didn’t feel natural to me. Here is a list of inconsistencies in Ainsley’s character that bothered me, for example:

    Opposed to adutlery/Kisses married woman
    Loving and devoted/Sleeps around
    Aristocratic duke/Humble and doesn’t seem cognizant of his station
    Says he respects Jayne’s rules/Tromps all over them at 1st opportunity
    Described as discreet/Exposes Jayne to rumor and scandal
    Supposedly loves Jayne/Doesn’t even get mad at Walfort for asking him to bring his mistress into Jayne’s house

    Now maybe some of these could be put down to an internal conflict, but I don’t think all of them can. Or at least, I can’t view all of them that way.

    Good point re. wanting to know more about why Ainsley fell for Jayne. I did too. I like Susan/DC’s suggestion best but I think it could also have been more believable to me if Ainsley had fallen in love with Jayne after seeing her devotion and loyalty to Walfort in the wake of the carriage accident. However, he was said to have fallen in love with her long before that, at first sight, when he met her at Walfort’s betrothal dinner. I really needed more than just a brief mention of her grace, poise and beauty to explain that.

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  31. Jane
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 12:48:09

    @Janine What I want to know is if this book is about Jayne or me. ;)

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  32. Janine
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 13:02:56

    @Jane: LOL! I thought of you guys every time I wrote the word “Jayne” in my review. I am so used to referring to you that I kept spelling it “Jane.”

    Are you familiar with Victorian law? I would love to know the answer to GrowlyCub and Susan/DC’s legal question.

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  33. Jane
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 13:03:57

    @Janine I’m not. Courtney Milan would be the person I would ask. Don’t know if a) she wants to answer or b) has anytime to do so.

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  34. Janine
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 13:13:45

    @Jane: Yeah, I didn’t want to ask Courtney for a review since I imagine her plate must be quite full. But if someone who has done the research is reading this thread, I hope they let us know.

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  35. Kim
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 13:24:18

    @Janine Question:Incidentally, when you say you understood his motivations, what did you feel they were?

    Walfort gave her a child because that’s what she wanted, not to bring her down to his level. By this time, he was an invalid and Jayne took wonderful care of him. He truly grew to care about her and wanted to make her happy. Plus, he felt guilty because he had his “treasures” and she never would.

    Also, I didn’t have a problem with Ainsley bringing the mistress to see Walfort, since it was a deathbed confession. Yes, Jayne was there, but she had the baby she wanted. I think Ainsley was walking a tightrope because he cared about Walfort and Jayne.

    Courtney Milan has blogged in the past that this reference book is a good starting place on English marriages. I’ve only glancd at it, but it probably contains the answer to the legitimacy question.
    http://books.google.com/books?id=cN4TAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA170#v=onepage&q&f=false

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  36. GrowlyCub
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 13:33:07

    @Janine:

    Not a friend. :)

    I asked Nancy Mayer, who specializes in researching Regency England. I’ll report here if she agrees to let me.

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  37. Kim
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 13:47:19

    The answer appears to be on page 430 of the above-referenced book. See what everyone thinks about that passage.

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  38. Kim
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 14:05:25

    Starting on page 430, under the chapter, Illegitimacy of Children Born in Wedlock, a determination can be made if there is evidence of the husband’s non-access. The proof has to be irrefutable since the law equates access with the possibility of procreation. Therefore, if the court determined that it’s impossible for Walfort to have fathered the child, the baby is deemed illegitimate. It appears that the cousin could inherit if he could prove Wolfort wasn’t the father. This wouldn’t be an easy task unless he had Walfort’s doctor testify.

    Now the only question is if Ainsley would be acknowledged as the father by virtue of his hasty marriage. If my reading of the law is correct, since there was no jury decision declaring the child illegitimate, Jayne and Ainsley’s marriage wouldn’t make the baby Ainsley’s heir. He would still be Walfort’s heir.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=cN4TAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA170#v=onepage&q&f=false

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  39. Kim
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 16:49:04

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  40. swati
    Oct 01, 2011 @ 11:19:24

    @janine … Just like Kim said – initially for him it was a typical marriage. HE was ok with her and had a mistress on the side. But after the accident, he truly felt guilty and came to care for her because of how much she did for him.He felt undeserving of such loyalty given that he was cheating on her and she truly had no idea.It was sort of his penance. He wanted her to have a child because he couldn’t give her one and it was what she wanted the most.

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  41. Janine
    Oct 01, 2011 @ 12:13:41

    @Kim: Thanks! That book was written about two decades before the Heath book takes place, so I don’t know if the law was still the same, but it still made for interesting reading and would seem to indicate that the plot may be accurate. I’m not 100% sure since I am not a lawyer or a legal expert. I hope GrowlyCub’s source allows her to post her findings as well.

    @swati & @ Kim, that did seem to be the messsage of the book but I thought the symmetry and irony of Jayne and Ainsley committing adultery and conceiving a child out of wedlock, as Walfort had done, was too perfect, especially in light of Walfort’s feelings of guilt toward Jayne and resentment toward Ainsley (for what he saw as Ainsley’s role in the accident). It seemed quite possible to me that his true motive was less than entirely altruistic. Whether he was selfish or selfless has been debated quite a bit elsewhere, and in this thread GrowlyCub felt that he was a villain, so I think his portrayal wasn’t as clear and consistent as it could have been.

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  42. Kim
    Oct 01, 2011 @ 12:31:29

    @Janine I thought that textbook was fascinating. Even though it was published slightly later than the book’s setting, I’d be surprised if there was a substantial difference in law.

    I had another thought. My above conclusion that the child was Walfort’s assumes that Jayne and Ainsley never testified in Court. I read the book several months ago, so correct me if I’m wrong. While Walfort’s cousin was going to bring suit against Jayne, didn’t Jayne eventually relinquish her child’s interest in the title/estate without a lawsuit? I don’t remember any reference that there was an actual court decision.

    Perhaps the author wanted us to assume that Jayne and Ainsley supported the cousin’s petition in court and that the court issued a finding of illegitimacy. If you accept this premise, then by marrying Jayne before the child’s birth, Ainsley was the legal father. If there was no legal finding, however, then I still say that the child would have been Walfort’s legal heir.

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  43. Janine
    Oct 01, 2011 @ 13:26:04

    @Kim: I stopped reading at p.317 (shortly after Walfort’s funeral) and didn’t get as far as what happened to Walfort’s title and estate, but maybe someone else who read the book could answer your question?

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