Review: Unveiled by Courtney Milan

Format: Mass Market
Pub Date: January 25, 2011
Publisher: HQN (Harlequin)
FTC: Digital copy received from publisher through Netgalley

This is probably one of my favorite historical reads of the last six months. And Ash Turner is one of my favorite historical heroes—ever.

"You matter. You are important." Who doesn't find that sexy?

Both Ash and Margaret are incredibly self aware. It's something I've noticed in Courtney Milan's writing before. And while some may find it off-putting, I find it fascinating. I like that Ash knows his personality flaws but cannot see beyond his immediate goals to the consequences of his actions. I like that Margaret realizes just what it is about Ash that attracts her. And that she clearly sees to the root of Ash's ability to charm people, but allows him to charm her anyway.

I had a few quibbles about Ash (even though he is swoon-worthy). Sometimes, he seemed just too good to be true. As if Milan was making him so wonderful to counterbalance the havoc he wreaked with his push to become the duke. He is egalitarian, honorable, loyal to his family, gentle with Margaret. All we needed was him rescuing a battered puppy and an unrelated orphan or two to complete the picture. Still... all of those patient, honorable traits are precisely why Margaret falls so deeply for him.

I enjoyed the secondary characters in the novel, but was confused by the short shrift given Ash's other brother. We see quite a bit of Mark but only a few pages of Smite. I'm not sure if that's sequel baiting or not, but it felt weird to have him pop into the story out of nowhere, render judgment, then pop back out of the story never to be heard from again. Family, the meaning of it and the loyalty it can demand, is a primary theme of the book.

Unveiled is a little more complex than it appears at first glance.  And while the plot doesn't really deviate too far from the expected paths, the characters (and the premise) provide a fresh and moving read.

My Grade: A- 

Buy your copy at the Book Depository, BN.com, Amazon, Powells, your local bookstore or B*A*M.

The Blurb:

He was her bitterest enemy….

Ash Turner has waited a lifetime to seek revenge on the man who ruined his family, and now the time for justice has arrived. At Parford Manor, he intends to take his place as the rightful heir to the dukedom, and settle an old score with the current duke once and for all. But when he arrives, he finds himself drawn to a tempting beauty who has the power to undo all his dreams of vengeance.…

And her dearest love...

Lady Margaret knows she should despise the man who’s stolen her fortune and her father’s legacy—the man she’s been ordered to spy on in the guise of a nurse. Yet the more she learns about the new duke, the less she can resist his smoldering appeal. Soon Margaret and Ash find themselves torn between old loyalties—and the tantalizing promise of passion….

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