Pub Date: March 2014
FTC: Received for free at an RT Convention
I'm not really sure why I stopped reading Eloisa James. Part of it was likely just a result of my 18-month-long reading slump, but I really do like her books. I always have. This one has my kryptonite, though: lots of letters. I'm a sucker for an epistolary novel done right, and this one is fabulous.
The setup is classic historical romance: wealthy man needs perfect, well-born bride to buy his way into legitimacy only to discover his perfect bride-to-be is utterly boring. What makes this one shine is the chemistry and wit throughout. There's snappy banter and then there's this book. The barbs are extremely clever...sometimes double or triple layered in meaning. I mean, so pointed that I was laughing out loud, and not in an easy, slapstick way.
The only things that detracted from the story for me was the requisite overly serious child and the weird, jumbled ending. I'm not sure I would have made the same choices James did with Rose, simply because it seemed unnecessary. Having Rose be overly sober and excessively smart was an odd decision on her part because I didn't feel it added anything to the story. And the madcap wild goose chases in the end seemed a bit tacked on and didn't fit the tone of the rest of the book. Neither was enough to affect my enjoyment, though. This is the best historical romance I've read in ages.
My Grade: A-
Having made a fortune, Thorn Dautry, the powerful bastard son of a duke, decides that he needs a wife. But to marry a lady, Thorn must acquire a gleaming, civilized façade, the specialty of Lady Xenobia India.
Exquisite, headstrong, and independent, India vows to make Thorn marriageable in just three weeks.
But neither Thorn nor India anticipate the forbidden passion that explodes between them.
Thorn will stop at nothing to make India his. Failure is not an option.
But there is only one thing that will make India his . . . the one thing Thorn can't afford to lose . . . his fierce and lawless heart.