With her mother’s passing, Alexandra Bolton gave up on love to take care of her family. Now, with the Bolton name in disgrace due to her father’s profligate ways, marrying an elderly squire might be the only way to save her family from absolute ruin. But when she meets the infamous Duke of Clarewood, old dreams—and old passions—are awakened as never before. Yet she cannot accept his shocking proposition!
He is the wealthiest, most powerful peer in the realm, and having witnessed the cold horror of marriage as a child, he has vowed never to wed. But Alexandra Bolton inflames him as no woman has ever done, and she also serves him his first rejection! Now Clarewood—who always gets what he wants—will choose which rules to play by. But when passion finally brings them together, a terrible secret threatens to tear them apart….
I picked this book up on a whim when my local Borders was going out of business. I wanted to try new Historical Romance authors since I love Jude Deveraux’s books so much and decided to give this a try. And you couldn’t beat it for $1.40. I am SO happy that I picked this book up out of numerous choices. I LOVE LOVE LOVED it!
Seriously, I couldn’t put this book down. I was hooked from the very first word. Alexandra gives up the love of her life to fulfill a vow she made to her mother. While I don’t believe her mother ever intended for her to put her life on hold, that’s exactly what she does to take care of her two younger sisters and increasingly drunk and belligerant father. Unable to afford the basic things that the ladies of her class takes for granted, Alexandra considers marrying a much older Squire in order to provide financially for her family. But when the Squire invites her family to a ball, she meets and falls head over heels for Stephen Mowbray, the Duke of Clarewood.
Alexandra is duty bound. She is a woman of her word and takes her responsibilities seriously. But she is also unfailingly kind and is unwilling to accept handouts or charity. Even when faced with viscious and untrue gossip, Alexandra holds her head up high and refuses to let anyone see her sweat. The girl is made of some strong stuff and has a will of steel.
Stephen Mowbray is your typical tall dark and handsome duke though his story is a little unusual. He is the bastard son of Sir Rex de Warrene, but was raised by Tom Mowbray the Duke of Clarewood as his own. But the Duke always resented the fact that he could never have a child of his own and treated Stephen with contempt. Mirroring his Father, Stephen is cold, calculating, and always gets what he wants without making promises in return. Forunately Stephen isn’t all hard. His close cousins and half brothers and sisters showed him kindness and love throughout his life, and his birth father always lets him know that he is proud of him. Stephen does great things for the poor and downtrodden, and always treats his family well.
The romance between these two was spellbinding. Of course riddled with problems and misunderstandings. There were a few times that Stephen really pissed me off. I didn’t like that he felt so entitled without any thought of the consequences for others. And Alexandra exasperated me when she wouldn’t take the time to explain herself. She’d just accept his fury and run off without even trying to make him understand her. But even so, the story was captivating and I just had to know what was going to happen.
Joyce did a great job with this book. I loved meeting the de Warrene clan and the love between Stephen and Alexandra could not be denied. Depsite the gossip, the lies, and the obstacles, these two finally managed to get it right. My only complaint is that Joyce really used the word dismayed A LOT! OMG everybody was dismayed all the time! Other than that, great book and I will be getting the other de Warrene titles.
Filed in: Fiction, Historicals, Reviews, Romance Tags: Books, Brenda Joyce, Fiction, Historicals, Review, Romance