Saturday, April 20, 2013

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

A Change of Heart by Candice Hern -- Regency Romance

Jack "Black Jack" Raeburn has unexpectedly inherited the title of Marquess of Pemworth after the deaths of his father, two older brothers and young nephew. The estate was left heavily in debt and if Jack doesn't find money soon, he will be in serious trouble. He may even have to leave off his mistress! Jack decides to look for an heiress to wed and has his sites set on some young ladies on the ton when he is surprised by a lady offering veiled hints as to which lady he should choose to dance with. Lady Mary Haviland, a 29 year old spinster, is enjoying herself watching the ladies and gentlemen flirt. Too old and plain to be of interest herself, she is content to watch from a distance. She decides to befriend Jack and help him choose a bride. He omits to tell her the real reason he needs to marry and when he discovers that his good friend Mary is in possession of a an enormous fortune of her own, he thinks she may be the perfect bride after all. Mary has inner demons she doesn't let anyone see. Only her companion, Olivia, knows the truth about Mary's fragile state. Mary longs to be loved but she isn't sure Jack can ever be the one who will give her the love she needs. Jack doesn't intend to hurt Mary or let her know he's a fortune hunter but he can not give her his heart for it was broken many years ago. A visit to his childhood home may bring about the romance they both desire if only they would open up to each other. This story has great potential. I like the idea of two wounded souls coming together. Elements of the story are very good in isolation but together, the plot did not thrill me. The story took an unexpected direction that I would not have taken and if I had chosen that path, I would have avoided the cliche and done something more meaningful to bring the characters together. As it stands, the plot is very slow moving and a lot of the relationship between Jack and Mary is told as they observe each other but do not interact. The story takes too long to get to the point. I loved Mary. She's intelligent, self-assured and outspoken but she's also psychological scarred from years of living with an abusive father. However, I think her back story is a bit far fetched. Surely the solicitor should have done something! Jack, on the other hand, is not at all to my liking. He's disgusting, despicable, likely diseased, proud, stupid and selfish. Mary doesn't deserve him. I was starting to like him in the middle, but then he went and made me despise him. This story is technically kisses only but it's not what I would call sweet. Regina Scott's early books for Zebra have similar plots and I enjoyed those much more. 

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