60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Our story begins in March, 1819. Lady Ava Fairchild is heartbroken when Aunt Cassandra dies. Then her stepfather, Lord Downey, absconds with the fortune and disappears for a year. Ava, her younger sister, Phoebe, and her cousin, Greer, are left in the cold hands of Downey's sister. No money is left for their care. Their time in Society seems to be over. But Ava soon has enough of it and decides to hunt down the rake Jared Broderick. Jared is the Marquis of Middleton and heir to a dukedom. He would be the ticket to their freedom.
Jared is sick of hearing his father, the current Duke of Redford, harp on about settling down and begetting an heir. To shut him up, Jared chooses Ava. Of course, his father is not happy since he had another lady in mind. After all, Ava has no money at all to bring. Yet Jared does not care. Their marriage would be one of convenience. She would give him an heir and stay out of his life otherwise. In return, he would care for her, her sister, and her cousin.
However, Ava soon decides that she does not want a marriage of convenience, she wants passion. So now Ava is out to win her husband's heart, with a bit of help from her unusual maid (former lady of the night).
***** Author, Julia London, takes a realistic situation of the time and turns it into a wonderful romance that will bring a blush to your cheeks and warmth to your heart. Since Ava's maid is a former lady of the night, the bedroom scenes are very steamy. Ava is a very strong heroine that will do anything to help the ones she loves. Her strength and determination is a wonder to behold. The whole plot sounds so simple, yet I found myself unable to put the book down for even the shortest of time. I never got bored or wanted to strangle one of the main characters. No sappy people, well written, and downright enthralling. Highly recommended! *****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2006
I found this book lightweight - not in its physical properties (it was a satisfyingly chunky book at nearly 400 pages) but in terms of its content. The basic story is that Jared, the Marquis of Middleton, is a rake who has numerous affairs but has no wife and legal heir. His father, the Duke of Redford, wants him to settle down and get a legitimate heir but Jared is unwilling.
Ava and her sister Phoebe discover, after their mother's death, that their stepfather will not give them any money - they merely have their small dowries left. Therefore they need to get some money in order to continue to live acceptably and to provide employment for the various people that they have helped (Ava's lady's maid is a former prostitute, the butler is another lame duck, etc).
Of course Ava hits on the plan of marrying the Marquis of Middleton to solve their problems and, spookily, he hits on the plan of marrying Ava to shut his father up. So they marry. After a successful wedding night they become estranged, the reason being that Ava wants his love and thinks he's still seeing his mistress. Jared believes he can't love, it's not within him, so keeps away from his wife - apart from telling her he needs an heir.
It's often said that authors should "show, not tell" what's going on in their characters' lives. This is a very true adage in respect to this book - Julia London TELLS us all the time what people are feeling but we can't really sense/detect this from their behaviour. It's pretty tricky to understand why Jared likes Ava and puts up with her being pretty annoying. And why he just doesn't tell her outright he's not still keeping a mistress - the Big Misunderstanding doesn't work properly when it could so easily be discussed. There's a side plot about an illegitimate son and Ava's cousin travelling in Wales to visit her family (which is no doubt a set up for another book) but I found this book generally pretty dull, I often put it down with boredom and it didn't even have any interesting historical vignettes to keep me interested. As always, the American author included some Americanisms in grammar and speech - and the most notable of these, for me, is the choice of names; I don't think that either Jared or Ava were names commonly used in the Regency. Jared, being a biblical name, might just have turned up - Ava is a German name which I believe first started occurring at the end of the 19th century, so would not have been in this historical/geographical timeframe. What does this say about the author's research?
If you just want basic escapist reading with a dishy leading man and a beautiful heroine then you might like this book. If you want an interesting, in-depth and worthwhile Regency then read Georgette Heyer or Laura Kinsale's "Flowers From The Storm" and leave this book alone.
Its dreadful but its fun, books like this are my guilty pleasure. This is neither the best nor the worst such example of a silly historical romp, but it fulfilled its function, which was to entertain me for a couple of hours. For those seeking great writing, look elsewhere. For those seeking a silly diversion, this may well be just the thing.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 5 July 2007
This is the first book by Julia London I have read, and also the last.
I had read reviews here at Amazon and an excerpt on Julias website, and it looked like a wonderfull book. I was thouroghly disappointed.
Ava marries to save her family, Jared to get an heir. This could have developed in to an interesting story, but it is impossible to feel any kind of connection to the characters or to understand why they act as they do.
And someone claimed that this was a very passionate story? I can only feel sorry if that person thinks this was passion! If you want passion, hot and heavy, try Devil's Bride (Cynster 1) by Stephanie Laurens, That's passion!
I cannot possibly recommend this book.