The last of the Legend of St. Dwynwen trilogy by Candace Camp features a few familiar tropes - friends to lovers, marriage of convenience - but nonetheless creates a good, though perhaps not superb, read.
This was a satisfying read involving a marriage of convenience turning into something more. While the story has a few bumps in the middle and a rather abrupt ending, the first half of the book made up for its somewhat convoluted resolution. I may be of the minority of readers who like the heroine, Genevieve, more than the hero, Myles, for the fact that Genevieve has a far greater depth of character than the archetypal kind and charming Myles, whose exhibition of a myriad of pig-headed behavior lessened my esteem for him.
The story starts with the wedding of Genevieve's brother, Alec, the Earl of Rawdon(A Summer Seduction), and introduces the familiar cast of characters from the previous books who are heavily involved in this one. Genevieve is known as an ice princess, a cold beauty whose seemingly haughty demeanor and strict adherence to proper behavior leaves only faraway admirers. She is a childhood friend of Sir Myles Thorwood, and their teasing dialogue reveals a friendly relationship that is unlikely to be anything more. However, months later, Genevieve is placed in a scandalous situation, her fiance having cried off, and Myles steps up to offer his name in order to save her reputation. Neither wanted to marry the other, but both are convinced to make the best out of this marriage. Can love possibly enter the equation?
The spark between Genevieve and Myles ignited their passion and sustained the story to a blissful respite until the midpoint, when the question of the culprit who tried to besmirch Genevieve's reputation came up. Genevieve's cold demeanor has been thawing under Myles's care, and she has repeatedly shown herself to be kind and caring, even to spend hours playing with Myles's nieces and nephews. Genevieve's coldness is in actuality a facade, crafted under the guidance of her noble grandmother, and one she uses to hide her insecurities. Indeed, Genevieve so often disparages herself that she seems to lack confidence, actualizing the rumors of her coldness. Her devotion to her grandmother to make a match befitting their noble lineage and her loyalty to her brother show her to be a noble character. Her initial reason to refuse Myles, on the basis that he deserved better then a cold woman, also proved her to possess a heart. It annoyed me greatly that many people in the story kept on mentioning her not having a heart, when that is entirely false.
Myles, I felt, could have done with a bit more intellect. Sure, he was charming to begin with, and was kind to Genevieve, but he so often lashed out hurtful words and behaved like an idiot in the latter half of the book that I had trouble believing his laconic declaration of love in the end, literally on the last page. I also do not feel that he deserved Genevieve, as it took him a long time to see the true Genevieve, and harbored foolish notions of her only caring for a title.
The mystery aspect of the novel was left with an abrupt resolution (the culprit was also fairly obvious) with nothing on a due punishment or consequences. As it stands, I feel there were far too many love scenes and not enough on the rest to balance out the plot of the story, but perhaps a good epilogue could have remedied that.
Though this book has some flaws, it is fairly engaging and makes for a good afternoon's read. If nothing else, read this for Candace Camp's lyrical writing and lush imagery as they do make up in part for the deficiencies in plot and the hero.
*I received an ARC from the publisher via edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*