- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312982305
- ISBN-13: 978-0312982300
- Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.9 x 2.4 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 713,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
In a bid to start his own socially powerful dynasty (so that he can compete with his legitimately born Kenyon half brothers), rich Samuel Firth marries fifteen year old Lady Cynthia Grey. The only daughter of a gambling mad duke, Cynthia's father agrees to marry off his young daughter in return for money in order to pay off his gambling debts. A shy and scholarly girl, Lady Cynthia approaches her marriage with the notion that she's marrying some kind of romantic hero. Except that Samuel is no romantic hero: he's cold and forbidding and when he tries to consummate his marriage, his young wife breaks down into hysterical tears. Disgusted, Samuel leaves his wife and departs in order to make a trip around the world.
Four years pass, and Cynthia has grown into a lovely and intelligent young woman, used to leading a life without a husband. Desiring her independence, Cynthia hits on the notion of asking for a legal separation from Samuel. And when Samuel gets wind of this, he rushes home to confront his errant wife. A legal separation would not help him in his plan to throw his social success in Kenyons faces. But instead of finding a meek and biddable wife, he finds an independent and determined young lady -- a young lady that he would very much like to bed. And so Samuel comes up with a plan: if Cynthia will live with him for a while, and help him establish himself with the ton, he will sign her separation. Of course Samuel has every intention of seducing his wife into seeing things his way. But he has a lot to contend with: a wife who (apparently) has close ties to his despised Kenyon relatives and who is determined not to share a life with him; someone who is trying to kill him; and a horde of suitors who seem to be in love with his wife! Can Samuel pull off his scheme?
Unfortunately, there is really nothing new (plot-wise) or fresh about "The Wedding Night" -- yet another older man who marries a teenager, and who takes off for 4 years because she's unable to contemplate being bedded by him, but who returns when she demands a legal separation from him -- even the characters are the same stock characters we see in most romance novels: a remote and much misunderstood hero who hides a heart of gold, a heroine who is clever and beautiful and who is still in love with her undeserving spouse, etc. So that whether or not you will glean any satisfaction from reading this novel will depend on whether or not you are a fan of the series. Even there, however, you might be a little disappointed: in earlier novels, the eldest Kenyon brother (Michael) has always expressed reservations about Samuel's character, yet here, every Kenyon is eager to embrace Samuel, thus making his reluctance to have anything to do with them (while understandable) seem churlish. Whatever reservations the Kenyon brothers may have had about Samuel seems to have evaporated somewhere along the way! Even the stalking/attempted murder subplots failed to lift the book from it's average read status.
I found "The Wedding Night" to be a well written novel that rehashed several overused plot devices, and as such was a middling ok-ish read -- but there really was no compelling reason to urge anyone to rush out and buy/borrow this book.
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