Spoiler alert! A strong heroine but stupidly long suffering and a truly horrible hero. I didn't get the chemistry between the two main protagonists at all. Heroine Millie is always destined for an arranged marriage - her father has made his money through tinning sardines and wants to marry her into the aristocracy. Hero Fitz needs to marry money to save his estate. He gives up his first love to marry poor Millie who, unfortunately for her, falls in love with him at first glance - just because he's good looking. They make an unlikely pact to live separate lives for the first 8 years of their marriage (she is 16 and he 19 at the time). The hero Fitz is irredeemably selfish, self centred and insensitive from the get go in particular on their honeymoon when he almost drinks himself to death because he feels so sorry for himself. There was no reason to like him at all - he wallows in self pity from the start, never tries to see anything from his poor 16 yr old wife's point of view, has affairs left, right and centre that she is totally aware of, blatantly pines for his lost love who goes off and marries someone else - what on earth is there to like about him? I found him and his behaviour cringe making throughout. Yes you get flashbacks about how their 'friendship' grows and they make their marriage work but it's all done on such a horrible basis. Finally his first love's husband dies and she comes back to London and this is at the end of their 8 year pact. Fitz then makes a truly hideous deal with poor long suffering Millie - he will finally take her to bed for 6 months so that he can give her an heir before he goes off to set up a home with his first love all whilst still being married to Millie. Wow and in the end he finds out that actually he's now in love with Millie and he'd really rather stay with her. The final reconciliation scene is laughably quick and easy. He is hardly made to suffer for his dreadful behaviour - she's just so happy to have him in spite of everything. Nasty story which left horrible taste. I've liked most of her other stories and she writes well but not this one....
on 1 September 2012
Sherry Thomas is a lovely writer and is the author of one of my favourite historical romance novels - Not Quite a Husband. She's an auto-buy author for me. Ravishing the Heiress is the second book in the Fitzhugh trilogy, after Beguiling the Beauty. Millicent and Hugh were introduced in the first book but it's not necessary to have read the first story to enjoy the second.
Millicent and Hugh have been married eight years. Their union is an arranged marriage of convenience. As a young man Hugh inherited an impoverished and debt-ridden earldom, forcing him to marry Millie for her vast wealth. At the time of the marriage Hugh was both bitter and heartbroken because circumstances have forced him to leave Isabelle, the woman he loved.
Millie was raised to assume to role of lady of the manor. She knew her fate was to marry her the man her father selected and is realistic enough to understand that she has little choice in the matter. She's rather shocked to fall head over heels for Hugh at first sight.
Millie's and Hugh's story is told through scenes set both in their present and over the years of their marriage as they built a life together .Ravishing the Heiress is a slow romance - by choice the H/h have lived a platonic marriage - they are friends who respect and admire each other. The force of change in their lives is the return of Isabelle, Hugh's childhood sweetheart.
I really enjoyed this beautifully written story. The characters and their back stories are exceptionally well developed. Millie is a sympathetic character and Hugh though somewhat tiresome initially, is also enjoyable. It's refreshing to read a story where the characters respect and admire each other. The glimpses into how Millie and Hugh built their life together were very well done. I felt the ending was a little abrupt, but that's a little grumble in an otherwise positive review. If you appreciate slow and sweet romance novels, then this is the book for you.
My Rating: 7.5/10
on 21 August 2012
Another fabulous read from Sherry Thomas - she's not disappointed me yet! This story fulfilled my craving for a marriage-of-convenience story and also ticked one of my other favourite boxes - that of friends who fall for each other. Okay, so strictly speaking, the heroine is in love with the hero from the get-go, but their friendship is nonetheless very warm and very real.
It's angsty and romantic and thoroughly engaging. Can't wait for the next one!