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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 March 2015
Not my favourite novel in this series. I've read several of CM's novels and would say that, in general, I am a fan but she does not always sustain her series as well as other writers do. Ned is a sweet character in the other novels but this, his story, began to grate on me fairly quickly. There was altogether too much introspective anguish over 'control' which led to frustrating encounters with Kathleen. I found myself muttering 'Oh, for god's sake, just talk to her." so many times!!
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on 8 January 2015
I've now read all of Courtney Milan's books and unfortunately I accidentally saved the worst until last.
Not enjoying this one very much, not as much character depth as in her other series. In fact I haven't really enjoyed the Carhart series very much at all, I'd personally just read her other books and give this one a miss.
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on 24 July 2013
The characterisation was very good as was the storyline. I enjoyed reading this book and will definitely put it in my favourites and enjoy reading it again.
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on 24 October 2014
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on 21 August 2014
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on 8 April 2018
OK, I won't say this is a bad book. I know Milan is quite popular. I've even read and enjoyed some of her books. But the simple fact of the matter is that I DID NOT LIKE THIS BOOK. That's the truth of it.

I found Ned horribly selfish, from start to finish. Yes, I understood that he was young and fighting demons, that he regretted having left and was trying to make amends. My problem was that he returned just as selfish as he left. I didn't find his fear a good enough excuse for the fact that he allowed his own wants to overshadow Kate's openly expressed desires, over and over again, hurting her repeatedly.

Further, I didn't understand why she continued to trust and love him. And that after the simple fact that after a 3 year absence (in a three month marriage), I wouldn't have been inclined to forgive him in the first place, let alone over and over again.

Then, there was the domestic violence aspect. Milan spouts all the right words about it not being a woman's fault, etc. But then she sculpted a heroine who laughed in the face of an abusive man. Yes, he was going to hurt her regardless, so why give him her fear. But it totally glossed over the fact that he very well could have killed her and purposefully antagonizing him isn't admirable. Placation isn't weakness if it keeps you alive. And of course the abused woman eventually stands tall and confronts her abuser. While I understand how this was supposed to be a triumph, if you really look at the inverse of it, regardless of what Milan espoused in the narrative, it all suggests that women who don't laugh in the face of their abuser or stand tall because they're so strong must in fact be weak. I was offended by the whole storyline.

Note: I won a copy through Goodreads. I chose to read and review it.
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on 4 October 2010
Trial by Desire is the first book I read by Courtney Milan. I was not halfway through the book that I already decided I would read her previous book Proof of Seduction as soon as possible! I love the author's writing style. Trial by Desire might not have the most original story you've ever read, but the characters really stand out. And this, my friends, is what I loved most about this book.

I was hooked from the first few pages. We meet Kathleen and her new husband Ned just a few weeks after their wedding. This is when Ned announces her he will leave for China to conduct some business for his cousin'. for a few years (Wait that's all in the prologue I'm not spoiling anything lol). When Ned comes back, Kathleen's secret is at risk. She hid away the wife of one of Ned's friend and she fears she will be discovered. I won't tell more of the story so I won't spoil anything but this is central to the story.

The plot is not the most complicated but there's an underlining tension throughout the book that made it perfect. What made this book brilliant? The characters! Ned is a puzzle for me. Even after finishing the book I still don't get him completely. This is all about control and proving one's strength (and Slaying Dragons!! lol) . I felt for him and his struggles. Even if I didn't really understand his behavior I was really sad for him (1). He is really complex and I was nearly crying (Ok maybe I cried a little) when I realized the extend of his suffering (e.g. Boat'you'll see when you read). But Ned is also the nicest man you can find. He is funny and he wants the best for his wife (and he's freaking handsome, but that's just a plus lol).

Kathleen wants her husband. She wants to be a wife and longs for any kind of intimacy between them. This book is beautiful, some scenes were absolutely amazing. So much tenderness it made my heart bleeds! Some kissing scenes were the most beautiful I've ever read. Ned is the one holding back (for reasons I won't reveal *evil grin*). So what else can I tell you? Well the smex scenes are VERY erotic (e.g. Wall smex!!!!!) and you really don't want to miss that.

So in short, Courtney Milan's writing is beautiful. The characters have depth. The story is simple enough to be realistic. And the ending left me smiling from ear to ear. I can't recommend enough this book. It's a superb love story. I cannot wait to read other books by Courtney Milan!

5 Stars read for me!

(1) A friend pointed out to me what was wrong with Ned. And WOW, how did I miss that. It's clear as water. I mean I realized he was prone to depression and I should have made the link. He is either too full of energy or completely depressed. I'm still shocked I didn't realize that while reading the book. O_o I stand by my point, Courtney Milan's characters really are special and fantastic. (Even when I'm being dense)
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on 23 February 2012
This book seems to me to be an exercise in navel-gazing.In the book there is a sadistic wife-beater and part of the plot consists of bringing him to boot. In this period I don't think this would have happened, what happened between man and wife was a private matter, and the wife was virtually her husband's property. This is the period when soldiers and school children were flogged and slavery continued in the U.S.
In any case, by the end of the book I didn't really care what happened to any of them .The author sort of apologises in the end for messing with the actual law for the sake of the plot, but the England she writes of does not feel right for the period, and she's no Dickens.
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