PUBLISHER: Onyx, 2/1993
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1807-1814
SERIES: Rakes, #1
AUTHOR BIO: link
MY GRADE: B-
FROM PUBLISHER: When Elinor Ashton's debt-ridden father forces her into a loveless marriage with the elderly but enormously wealthy Lord Kingsley, she becomes the unhappiest bride of London society... and the property of a man whose jealousy leads him to concoct an unspeakable scheme.
Lucien de Clare is Regency England's handsomest and most brazen lord, a man whose scandalous behavior had closed the doors of polite society against him, making him the perfect pawn in Kingsley's despicable plot to secure an heir. But the scenario for deceitful seduction yields to true desire, as Lucien is overcome by Elinor's beauty and charm... and as Elinor opened her innocent heart to Lucien's demanding passion, releasing a rush of excitement, terror, and longing. And not even treacherous intrigue and vengeful deeds can temper the power of their hungry kisses... or dampen the fire that makes their love glow...
MY THOUGHTS: This review contains spoilers. Lucien is a hard, unhappy man. He's got black hair and brown eyes. He's ten years older than Elinor. He hated his cheating father and has a bit of hatred for his mother, who killed herself when he was younger. He and Elinor have a brief run-in with each other near the beginning of the story and he's been attracted to her ever since.
Elinor was sold, basically, to Arthur Kingsley when she was 15 by her gambling-addicted father. She's got red hair and golden eyes. Arthur is 61 and very controlling. He beat her with his cane several times. He even dumped their baby out of her crib once, right onto the bedroom floor. He's very jealous of her friendship with his grandson Charles, who's just a few months older than Elinor. Charles ends up falling in love with her and tells her so but she doesn't feel the same for him. She loves him like a brother.
This book is from 1993 but is more like one from the 70's and 80's. I love that about it. It's aggravating that the hero and heroine don't become a couple until the very end. This story could have been so much better had they begun their affair sooner. The story sort of drags on and I wish it had been shorter. One thing that irritated me was once before Elinor and Lucien got together she was thinking to herself that she may be in love with him. Up until that point the reader was given absolutely no indication that she felt that way. She seemed to not be able to stand him and now she's in love with him? I'm not buying it. Later on when they begin a relationship together so that she can get pregnant and give the now 65 year old Arthur his heir, I can see how she's developed feelings for him and has fallen in love with him.