Anne Danvers has been engaged to Rhys Carlisle, current Duke of Carlisle, since she was a little girl and while he has changed over the years he has known her she has always been in love with him. She knows he is cold, often pompous, and can be quite mean to those he feels are beneath him, but she harbors hope that she can make him fall in love with her. After their honeymoon his friend Simon, the Duke of Billingham, visits to inform him that Rhys is actually the result of an affair his mother had with his (Simon's) father. Rhys is completely thrown as his whole life it has been drilled into him that blood and titles are all important and he runs away. Anne is both terrified and angry when he leaves and decides that she wants to fight as hard as she can to bring her husband back, even though she doesn't know the reason behind his fit, so she heads off to the seashore to make him love her.
Rhys decides that the best thing to do is to reveal the truth about his family before the blackmailer can do so. He wants to keep Anne safe so he pushes her away and plans to give her a separation so she can move on with her life when everything comes to light and so that another child won't inherit while carrying non-Carlisle blood. She does not understand his reasoning and sets out to convince him of the wrongness of his decision by seducing him at every possible opportunity and revealing her love for him. The two live an idle life secluded at the cottage, pushing aside the concerns of the real world, but eventually it has to end. Back in London Anne demands to know the truth and when he tells her she is furious that he wants to throw everything away and leaves him. It takes that for him to realize that he too wants to fight for what their love and he has to keep this secret from spreading so he can be with Anne.
Anne and Rhys are not exactly two people I can see together as they seemed rather mismatched. His obsession with blood became old very fast even as it was explained away with his father's own obsession with it. There was a big deal made over how he changed during the course of the book and became more accepting of those who weren't as highly ranked as him. Unfortunately it was really hard to see this happening and I just didn't really see it. This was part of my confusion as to why Anne was in love with him as she had been for years even though he was apparently a pretty awful person who looked down on everyone. She loved him while he was pompous and she loved him when he was hobnobbing with the lower classes and I guess I can give her points for at least being consistent. It almost seemed like the only thing we really know about Anne is that she loves Rhys- and not much else.
They do spend a lot of time together and Anne brings out the best in Rhys, although the best is rather hard to determine when it comes to Rhys, and I liked that she had a good influence on him. I didn't like his determination not to have sex with her and while there was plenty of sex, even if not a lot that could result in a baby with impure blood, but it was actually rather boring and it got repetitive very fast. The plot around him discovering he was a bastard was really well done as we got the story from Rhys and Anne's point of view, and also got to explore it from Simon and Rhy's mother's side as well. The resolution of the blackmail scheme and how Simon and Rhys handled everything also worked out really well. I wish it had been a little more dramatic and clearer that he was doing it for Anne. I did like the writing in this book, it we
nt really fast and I felt like there was not a lot of extra fluff with lots of dialogue between the characters.
Rating: On the whole the relationship and romance was somewhat lacking in my opinion but it did have it's high moments.