Saturday, July 23, 2011
Waking up with the Duke
Lady Jayne Seymour, Marchioness of Walfort, has resigned herself to her life; passionless and without children. Her husband, the Marquess of Walfort, was paralized in a riding accident while out carousing with his best friend Ransom Seymour, the Duke of Ainsley, and Jayne has held Ainsley responsible ever since. But three years after the accident Walfort decided that his wife deserved children and his plan is for Ainsley to get Jayne pregnant. He knows that Jayne does not like Ainsley so he is not worried about feelings developing and he trusts both of them implicitly. Jayne finds the idea ridiculous and is hurt that Walfort would suggest it, while Ainsley is intrigued by the idea because he has always admired Jayne, but knows that Jayne would never agree. With Walfort's encouragement Ainsley sets out to charm Jayne and while she knows she is being charmed, after a kiss that awakens all the passion she had sought to repress, she agrees to the arrangement with some rules of her own. But it quickly becomes apparent that rules have no place during their month long sojourn at Ainsley's country cottage.
Jayne finds that there is so much more to Ainsley than she had previously thought- he proves that he cares about her feelings and he is understanding about the difficult situation she finds herself in. He reintroduces her to the joys of life; looking at stars, climbing trees, going for long walks, and introduces her to sensual delights she never dreamed possible; sex in daylight, spending the day in bed, and love making beyond her wildest dreams. And the feelings Ainsley had for Jayne before their month together grow in proportion to how much he comes to know her and how loyal, caring, and beautiful she is. Neither wants to admit how much the month has meant to them and they both know that their eventual parting will be much more difficult than they imagined. But they must indeed part and go back to their lives, even if they will never be the same again. Both go on with their lives, but they cannot forget what happened there and even their family members recognize that something has changed. There is a lot that stands between them and happiness; lies, loyalty, friendship and husbands but happily ever after is possible.
Jayne was a perfectly well developed character with real faults and real emotions and I just could not believe how much I fell in love with her. Ainsley had his problems as well that created real emotional turmoil within him and, and his treatment of Jayne and Walfort made it hard not to fall in love with him myself. Jayne was so great as the dedicated wife who was not being satisfied because she was so obviously trying her hardest, and succeeding, but she so needed to find someone like Ainsley. And Ainsley really was as perfect as I stated above because he treated Jayne like a princess and was so amazingly conscious of what she was going through and did so much to put her at ease and make sure she had a great time, both sexually and emotionally. Ainsley had apparently been in love with Jayne to some extent before the story began, but it was still so clear why these two fell in love and why they were so perfect together. There was plenty of sex between them and while it was not hot, I truly felt like it was incredibly emotional and really aided in the development in their relationship.
I was skeptical when I first heard about the impetuous for getting Jayne and Ainsley together, but I was quickly won over because it was not done in a sordid or voyeuristic manner. The reasons were explained very well, and I appreciated getting the point of view from all of the characters who were involved in this decision. No one entered this situation lightly and I admired that they all recognized that there were bound to be consequences that they hadn't expected and tried to live with them when everything had ended. Perhaps the only thread in this tapestry that was left untied was Walfort's actions on the night when his accident occurred and the secrets he has been keeping since. Jayne's quickness to forgive and her actions after the truth is revealed made her a little to saintlike for me and while it was supposed to make her seem noble, I was frustrated because I wanted her to yell and get angry like I was. I also felt like it was an attempt to justify Jayne's actions, thereby implying that they might have been wrong. I also really liked the side romance between Ainsley's mother and her long-time young lover- so fun!
Rating: This book really almost struck me as perfect, but the truth about Walfort did make me angry. Overall this book had amazing characters and plot and was just beautiful really.