Friday, August 26, 2011
Guarding a Notorious Lady
Lady Rosalind Devine is on the shelf after several seasons because she is holding out for true love and the only man she will ever love is her older brother's best friend, Nicholas Kincaid. She has enjoyed being in London Society as quite the matchmaker, which has lead both of her brother's to believe she is meddlesome. Her unmarried state has also attracted a lot of notice and the betting books at White's heat up with wagers over who she will marry, right as her older brother goes on his honeymoon. He fears her being pursued by bounders and fortune hunters so appoints someone to be her "secret guardian" and Rosalind is of course furious when she finds out and even more so when no one will tell her who it is. She is surprised when she runs into Nicholas in town since he is such a country bumpkin, and shocked to learn that he has become the Marquess of Winterbourne. Nicholas is not looking forward to being Rosalind's guardian because he has secretly wanted her for years, but he owes her brother a favor so he agrees, unaware how hard being so close to her will be for his control.
Rosalind loves that Nicholas is suddenly so near to her and wants to find a way of becoming closer with her, but she also wants to draw out her protector. She courts scandal by running around at balls, allowing courting men into her house, and changing her plans at the last minute and it runs Nicholas mad. Seeing how beautiful she and how she interacts with those around her makes it impossible to keep his hands off her. Several clumsy moments end up with them in compromising positions and they cannot keep their hands off each other. However, Rosalind manages to figure out that Nicholas is her guardian and she is determined to make his life as miserable as possible and simultaneously to make him fall in love with her because he is the only man she will ever love. But with the kidnapper becoming even more active he and her brother decide that removing her to the countryside is the best for everyone, however it really only serves to provide the two of them with more alone time. Nicholas needs to stop fearing love and Rosalind must help him through this before they can have their happily ever after.
The book begins with both of them already in love with each other, and like most books of this ilk, it kind of just progresses from there as if we, the readers, should understand why they love each other. This was definitely the case here because there was no becoming reacquainted, no exploration of or musings about what makes the other so lovable, no falling in love. Let's face it; that's what I want in a romance novel and this was just incredibly disappointing to me, because I really couldn't figure out what did make them fall in love with each other except for their attraction for each other, which is always nice but not all that I want to read in a romance novel. Both of the characters were not explored in depth, thus why I couldn't figure out the falling in love, so I found them rather bland with nothing really special about them. Nicholas had loyalty to Rosalind's brother and was caring towards his sister and nieces while Rosalind apparently showed her good nature by arranging matches for unsuspecting people of the ton who needed some quiet help. Neither made for a great romance novel character.
They did not spent that much time together and far too much of that time was spent with one or the other mad at each other or trying to make the other mad. The best friend's sister thing could have lead to some wonderful angst, but instead he just "knew" he couldn't be with her without really expressing why and it was really irritating because it was a huge impediment and yet wasn't really voiced. Her dislike of having a guardian was unacceptable, however she continued to be mad after a man was stalking her and attempted to kidnap her; a sensible woman would have realized she needed some help. It just seemed like a little too much argument for argument's sake alone. However, before that incident it did seem a little much to me that her brother would give her a guardian and make it someone like Nicholas, although maybe if we'd seen men really chasing her it would have made more sense. The stalker/ kidnapper was almost non-existant for except for probably 10 pages in the entire book; pretty much pointless but at least it didn't become a stand in for what little romance there was.
Rating: A pretty boring book with bland characters and next to no romance or sex. It was certainly a fast read and I didn't absolutely hate it.