Thursday, August 18, 2011
A Scoundrel's Surrender
When Caleb Talbot found out that he was the product of an affair his mother had he finds comfort in the arms of his sister-in-law's best friend, Marah Farnsworth. Marah has enjoyed getting to know Caleb during her time in London and when he needs someone to help him in this difficult time she sees how close they have become and expects that their relationship will only deepen. But in his hurt Caleb turns his back on everyone and runs away to hid in the bottom of glasses and drown his sorrow, leaving Marah heartbroken and determined to never think about him again. Caleb comes home two years later when his brother informs him that their father, well the man who raised Caleb, is dying. Caleb does not want to stay with his mother so he moves into his brother's town house and Marah just so happens to be staying with them for the season as well. Immediately the attraction that flared between them is back and Caleb cannot resist baiting Marah, trying to get her ire up so that he can prove he still affects her, even while she insists she wants nothing to do with him.
Marah has her own family difficulties as her father had married below him socially and was cut off from his family. When her mother died in childbirth her father dumped her with her maternal grandmother and the entire, very high ranking family, had turned their backs on her. She wants stability in her life and has settled on an ambitious business man who can offer her security and not the passion that troubles her so with Caleb. Caleb is furious at the idea of Marah with someone else, but knows that he has given up any right to her favors, even while trying to get to her at every available opportunity. Family comes first when Caleb's father takes a turn for the worse and it is once again Marah who is there for him in his time of need and once again Caleb mucks things up. Despite his mistakes they support each other through difficult times involving their undiscovered families and Caleb realizes he will need to prove to Marah that love is worth risking things for. Marah must decide if love is more important than the security she has cherished for so many years.
Marah was defined by her relationships with her family members and it really showed in how she acted toward Caleb. She so obviously cared for him but his abandonment of her really scared her and it took a lot for her to recover. I did not enjoy how forceful she was in insisting she didn't want anything to do with him when we knew she was in love with him. It made her seems childish and like she could not be taken seriously. Caleb was just as immature with his inability to confront difficult situations: I understood that it was hard, but hiding in a bottle for 2 years was not justified. It also made it hard for me to root for him and Marah to get together. Their relationship fell back on the banter/ argue that I absolutely loath in romance novels. I want to see the characters getting along, working together, and arguing to some extent because it happens, but I felt like their relationship was based on her trying to get her mad at him just so that she would show some emotion and he could prove that she still had feelings for him. The sex was rather boring and there wasn't a lot of it and it was all packed at, or very near, the end.
I was incredibly frustrated by the blatant way that everyone was throwing these two together; it was obnoxious and showed a lack of respect for Marah's feelings in my opinion. She had a very justifiable reason for not wanting to get close to him and Victoria's actions made her seem like not a very good friend. My favorite parts of the book where when Caleb was dealing with the issue of his own paternity and when Marah was dealing with her fears about her father's family. It was very real and touching and there were definitely times when I cried; the heart to heart Caleb has with his mother was almost heart breaking. It was the most emotional either of them ever got and I wish they had showed the same amount of heart and fear and caring when dealing with each other- it would have made for a better romance. Something that really bothered me was the assumption that we had read the previous book in the series (which I had, but promptly forgotten) because it talks about their past together and I was completely at a loss.
Rating: In the end I couldn't give an unappealing romance a high mark, even though I did really enjoy reading the non romantic emotional moments.