Saturday, September 17, 2011
Ash Turner is returning to Parford Manor in triumph; after being turned aside by the current Duke, he is now the declared heir after revealing that the Duke's marriage was illegal and his two sons and daughter are illegitimate. Lady Margaret Dalyrample is staying on at Parford pretending to be her sick father's nurse in order to spy on Ash to aid her brother's in their attempt to Petition Parliament to declare all of them legitimate. She is determined to hate the man who has torn her life asunder, but from the second he arrives he defies all her expectations and makes it difficult to despise him. He is kind, he listens to her and treats her as if her opinions matter and it becomes apparent that there is a past between Ash and his younger brothers and Margaret's own male relatives, and it is the Turner's who come out better in those comparisons. With a single glance from Ash Turner makes Margaret feel like she is important, that she matters, and that is all that she needs in these traumatic times when nothing seems to be going right. Ash has always trusted his instinct in business matters and when it comes to people and he knows that Margaret is special and wastes no time in making it clear to everyone how much she means to him.
No matter how special Ash makes her feel, no matter how charming he is, she cannot forget that he is the one who has caused her to be ostracized from society and turned her into a bastard. She is the only person that Ash can trust with his secret; he is unable to read because the letters on the page jumble up on him. And when his younger brothers come to visit, it becomes clear to Margaret that there is a vulnerable side to Ash and she learns that his motivation is to create a better life for them then the one they had growing up with their hyper religious mother. The closer they become the more she worries over his reaction when she is forced to reveal who she really is to him and how it will threaten their growing relationship. With a vote in Parliament coming up over who will inherit the Dukedom, Margaret knows she will be forced to choose between her family and the man who is coming to mean so much to her. And Ash will once again prove to be as amazing as she has always believed when everything comes out and he is standing there and they both know that they are supposed to be together.
By the time I had read 50 pages I was in love with Milan's writing; it is simply gorgeous in details and descriptions and in conveying emotions, without being overly wordy or flowery. Just remembering it I am blown away by her ability to make me truly understand what her characters are going through. Margaret and Ash were phenomenal characters because both were well written, caring, beautiful, and flawed in a way that made them so real to me. I love how torn she was between her family and the love of her life and how Ash was the one encouraging her the whole time to do what she needed to do even while knowing her choice could affect him. Her fear over being turned away from the life she had lead for so many years, her dedication to caring for her very mean-spirited father, and over what would happen with her relationship with Ash fleshed her out in a way that is very hard to accomplish in writing. Although I disagreed with the choices she made at times, it turned out the way it had to turn out and she remained true to herself throughout the book.
Ash was on a completely different plane than 99.9% of romance novel heroes. He had all the physical characteristics, he had the childhood trauma- living with a crazy religious mother, the hardship to overcome- dyslexia. But it was his reactions to Margaret that made him special; his single-minded dedication to her happiness, even if it could possibly come at the expense of his own. His reactions to her and the things she did made him the most amazing and understanding person and man I really wanted him for myself. Their relationship developed throughout the novel, by getting to know each other and I love how they could trust each other and Ash, the strong silent type, opened up to her. There was a lot of sexual tension between them, but there was not all that much sex and it was fairly hot if nothing spectacular. Their families played a really important role in this story because their respective brothers were their motivation, their enemies, and their best support all at the same time and I really liked that.
Rating: A very good book with two amazing characters, real characters who had a romantic, supportive, and special relationship. I was torn between 4 and 5 but the mediocre sex and very slight drag made it 4.