Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The Vengeful Bridegroom
Matthew Colgate is in trouble after agreeing to help the Count Taglioni so in order to try to make things right he places a wager that his sister, Madelene will marry within three days, through a medium, with plans to convince her to marry his homosexual friend, Beltrand, and make the money back. He tells her that the family fortune will be lost forever if she doesn't agree to the marriage and once more Madelene finds herself picking up after her older brother's mess and agrees to go along with the mad scheme. Gabriel Westcott has sworn revenge against the Colgate family after Matthew seduced his sister and abandoned her and her unborn child and he is back in England after taking his sister to Italy where she gave birth and died. He learns of Matthew's plan and realizes that marrying Madelene, ruining her, and then divorcing her after a year, will be the perfect revenge. He pretends to be Beltrand and takes Madelene away, only revealing his true identity after the marriage ceremony takes place.
Madelene is obviously upset over what has happened, but falls in stride with things fairly quickly when Matthew takes her to his country estate. She hires new staff and sets about getting the house in working order until her brother shows up and demands a knife that he had hidden away in her suitcase and had promised to the count. The knife is missing and the count will do anything to get it back and Matthew knows that he must convince Madelene of the seriousness of getting the knife back from her husband or her husband's "friend" Alec, a woman who dresses like a man and is the Count's niece. Both Madelene and Gabriel realize that their relationship has changed as they spend time together as man and wife and they get to see that the other is not "the enemy." But the Count's reappearance coincides with Gabriel's nephew, Matthew's son with his sister, comes to town and suddenly there is the possibility that the people who want the dagger will take drastic measures to get it back. Madelene is torn between her brother and the new man she loves and he is determined to protect his wife and their love.
The first thing that struck me about this book was Madelene's completely irrational love for her brother despite his incredibly awful actions and the unforgivable situation he places her in. This carries on throughout the book with him doing stupid and ridiculous and dangerous things that prove he has not a care in the world for anyone except for himself and Madelene is there every step of the way getting him out of scrapes. This made it very difficult for me to have any respect for Madelene or for me to admire her or find her at all likable. She did come across as capable but that was not enough to explain to me why someone fell in love with her. The best part was her secret side business designing fashions for the haut ton which was just a ridiculous way of making in to a well rounded character, but it failed miserably because it came up so sporadically and there were times I completely forgot about it. Gabriel was an ass for what he did to Madelene, but I was frustrated that he forgot about his plans for revenge so quickly because Madelene set about getting his house in order- I guess he just wanted a housekeeper?
Their relationship progressed slowly because not much happened and it was rather boring, but it also happened too fast because so little happened between them that I just couldn't understand how they were in love. I did appreciate some of the little scenes before them where they talked about loss but it was brushed over really quickly and it was just Donner telling us they talked about it, we didn't actually get to read their conversation. There was some sex between them, nothing particularly hot, more like barely lukewarm and I just didn't get any sort of heat between them in general so I didn't get too into the sex anyway. The plot with the dagger completely bored me and I just don't go for side plots or mysteries in my romances unless their incredibly well done and integrated into the story and this one certainly wasn't. There were like secrets built upon secrets with the baby, the count, the diamonds, Alec, and even the housekeeper so I got exasperated and just wanted it over more than I wanted to figure out what was happening.
Rating: A boring and very slow moving book with two characters I could not relate or like and a mystery plot that was just as uninteresting.