Saturday, April 7, 2012
Her Secondhand Groom
Patrick Ramsey, Viscount Drakely, is overwhelmed by caring for his 3 daughters and while he knows he needs to do something, he is not sure what. Juliet Hughes is used to caring for her family's many children and when she meets Patrick neither is shown in the best light. His carriage breaks down and she brings his daughters back to her family house and Patrick is shocked by how much fun they had with Miss Juliet and immediately decides to go an make her father an offer. Juliet realizes that her father owes Patrick money since her father borrowed it to send her to London for a season and she has felt guilty for wasting her father's money ever since. When she hears about the proposal she is shocked until she realizes that Patrick thinks her very pretty younger sister is the young woman that his daughter's loved and believes that he is marrying her. Juliet decides to play a trick on Patrick and go through with the marriage with a heavy veil, wrongly believing that he will reveal her face before the "I Do's" and is horrified when she finds herself well and truly married.
Patrick is angry when he realizes a trick has been played on him but he is also aware that he is just as much to blame as him. Deciding to keep Juliet on as his children's "motherness" he believes the best thing for everyone to do is just to move on with their life. Suddenly it is revealed that Juliet and Patrick have many of the same friends in common and they were all featured in previous Rose Gordon novels (!) and they all have decided to make frequent appearances to offer lots of advice. It is clear to everyone that Rose and Patrick are perfect for each other even though they seem to do nothing but fight and cannot agree on anything. Juliet is determined not to let her feelings for Patrick affect her relationship with her new children, whom she has very quickly come to love but doesn't think Patrick will ever get over his feelings for his deceased wife or the fears he inherited after she died in childbirth. Suddenly all is made well during an epiphany that his wife was actually an evil bitch and he's wasted his feelings for her and he can now love Juliet and luckily she loves him too!
Juliet is relatable because she was described as average-looking and I enjoyed her desire to work with little children and make her parents proud and her very genuine love for her siblings. I also rather liked her sense of humor in pulling the wedding trick on Patrick and while it wasn't realistic, it was funny and a romance novel so therefore okay. However I am always a little weirded out by heroines who so quickly fall in love with the heroes children and immediately come to regard those children as their own. Patrick was certainly overbearing but he was able to admit his mistakes and was obviously looking out for the best interests of his children and did want to make his marriage work. His fears about childbirth made sense because of what he had gone through but as the book went on he underwent some really bizarre changes in his feelings towards his former wife. She was a wonderful woman and then slowly we came to realize that she was manipulative and a cold fish in bed and then ended with the discovery that she "gave up" and basically died to make Patrick feel guilty about her death and his manly desires.
Their relationship centered on lots of arguments and I could probably count on one hand the number of friendly interactions they had between them and this was taken as a good sign by their friends. It felt like a new problem sprung up between them around every corner and every time they resolved one issue a new one would spring up and some of them were just ridiculous. There was a fairly decent amount of sex between them and it was surprisingly hot given the rest of the book and how there really did not seem to be much passion between them early on. A spoiler here illustrates one of my major problems with the book: Patrick always wore condoms during sex to prevent pregnancy and during a discussion with her friends there was a discussion about the lack of mess and she had no idea what they were talking about but they just told her to ask Patrick. One: She was naive. Two: Her friends were mean and treated her like she wasn't even married. Three: Patrick lied to her. Four: The friends made far too frequent appearances.
Rating: An unsatisfying book that seemed to have so much potential until about halfway through when the friends appeared and their relationship dissolved into arguments.