Friday, October 26, 2012
Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed
Jonas Merrick was born to the wealthy Viscount Redville and his beautiful foreign wife, but after her death the marriage certificate was lost and the Viscount's younger brother wasted no time in declaring Jonas a bastard. Depressed and lonely Redville retreated into himself and abandoned his son to the mercies of the very cruel world and Jonas grew up bitter and jealous that his cousin Williama would inherit all that should be his. As an adult he inherits his father's fortune, if not the title and estates, and wastes no time in shoving his cousin's nose in his wealth and William's own poor luck at investments. When the opportunity arises William tempts William's wife Roberta to the tables and she ends up losing badly; she promises him a week in his bed. Sidonie Forsythe has seen what marriage to the abusive William has done to her beautiful and vivacious older sister and has no intention of marrying anyone ever. She knows what will happen if William finds out what she has done so she agrees to take Roberta's place in Jonas's bed. She expects a monster, and though Jonas's face is scared, he is far more than she was expecting.
Jonas is not happy at this turn of events as he had hoped to get revenge on his cousin but he does begin to warm toward the idea of having the beautiful and kind Sidonie in his bed. But she is a challenge he was not expecting and warmed his heart in a way he had thought previously impossible. He agrees that he will not force her but will wait until she comes to his bed, however, he soon realizes that he does not want her under duress but of her own volition. With this he has proved to Sidonie that he is a worthy and caring gentleman with a soft spot no one else can see and the two tumble head first into a passionate affair. The term of their relationship was set for 7 days and all too soon their time comes to an end and Jonas knows that Sidonie is too good for him and believes himself unworthy, while Sidonie still believes she will never marry anyone and she knows that Jonas will not love her when she finally reveals the secret she has been keeping from him. The two have their pasts to muddle through before they can finally contemplate a happy future with each other.
Sidonie was, I suppose, noble for sacrificing herself to save herself, and while I recognized that her waffling was a part of her innocent allure, it was frustrating to read about her and Jonas circling each other so long and avoiding the whole reason they were there. I honestly felt like neither of them were very well developed with her being entirely concerned with her sister and finding out how good Jonas truly was behind his mask and him being obsessed with his being a bastard and not good enough for Sidonie. What did they enjoy doing? What made them real people? I just feel like I don't know. They spent a lot of time together obviously but it seemed like purposeless time with not much getting accomplished and there were only so many times I could be interested in her revelations that he was wounded and had been hiding his good self from everyone. The sex, when it finally came surprisingly late in the book considering that was what brought them together, was lukewarm and incredibly dragged out and just too much for me to find exciting. I believe the story of his scars was supposed to be an interesting little side mystery and while Sidonie apparently found it fascinating I found it to be much ado about very little.
Anna Campbell's novels are always very emotionally draining and very exhuastively detailed about the characters often angsty and mournful feelings despite the happier cover this book was no different. Both of them had so much to worry about and while I found some of it legitimate obstacles to their happiness together, such as her keeping a certain secret from him, others I found just too drawn out, such as his fear that he is too ugly and her fear of marriage. Both were understandable but if they were so all-encompassing as to stand in the way for so long it did not make sense that they would just crumble so quickly. That type of emotion also makes me question how the relationship can survive with so much... darkness (for lack of a better word) behind them. They have no experience being happy and loving with each other without all the other stuff hanging over their heads. I did find Campbell's portrayal of Roberta as the abused wife very well written as she fully developed her as a complex character with her own faults and strengths and not just a victim and I was truly impressed with her.
Rating: Far too emotional with two undeveloped characters who couldn't possibly end up having a happy relationship together.