Friday, November 2, 2012
Not Proper Enough
When Lady Eugenia made her debut in London society after her brother had become the Earl of Mountjoy, she charmed everyone with her country ways and joyful spirit. But the one who caught her fancy was the brilliant and eccentric Lord Robert, even if he was physically handicapped and they fell madly in love with each other. Lord Robert's friend, Lord Fenris, was also charmed by Lady Eugenia and upset both that she had chosen Robert over him and believing her not good enough for his friend, he was cruel and unkind to her. His friendship with Robert ended and Lady Eugenia vowed nothing more to do with the spoiled and selfish aristocrat. Years later, when Robert has left her a widow after a very brief but very happy and fulfilling marriage, she returns to society to introduce Lady Hester into society and comes face to face with Lord Fenris and his cronies. Fenris is determined to make up for the pain and suffering he caused Lady Eugenia and to show respect to his friend by ensuring his widow is happy. But spending time with Lady Eugenia brings back all the feelings he had hidden for so long and suddenly the idea of making her happy means marrying her himself.
He throws himself in her path, not so hard as he is a wealthy and very eligible bachelor and she is trying to find a husband for her young charge. While Hester shows more interest in discussing botany with Fenris's father, the Duke, the two amuse each other on non plant discussions. Eugenia is confused by the feelings she is having for Fenris and even while she enjoys joking and laughing with him, she cannot forget the pain he caused her and Robert and has no plans for anything more. But she cannot hide her loneliness and she misses having a man share her bed and with the gorgeous Lord Fenris doing his utmost to seduce her she decides to take something for herself. Their affair is passionate but Fenris does not know how he can convince Eugenia that what they have is more than physical or how to convince her that their relationship is not a betrayal of her late husband. Eugenia is fighting her own growing feelings and she will need Fenris to help her over her fears and worries and show her that they can have a real marriage based on trust and lots of love.
Eugenia was a very well developed character and I really felt like she was very realistically portrayed for a woman in her circumstances and I could understand her motives and what she was going through. She had loved her husband dearly and now was struggling to come to grips with her new relationship with the man she had always loathed. It was a slow going, as it should have been, but I really came to see how she could be falling for Fenris and the guilt and excitement she was feeling over this. Fenris was also very well done and I liked reading about him doing his utmost to convince Eugenia that they were meant for each other. He was certainly flawed but he owned up to his problems and he learned from his mistakes and genuinely tried to make up for the damage he had caused. The two spent a lot of time together certainly and that provided the means by which they were able to move beyond their past and I could truly feel like a real romantic relationship was growing between them. There was plenty of sex and it was pretty steamy and I enjoyed that it featured two very sexually confident characters who had no moral qualms about seeing to their own sexual pleasure and that of their partners.
I am a fan of romances where one character has carried a a hidden tendre for the other for years and have really come to appreciate one of the characters having to make up for being cruel to the other years ago. This romance has all of those things but also skirts over them rather haphazardly as their past together is really almost glossed over and though I was able to understand the gist of what had happened I really felt like they could have used a big conversation about it and a flashback to some of the pertinent issues. Their past played a big part in their current relationship and was a huge obstacle that they had to surmount and it would have been nice to understand why a little more. I especially would have been interested in learning more about Robert because while I liked that he was not demonized as the deceased spouse I would have liked to know more about what made him such a paragon. I very much enjoyed the little side romance between Hester and the Duke and how subtly it came about but I think I would have preferred more from it. While I liked that it did not take away from the main romance, since it was part of the book they should have made it more fleshed out.
Rating: A very well written book featuring two well developed characters who clearly had a strong relationship with each other, but it lacked some back story that would have fleshed it out more.