Friday, January 10, 2014
Where Dreams Begin
Lady Holly Taylor is a young widow mourning the death of her much-beloved husband George. George was everything a gentleman of the ton should be; kind, upright and moral, and well-liked by everyone who knew him. Upon his death Holly and her daughter, Rose, moved in with George's caring family and although she loves them and appreciates all they have done for her, she wonders what is going to happen with her life and if she will be able to provide for Rose on the limited funds she was left with. Zachary Bronson has worked his whole life to build himself up from nothing and he is enjoying the power and prestige that comes with his vast wealth. He is accepted by the ton because of his money, but even he knows he is not truly one of them and hopes that he can find a wife who will gain him entrance into the most hallowed company and help his sister navigate the ton as well. Zachary is immediately struck by Holly's beauty and how she holds herself apart from the rest of the ton, even while clearly being completely accepted and revered by everyone.
He decides that she would be the perfect woman to help him find the perfect bride. Holly is skeptical, and scared of what taking the position would do for her reputation among the ton, but she knows that the money he is offering will secure a great future for Rose, so she accepts. She moves into the Zachary's over-the-top nouveau riche mansion and finds herself overwhelmed by all the new luxuries in her life and surprised by how much Zachary listens to her and follows her advice on matters of importance. Sure enough the ton scorns her decision and George's family tries hard to get her to leave Zachary's employment. She realizes that Zachary is a very complex person, trying to cover up the hurts of his childhood and all he really wants is acceptance. The sparks between them fly, but Holly refuses to give into them in honor of George, but Zachary encourages her to finally start leading her own life and Holly finally realizes she is not disrespecting George by falling in love again.
Holly is a very quiet woman who follows the rules, which makes her a bit of a rebel in terms of romance novel heroines and a nice change of pace, not to mention probably more accurate. I liked that she was dedicated to her daughter and had such a happy relationship with her deceased husband and his family. She was genuinely in mourning for him and the story was about her learning to move past what had happened while still maintaining that love for him, just in a different way. I loved her transition from woman who's life had stalled to a woman who took charge of her own life and made scandalous decisions because she could. It was slow at times, but, once again, probably more realistic of how a woman like Holly would have achieved this- even if the premise is not. Zachary is brash and tough, and his desire to be accepted by the ton is both frustrating, but also understandable given his back ground. Of course his ruthlessness in business is tempered by his generosity to those less fortunate and his attempts to help those who work for him. It's nice, but also expected of any hero at this point.
Holly and Zachary are completely different and yet Kleypas does an excellent job of showing how these two different people would work together and have a strong relationship. She tames his harsher impulses and he respects her completely and treats her and her child like his own family. They have tender moments, they have funny moments, they have fights, and they have a few sexy moments. Kleypas usually excells at writing hot sex scenes between two characters, but in this book she does fall flat. I really did not feel any sexual chemistry between the characters and there were very few sexy scenes, and those fell flat to me. I liked so many other elements of their relationship so it is a shame that this part of it did not live up to the rest of their relationship. The writing was much slower than usual for Kleypas and sometimes felt a little heavy; it was definitely not a fun and fast paced romance.
Rating: This book was well written and had a wonderful relationship, but because of the slow pace was difficult to truly enjoy.