Author: Linda Anne Wulf
Publication Date: February 28th, 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
"In 1728, THORNE NEVILLE leaves Oxford University and one devastated courtesan to take his deceased father’s title, occupation, estate and advice--that being to marry the Viscount Radleigh's convent-schooled daughter, and thus spare himself the potential heartache of a love match. Having watched his father grieve away eighteen years for his dead mother, Thorne grimly understood that advice--though he doubts it will matter. His own heart was buried years ago, along with his childhood love.
But Thorne is about to learn that fate doesn’t bow to plans, and that denying his heart will cost not only him, but others as well. The lesson involves four strong-willed women: KATY, the spirited courtesan who loves him and plots to conceive his child; GWYNNETH, the rebellious wife whose preference for convent vows over marriage vows makes Thorne's domestic life hell; CAROLINE, the sultry socialite who not only schemes with Thorne's half-brother to ruin him, but tries to seduce Thorne while pretending to be Gwynneth’s dearest friend; and ELAINE, the chambermaid who must at all costs keep Thorne from guessing her true identity.
As Thorne's carefully constructed world disintegrates in a succession of murder, rape, suicide and betrayal, he must begin the painful recovery of his heart, in order to rediscover the woman who has held it for so long." ~Goodreads
This book was such an enjoyable read. I was completely enthralled and literally couldn’t put it down! When I wasn’t reading it, I was constantly thinking about it and counting the time until I could pick it up again and continue on with the story. It’s a wonderful combination of Historical Fiction and Romance.
The characters have so much life and seem to jump off of the pages, they really draw you into the story from the very beginning. I thought the writing had a very classic feel, and it put me in mind of some of my favorite classics, Wuthering Heights, Jayne Eyre, etc. It was elegant and polished which fit very well with the time period of the story. An important part of writing Historical Fiction is that the author has to make sure that their writing blends seamlessly with the era of history they’ve chosen to set their story in, because if it doesn’t the reader might feel a disconnect and be pulled out o the story. I’m very glad to say that Mrs. Wulf did a phenomenal job with that! The language and dialogue was very nicely done and the descriptions were perfection, they weren’t flowery and full of fluff, they were well balanced and added so much to the story.
The romance in this book was done in a very elegant and beautiful way. Sometimes when I read a book with that has a lot of romance it just comes across as “cheesy” and I’ll find myself rolling my eyes quite a bit. But in this book there is absolutely no way that any of the romance could be considered “cheesy “ and I was very glad about that. I will say there are some erotic areas in the story. I certainly didn’t have any qualms about them, but I still feel I should mention it as some readers may not feel the same as I do. So that said, if you do decide to read this book be prepared for a few of those scenes. Which by the way are very tastefully done.
There were some twists in the story, particularly one at the end. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I did have a feeling that it was coming but it didn’t ruin the ending for me in any way and I still enjoyed it very much. there were some parts of the book that deal with things that are a bit dark but I think that added depth to the story and made it real. I felt many different emotions while reading this book, for instance there was a certain part that just made my blood boil. If I don't feel a connection to the book and characters I won't experience emotion like that, but with this book there was definitely a connection.
It’s very easy to see that the author really did her research and took a lot of time and care with the writing of this book. This book was captivating, elegant, and charming. I would highly recommend this book to others, especially if you like Historical Fiction and Romance. It was an excellent read, it has been added to my favorites list and I know I’ll be going back to read this book many more times.