Rameau’s ramblings: After reading Unclaimed and converting Anachronist into a romance reader, I had to hunt down everything Milan had ever published. So far. These days I savour her books instead of devouring them.
Originally posted on Goodreads September 22nd 2011.
Ash Turner has waited a lifetime to seek revenge on the man who ruined his family–and now the time for justice has arrived. At Parford Manor, he intends to take his place as the rightful heir to the dukedom and settle an old score with the current duke once and for all. But instead he finds himself drawn to a tempting beauty who has the power to undo all his dreams of vengeance….Lady Margaret knows she should despise the man who’s stolen her fortune and her father’s legacy–the man she’s been ordered to spy on in the guise of a nurse. Yet the more she learns about the new duke, the less she can resist his smoldering appeal. Soon Margaret and Ash find themselves torn between old loyalties–and the tantalizing promise of passion….
I’m in no shape to write as comprehensive review as I did for the sequel Unclaimed, mostly because I’m lazy and because this not being one of my few ARCs I don’t feel obligated enough. But at the same time I feel like I’m not doing this book justice if I don’t.
Courtney Milan can write a romance, again, in the best sense of the word. Her characters while highly sexual beings even in historical setting don’t just abandon their morals and jump in the sack at the first opportunity. In fact, I’d be hard pressed to name another author who understands as clearly the need for seducing the mind as Milan does. It’s all about showing why these two characters are right for each other and why they should choose each other above everyone else with Milan.
In here, Ash Turner is the epitome of as self-made man. He left home at the age of fourteen to make his fortune and ensure the future of his brothers, in doing so, he sacrificed his relationship with them. Now, it’s his turn to exact vengeance on those who wronged him and his family when they were poor and in desperate need of help. But he doesn’t know if he can have that revenge without damaging his tenuous connection with his brothers permanently.
Margaret Dalrymple is an innocent victim of Ash’s revenge, collateral damage if you will, but she’s prepared to fight back. Her only chance is to find some unforgivable flaw in the new Parford heir to reclaim her family’s inheritance. The only problem, she finds herself falling for the last man whom she should ever fall in love with.
There are numerous reasons why these two should hate each other and why they should be bitter enemies to the end. There’s also that tiny spark that if nurtured correctly can grow into an unquenchable blaze. And that’s what Milan does. She introduces that tiny spark of chemistry and attraction and lets it grow into an unforgettable love affair without ever sacrificing the uniqueness of the characters.
I might even like Ash and Margaret more than I did Sir Mark and Jessica, but as a whole, the second Turner book was better paced. This one seemed to drag towards the end only to collect itself at the last minute and finish the race in top three.
Spoilers for Unveiled and Unclaimed both: <spoiler> As much as I enjoyed the Sir Mark seduce the debauched courtesan in Unclaimed, nothing in it came close to the sexiness of Margaret taking that key from Ash and locking them in his bedroom for the night before their planned wedding. </spoiler>
Still, I have a feeling I’m going to like Smite’s story the best, he just sounds like my kind of man. Can’t wait for Unraveled.