Thoughts on some historical romance novels #6

Waking Up With the Duke by Lorraine Heath

“You may, of course, ignore all her rules—”
“I have no intention of ignoring her rules.”
“But it will be little more than—”
“Hell for us all, I’ve no doubt.”

The following review contains spoilers. Click here to read the spoiler-free version.

This one caught me unawares. Definitely five-star material! Way to go! Bravo! Purple must be my lucky color as far historical romance books go… *hint* Madeline Hunter’s The Romantic *hint* I missed this feeling really. It’s been a while since I read a really good romance novel. Lorraine Heath, an author I’m reading for the first time, wrote this sweeping love story according to my favorite recipe. Great main characters, even greater antagonist (if you can call Walfort that of course!), adorable secondary love story, drama, an impossible situation, yearning, and tender heartfelt love… Really, wow!

I really don’t have much to say except that every romance reader should go on and read this book. I did try to find fault with it and failed miserably. The plot seemed impossible at first and I thought I wouldn’t like the direction it would take and be very disturbed. I mean, come on! A paralyzed man asking his cousin (who supposedly caused his paralysis) to get his wife pregnant. As one of the reviews on Goodreads points out, the opening sentence just hits you flat on the chest.

“I’ll consider your debt paid in full if you get my wife with child.”

Oh my… Right? How can this end well and, more importantly, righteously? Well, it does. The way the hero and the heroine slowly but inevitably fall in love was handled expertly. To have the woman of your dreams (who, by the way, hates you for causing her husband to become a cripple) to yourself for one month to get her pregnant and then to let her go, relinquishing any claim you might have on your unborn child… An eternal dilemma of the worst kind to be sure. Ainsley had been struck by Jayne ever since he first laid eyes on her. And I always love the hopelessly-in-love hero. But his secret admiration for Jayne, his desire to make her happy, for which he would need to be both selfish and selfless at the same time, made him one of the greatest romance heroes I’ve ever had the pleasure of sighing dreamily over. And I rarely do that!

As for Jayne, to have your own beloved husband suggest you break your vows and sleep with another man (who is responsible for causing your husband to become unable to get you pregnant in the first place!) to give you a child you so longed for and when you have finally achieved that, becoming an emotional mess in the meantime, to hear your husband confess on his deathbed that he never loved your and had been cheating on you for years… That’s basically how fucked up the situation is in a (slightly too elaborate) nutshell. But Jayne’s guilt and suffering before coming into terms with her feelings made her a flesh and bone character. And I love how the author named her to evoke Jane Seymour, one of the six wives of King Henry VIII. Really, I can’t decide which one of the main characters shone brighter in the story. I’d say they equally own the book.

But then I would be unfair to the rest of the characters. It must be the first time that I love each and every character in a historical romance book. Take Walfort, for instance. I love him! He’s such an awesome character with all his flaws. I love him so much because it’s so rare to come across a grey character in the world of historical romance where everything is usually either black or white.

“I owe you your legs. Not my seed.”
“You owe me a bloody cock!”

Considering that all my favorite passages quoted here include Walfort, you can conclude how much I love him. Then there is the love story between Ainsley’s scandalous mother and her long-time lover, Leo, who’s an artist! *faints* By the way, it must be them on the cover image. Would be fitting, right? And yes, you read my mind, they should have their own book. But, no, this time I won’t stop there. I would love to read the love story of Tessa. She’s indeed a grand lady. I guess the two previous books in the series would be worth reading for her if not for anything else.

In conclusion… Buy this book! Read it and love it! Trust me, you won’t have any difficulty.

Sensuality rating: Hot (according to All About Romance)

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