Beautiful young Melanie Johnston had every reason to hate Roland Donovan. It was this man who caused the death of her beloved grandfather. It was he who possessed her in a night of mischief and madness, forever staining her honor. It was he who drove away the well-horn suitor she was to have wed. There was only one way for Melanie to take revenge - she would marry him and then use her every feminine wile to destroy him. But Melanie did not dream then of the strength of her own hungers - and the weakness of her flesh!
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The narrator, Kayla Asbell, really enhanced my enjoyment of this book. I was very disappointed that she hasn't narrated anything else--I would love to hear more from her! I liked the story but didn't find it exceptional in any way. Overall I would purchase this again and would also recommend it to a friend.
The underlying emotional current this novel evokes is ANGST! Oh my goodness, this novel will summon up your fight/flight responses and make you feel on edge due to the suspenseful, and revealing moments! There is adventure in this book, plenty of it, but most of all, this book chronicles the journey to love for a relationship that seemed doomed from it’s beginning.
This novel is beautifully written. At first, it takes some time to get used to the amount of detail and historical presence in the book. Blake’s writing style unfolds a vision of a southern society with polite gentlemen and ladies who live vigorous lives. Yet, the luxurious lifestyles enjoyed by the upper class are built on the backbones of African slaves whose wills have been swallowed up. This book gives a complex historical perspective that may be hard to digest for the modern reader. I know I had a hard time with the reference to slaves and some of their situations. Blake also spares no sentiment when creating dangerous villains who are vicious in their intent in hurting the leads, especially the heroine. This novel is definitely what is known as a “bodice-ripper” novel. Those parts are very hard to read because they just make you feel sick to your stomach.
My favorite part of this book was the hero, Roland Donavan. Jennifer Blake has given us such a worthy hero! I mean the man has been through so many regretting events in his life that he should be afflicted with poor self-esteem. His father (plantation owner) rejects him; he returned from the war with a stained reputation; he gets caught up in various misunderstandings that lead him to marry a woman who despises him, and the list goes on and on…. Yet, Roland emulates strength of build, and character; he has a noble heart; he fiercely protects his wife, he works hard for her….And, he is a tall, handsome man with green eyes!!—He’s simply delicious! Roland does have flaws that impact his already trouble marriage though. During hard times he tends to withdraw, and he does not communicate his emotions with his wife.
The heroine, Melanie Johnston, granddaughter of Kernal Johnston, takes a bit of getting used to, as she is somewhat of an ice princess. I warmed to her character by allowing some of her motives to be explained by reason of grief over her grandfather’s death, she lost her parents early in life in a tragic accident, was alone, and emotionally bereft. Also, on her grandfather’s death bed, he charged her with the responsibility of destroying Roland Donavan who he blamed for tarnishing his reputation in the war with Mexico. I have to say, Melanie does have nice qualities, but certainly her reasons for marrying Roland were vengeful and unfortunate. Melanie is described as a very beautiful woman, with auburn hair and blue eyes with an hourglass figure.
The love development between Roland and Melanie drove me nuts! My heart went out to Roland because it was apparent from the beginning that he entered the marriage with more honorable feelings than Melanie. I like how Roland made Melanie share his “marriage bed,” even though she wanted them to have a marriage, in name only. Roland was such a tender lover that Melanie became a participant in love-making with him right away (even though she would never admit it). Melanie tried to set up emotional barriers, but the man just melted her cold heart, in miniscule, but consistent steps….This is why the book is soooo long! There are sweet, tender moments between the couple, but there are also many stupid misunderstandings that could have easily been solved it they would have communicated with one another.
Unfortunately, as in a poker game, both of these lovers played their cards very close to their chests, not allowing too many advantages to the other. Finally, at the end, both bare their true feelings to one another and Melanie confesses her love for Roland (he of course confessed his love way before her…I believe..the book was so dang long, I lost track). Through many trials, separations, misunderstandings, tragic events, great losses, the couple finally come together in heart, and you just know that they are going to live happily ever after with a deep, abiding love. An epilogue would have been nice…but, what can I say?--I was happen to finally finish the long book!!!
I really enjoyed the narrator. Her southern accent was great!