Monday, February 14, 2011
BOOK REVIEW: Married: The Virgin Widow by Deborah Hale
Harliquin Historical 288 pages
Feb 1 2011 By Deborah Hale
BLURB ON BACK OF BOOK:
Innocent on her wedding night Her hands bound by blackmail and duty, Laura Penrose was forced to marry her sweetheart’s ruthless uncle. Ford Barrett, Lord Kingsfold, has returned from the East Indies. The woman who betrayed him has a debt to pay
– Laura owes him a wedding…and a wedding night! But the sweet widow sacrificed herself once out of duty – she won’t be taken again for revenge. But this new, dark, dangerous Ford discards her pleas… Can she tell him she never wronged him, before he discovers her more innocent secret? Gentlemen of Fortune Three men with money, power and success… Looking to share life with the right woman -
Deborah Hale has fashioned a romance full of regret, guilt, and anger in this first book of the Gentlemen Of Fortune Trilogy.
Ford Barrett returns home after seven years away in the East Indies to find he not only has inherited from his dead cousin Cyrus, but also his need for revenge is as strong as it ever was. Old cousin Cyrus has left a young widow, Laura Penrose, a young lady Ford was in love with and wanted to marry. But she threw him over for the rich and titled older man. His desire for her has also not abated one bit during all this time. He is anxious to put his plan in place of marrying her, bedding her, then tossing her aside. Rather cold-blooded to say the least, but in Ford's mind, he was wronged greatly.
But when Ford returns home after several months travel, he finds Laura and her sisters and her ailing mother living in reduced circumstances, the estate in a run down condition. As he awaits her arrival in the parlor, his insides are boiling with a mixture of fury and lust. Laura no sooner walks into the room and comments on his making a fortune in the East Indies and they are off and running, arguing and sniping at each other. For Laura was under the impression Ford abandoned her seven years ago to chase his fortune. Ford thinks she threw him over for his rich and titled much older cousin, both could not be more wrong.
Seeing an opportunity ripe for the picking in Laura's financial woes, Ford coldly proposes marriage, so she and her family can stay on at the estate. Laura feels she has no choice, where would she and her family go? Ford assures her he is quite cured of all that love nonsense. What their marriage lacks in love, they can make up in physical desire, he also states he wants a heir. Ford came across as quite a cool customer, but his hurt runs deep. And so do his passions. With any alpha hero, he is not above barking orders and sneering, nor to bursting into Laura's bedchamber because he can't control those raging passions. But despite all this, Ford is not without a heart, he shows a respectful compassion for Laura's ailing mother.
Laura, despite coming from a loveless, wretched first marriage, shows amazing strength when dealing with Ford and his demanding ways. This very easily could have deteriorated into a nasty mess, but Ford and Laura are compelling as characters, it kept me interested. As the many layers of misunderstandings begin to be peeled away, the long delayed romance between this couple begins to blossom at last. And I am giving nothing away by stating Ford was shocked to find out his widowed bride, was in fact, a virgin. Laura really did suffer at the hands of Cyrus, who took his impotence out on her in many ways.
There are some subplots, of Laura's sister Belinda's courtship and a family tragedy that tie in with the hero and heroine's on-going woes. But a secret threatens to shake the tenuous foundation of this new marriage, can Ford and Laura ever learn to trust each other, and love each other enough to admit it?
An enjoyable read, two deeply hurt people, for different reasons, learn to love and trust all over again. Heart-warming romantic ending.
3 out of 4 stars for the book
And waves to Deborah Hale, she is from my native province of Nova Scotia in Canada, so it was a real treat to read and review her book~