Book Reviews of By Love Undone

By Love Undone
By Love Undone
Author: Suzanne Enoch
ISBN-13: 9780380798858
ISBN-10: 0380798859
Publication Date: 7/1/1998
Pages: 384
Rating:
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 38

4 stars, based on 38 ratings
Publisher: Avon
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

8 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed By Love Undone on + 136 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
~ Wonderful romance with witty dialogue, great verbal sparring, and well-written chemistry (5 stars) ~

Suzanne Enoch is an extremely talented writer and I absolutely loved BY LOVE UNDONE, the first of the Bancroft Brothers books (followed by TAMING RAFE). Maddie and Quin are wonderful characters and their romance is so enjoyable to read. The witty dialogue and verbal sparring is highly entertaining and Maddie is a great heroine, a real spitfire who is not afraid to stand up for herself. It was also a wonderful change to have the hero be unafraid to declare that he's in love (in this book, it's the heroine who is reluctant to admit her feelings out loud). The secondary characters were well-written and three dimensional; the Duke and Duchess (Quin's parents) were both complex characters and neither of them was portrayed as being simply "good" or "bad," making them very realistic. I loved Rafe, Quin's younger brother, and cannot wait to read his story.

SUMMARY:
Madeleine Willits was 18 years old when she was ruined after being caught kissing a young man who was not her fiance (the guy was actually drunk and forcing himself on her). Her friends and fiance abandon her and her parents lock her in her room; she escapes and decides to create a new life for herself, leaving London behind and vowing to have nothing more to do with London society or the nobility. When we meet Maddie, she is 23 years old and has been been the companion to an elderly gentleman, Mr. Malcolm Bancroft, for four years. Malcolm receives a letter from his brother, the Duke of Highbarrow, telling him that Malcolm's nephew Quinlan Bancroft, Marquis of Warefield (30), is coming to visit. Although Maddie has promised her employer she will be on her best behavior, she can barely control her antipathy and antagonism towards Quin (she pretends to cover it by being sickeningly sweet).

Quin is the upstanding and obedient elder son who has always fulfilled his obligations and taken care of his responsibilities, yet he is confounded by the immediate hostility he encounters upon meeting his uncle's companion - whom he assumes is actually Malcolm's mistress. When Malcolm (a great secondary character!) catches Maddie and Quin kissing, he insists that Quin help reintroduce Maddie to society to make up for it. The battle of wits that ensues is highly entertaining and you will greatly enjoy seeing Quin and Maddie getting to know, like, and eventually love one another.

There is a subplot involving characters who are trying to stop Quin and Maddie from getting their HEA and although I don't usually like contrived obstacles that get in the way of the hero and heroine's love story, there were none of those major misunderstandings/mix-ups between the main characters that sometimes ensue, so it didn't really detract from the book.

MAIN CHARACTERS:
Maddie is a strong and independent heroine; she's very likable and admirably overcomes a painful past and creates a new life for herself. Like I said before, she's a spitfire who sticks up for herself and it's fun to watch her clash with Quin (and the Duke!!). Quin is a terrific hero; a lot of times the guys are rakes whom the heroine tames, so it was a nice change to have the hero be a man who is normally Mr. Respectable Nice Guy and who meets in the heroine a woman who makes him want to let passion and his heart guide him.

BOTTOM LINE:
A must-read that I would recommend buying; classified as a keeper and definite re-read in my library. Other Enoch books that I have read and enjoyed include A MATTER OF SCANDAL and LONDON'S PERFECT SCOUNDREL, as well as TAMING RAFE which is this book's sequel.

(http://historical-romance-heaven.blogspot.com)
reviewed By Love Undone on + 60 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Madeleine Willits works as a companion to Malcolm Bancroft. After Malcolm falls ill his nephew, Quinlan Bancroft, Marquis of Warefield, is sent to help run the estate. Even before Maddie sees Quin she knows that she will hate him. She knows his type and is definitely not impressed. For Quin's part he isn't that thrilled to be ordered by his father to go to Langley Hall. He was supposed to be on his way to spend some time with his soon-to-be-but-not-quite-yet betrothed. After his arrival Maddie tries not at all to stifle her contempt for him and Quin finds himself quite fascinated by her (for some reason). Malcolm tries to get Maddie to be nicer to Quin which results in her insulting him in the most sugary sweet way possible. She seems to believe he's an idiot and chortles to herself about him not picking up on her oh so subtle insults. After more insults on Maddie's part and fascination on Quin's part they indulge in a kiss. Malcolm catches them in the act and much drama ensues. Because of Quin dishonoring Maddie he agrees to have his family sponsor her in town and try to reestablish her in society.

I disliked Maddie enormously. It was really hard for me to like the book because most of it is told from her perspective and she made me want to smack her. I don't have a problem with unlikeable characters that learn and grow from their mistakes, but I never saw that here. If I can understand the motivation of a character and see that it is in line with how their personality is portrayed I can deal with even the most unlikeable traits. Maddie, however, did not have a compelling reason to act how she did. I get that some lout stole a kiss and everyone in the ton (including her family) turned their back on her. I understand that she would be a little (or a lot) bitter. But she never really owns to any sense of responsibility for anything. She revels in her preconceived notions of nobility (even though she's one too) and even when shown that not all noblemen are cardboard cutouts of each other she still refuses to believe that she may be acting like a whiny immature child. She was just so rude about everything!

Quin was a little more likable than Maddie, but I never got a good grasp of his character. I didn't understand why he liked Maddie. I know that I was supposed to be taken in by the fact that he was fascinated by her, but I couldn't believe it. We are told again and again in the book that no one had ever spoken to him like Maddie did. Is the fact that he was never angry about it (for some mysterious reason) supposed to show me that she's the one? It just didn't make any sense. Added to that was the fact that he had an agreement to eventually be engaged to Eloise when he kissed Maddie. He dipped dramatically in my esteem there. I spent most of the story feeling sorry for him because he didn't have a backbone. He let people insult him (Maddie again and again) and push him around (his father) through the whole book. The fact that he finally stands up to his father at the end didn't convince me of his character growth. As I saw it, there was never any real threat from his father. He may have been able to stop paying for his lifestyle, but I didn't see how his threat to not let him inherit his title held any weight. Maybe I missed something there...

The kiss that Malcolm saw didn't seem like a good reason for Quin to have to reestablish Maddie in the eyes of the ton. She never said no. She never even tried to discuss why it wasn't a good idea. She was just as responsible for it as Quin was. I'll admit that she told his uncle as much, but she was very dramatic and nonsensical about the whole thing. Why would she try to run from Langley Hall because she felt she was ruined again? Malcolm already knew about the first kiss that ruined her. He even told her he wouldn't kick her out. Then Malcolm presents his plan to fix her reputation. Maddie tries to get out of it but ends up agreeing to go along with it for a limited duration. After that time period is up she gets to return to Langley Hall having fulfilled her part of the bargain. How does that even remotely make sense? She was ashamed and tried to leave, then she gets pressured into the bargain but only for a while and then she can come back to Langley Hall. What??? Wasn't she just trying to leave there because of the shame? Why is ok to come back after a limited time period? Maybe I'm once again missing something.

I was really disappointed with how the situation with Eloise turned out. In the beginning it seems like there's this perfectly nice girl that Quin has known since he was a child. There has always been an understanding between their families that they would eventually marry. She was understanding and let him keep dithering about the wedding date and not being officially engaged. They wrote letters to each other all the time and visited often. Instead of having Quin have to deal with wanting to be with Maddie but not wanting to hurt Eloise, which would have added depth and real conflict to his character, Quin never has to question himself or his feelings because of who Eloise is shown to be. It seemed like a cop out to the possibility of a genuine conflict. Eloise was such a caricature. Everything about her was so over the top. I get that the author had to show us why Quin could never possibly be with her, but come on. A little subtlety would have been nice.

I didn't mind the fact that this was a reissue, I knew that going in. I am a very big fan of Suzanne Enoch and have enjoyed many of her older works. However, this one really did not work for me. For those new to Suzanne Enoch: If you did not enjoy this book, do not write this author off completely. Try another (newer) book by her and see if it works better for you. It might just turn into a keeper for you.
reviewed By Love Undone on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I read this book in one sitting and at first found Miss Maddie not very likable. She's very angry, and while some of it is understood, for me it went on a bit too long. All of the characters in this book are extremely well written and I have to say this one was worth purchasing! A must read for any Suzanne Enoch fan!
reviewed By Love Undone on + 136 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
~ Wonderful romance with witty dialogue, great verbal sparring, and well-written chemistry (5 stars) ~

Suzanne Enoch is an extremely talented writer and I absolutely loved BY LOVE UNDONE, the first of the Bancroft Brothers books (followed by TAMING RAFE). Maddie and Quin are wonderful characters and their romance is so enjoyable to read. The witty dialogue and verbal sparring is highly entertaining and Maddie is a great heroine, a real spitfire who is not afraid to stand up for herself. It was also a wonderful change to have the hero be unafraid to declare that he's in love (in this book, it's the heroine who is reluctant to admit her feelings out loud). The secondary characters were well-written and three dimensional; the Duke and Duchess (Quin's parents) were both complex characters and neither of them was portrayed as being simply "good" or "bad," making them very realistic. I loved Rafe, Quin's younger brother, and cannot wait to read his story.

SUMMARY:
Madeleine Willits was 18 years old when she was ruined after being caught kissing a young man who was not her fiance (the guy was actually drunk and forcing himself on her). Her friends and fiance abandon her and her parents lock her in her room; she escapes and decides to create a new life for herself, leaving London behind and vowing to have nothing more to do with London society or the nobility. When we meet Maddie, she is 23 years old and has been been the companion to an elderly gentleman, Mr. Malcolm Bancroft, for four years. Malcolm receives a letter from his brother, the Duke of Highbarrow, telling him that Malcolm's nephew Quinlan Bancroft, Marquis of Warefield (30), is coming to visit. Although Maddie has promised her employer she will be on her best behavior, she can barely control her antipathy and antagonism towards Quin (she pretends to cover it by being sickeningly sweet).

Quin is the upstanding and obedient elder son who has always fulfilled his obligations and taken care of his responsibilities, yet he is confounded by the immediate hostility he encounters upon meeting his uncle's companion - whom he assumes is actually Malcolm's mistress. When Malcolm (a great secondary character!) catches Maddie and Quin kissing, he insists that Quin help reintroduce Maddie to society to make up for it. The battle of wits that ensues is highly entertaining and you will greatly enjoy seeing Quin and Maddie getting to know, like, and eventually love one another.

There is a subplot involving characters who are trying to stop Quin and Maddie from getting their HEA and although I don't usually like contrived obstacles that get in the way of the hero and heroine's love story, there were none of those major misunderstandings/mix-ups between the main characters that sometimes ensue, so it didn't really detract from the book.

MAIN CHARACTERS:
Maddie is a strong and independent heroine; she's very likable and admirably overcomes a painful past and creates a new life for herself. Like I said before, she's a spitfire who sticks up for herself and it's fun to watch her clash with Quin (and the Duke!!). Quin is a terrific hero; a lot of times the guys are rakes whom the heroine tames, so it was a nice change to have the hero be a man who is normally Mr. Respectable Nice Guy and who meets in the heroine a woman who makes him want to let passion and his heart guide him.

BOTTOM LINE:
A must-read that I would recommend buying; classified as a keeper and definite re-read in my library. Other Enoch books that I have read and enjoyed include A MATTER OF SCANDAL and LONDON'S PERFECT SCOUNDREL, as well as TAMING RAFE which is this book's sequel.

(http://historical-romance-heaven.blogspot.com)
reviewed By Love Undone on
Great read. Suzanne never disappoints! =)
reviewed By Love Undone on + 1250 more book reviews
A excellent read. This was a fun book to read, with lots of twists and turns and o'my's to keep you reading. Another excellent book by SE.
reviewed By Love Undone on + 355 more book reviews
This is one of Enoch's early books, and when I started it, the whole plot and style seemed a bit dated, and the story kind of unlikely. However as I got into it, it became so enjoyable that I didn't care. This is the first of 2 books about a pair of brothers, Quinlan and Rafael. Rafe's book is "Taming Rafe".
reviewed By Love Undone on + 1250 more book reviews
Great read, you will enjoy the chase and the sexual tension that builds between the characters. Good read.