Another keeper from what I have come to think of as one of the best romance writers of all time. This woman can write. There is literally nobody I can compare her to. One of the really remarkable things about this book is that she threw every contrivance in the book designed to keep the H&H apart at me, and I couldn't have stopped turning pages if I was unconscious - I was THAT hooked. Things happen in it that I typically don't care for in a romance, but Williamson writes so unbelievably well, that I just didn't care about anything but getting to the HEA. It's like she does more than just write, she pours out her soul onto paper.
Sensuality Rating: R
It's all too common in romance novels for the hero to inherit crushing debt and be forced to marry--usually the heroine. Or, the heroine is trapped in genteel poverty until the rich and powerful hero rides in to save her.
Not in this story.
The reader's heart aches as these two fall in love and cannot marry because both are destitute. Marriage to others, betrayal, murder and other obstacles are thrown in the way of their happiness until it seems there can be no truly happy ending. Still, the reader may find herself up until the wee hours of the night to see how it all turns out.
For me, this book is a keeper. In a few months, I'll read it again and fall in love with this story and author all over again.
Lieutenant McCady Trelawny, youngest son of an earl, intends to spend his short leave on his Cornish uncle's estate, developing an engine for a horseless carriage. His best efforts go up in a puff of smoke, but he captures the heart of Jessalyn Letty, a poor but ladylike member of the local gentry. But his own cousin, banker Clarence Tiltwell, has his sights set on marrying Jessalyn. McCady, too noble to take advantage of the 16-year-old girl, coldly disregards her avowal of love and rejoins his troops. Jessalyn becomes engaged to Clarence, a practical arrangement which she can accept with equanimity until McCady tromps back into her life five years later.
Very sweet emotional ride. This is the second book I read by Williamson and she definitely knows how to write a book that tugs on your heart strings. I felt the connection and reasons of why and how Jessalyn and McCady fell in love. At times I found myself in awe of their love for one another and then upset at how McCady was always turning her away from him. Yes, he believed it was for her own good, but at the same time he couldn't keep away from her. Only when he was truly going to lose her did make a move to ensure she would be his. *sigh* I just wish he hadn't hurt her so many times over and wish she had more pride. I felt she sacrificed so much for him and everything he did was for himself. I wanted him to redeem himself, to make the readers understand that he did deserve Jessalyn. However, the book ended abruptly therefore the author leaves it to the reader to assume their happily ever after. *shrugs*
I also enjoyed other characters in the book. Becka, I found myself laughing at her misusing words. Emily, I couldn't help but like her and feel sorry for her. And then Clarence... Yes, I even like Clarence. In the beginning he was created to be a likeable character and then he turns into a villian which was kind of hard to believe.
All in all, this is not a book to be missed if you enjoy emotional romance books.
This is my favorite romance novel of all time. I first read it my freshman year in college way back in the fall of 1992 (wow, I'm old). Penelope Williamson is a deft worldbuilder; like an artist she inserts the reader into Jessalyn and McCady's world, making them a feel like an active participant in the story. McCady Trelawney is the best kind of alpha hero--dark, tortured, filled with angst and unable to stop loving sweet, unabashed Jessalyn despite himself. Though England set and the hero a peer, this is no run-of-the mill Regency historical. If you like tortured romances, you'll love this one.