Company of Rogues, Book #2. I love this series and am re-reading everything for the 2nd time. If you like Regency romance, please check it out.
This is the story of Lucien de Veaux, Marquess of Arden and Beth Armitage. At the very beginning, we learn that Lucien's mother had a 'one night stand' with an old flame while his father was away. Once his father finds out he leaves (presumably only for a time) and has an affair with another woman. The result of these dalliances is that Lucien is not the 'rightful' heir to the Duke of Belcraven, though the Duke never made the fact known, and Beth is the daughter he did not know existed until the death of her mother. In order to continue the true line, the Duke decides that Lucien and Beth will marry. Lucien is a typical Regency buck who seems only to live for a good time, including setting up a famous actress as his mistress. Beth has grown up in a girls school, where she now is a stern teacher, and she disdains the upper class and frivolous living. Their rocky courtship continues even after their wedding until they finally obtain their happily ever after.
Be warned that this book does raise the issue of spousal abuse, though in my opinion, it is never condoned. Also, I didn't like the fact that Lucien has a good bye 'visit' with his mistress even after he has met Beth. Technically, I guess it's still within some accepted morality since he and Beth weren't married (or even liked each other), but I just didn't care for it. I would have preferred for it to have happened sooner.
Even with these quibbles, I enjoyed this book very much and give it 4 stars.
Pat N. (patsy98) reviewed An Unwilling Bride (Company of Rogues, Bk 2) on
I have been enjoying the "rogues" series and have read most of them so was glad to finally read Lucien and Beth's story. Their charactors are fun and strong and the story is well written and moves right along.
Jo Beverleys historical romance An Unwilling Bride is an unlikely Cinderella story, and very aptly named. Beth Armitage is a school teacher, living quiet comfortably teaching unruly girls how to be strong and capable ladies, while Lucien de Vaux, heir to the dukedom of Belcraven, is enjoying all the wealth and prestige his high social ranking can afford him. A more unlikely match is hard to imagine, and especially once Napoleon returns from exile and turns Europe on its head, the chances of the two working out their personal conflicts seems nil. But in a clever twist of a scandalous nature, Beverley reveals a different heir to the dukedom and these twowho didnt seem to like each other much from the get-goare forced to endure each others presence, and even to act the part of star-crossed lovers.
Because of this unique play on an old storyline, the first several chapters of the book had me totally engrossed. I liked Beth from the start, and once she was removed from her school mistress guise and able to relax and show a little more of herself, I liked her even more. Lucien isinteresting. One minute you want to love him and the next you hate him, and that pendulum swings in full arcs most of the way through the story. In fact, a good majority of the book is about their back and forth quicksand as Beth calls it. I got very bored with the exchanges after a while, because even though the situations and dialogue were different I knew how each confrontation was going to end: Lucien storming off and Beth left fuming or bemused. Once the first love scene came around (and we all know thats really a part of the reason we read romance novels!) all I could think was Oh, whatever! That tedium aside, however, the character growth was excellent, and the scenes and secondary characters gave the complete impression of being in an era long past. The historical aspect was flawlessly worked. The intertwined tidbits from other members of the Company of Rogues, particularly Nicholas, really helped to bring the story to life because it illustrated a wider world than just Luciens and Beths.
I found the ending incredibly interesting as all throughout the novel, Lucien is the one who has to be in control and everything must go his way and then suddenly he lets Beth do something she wants to do and its much more drastic than walking out of Belcraven House unescorted. Youll have to read this one for yourself to find out exactly what it is, and I think its fair to say that readers of Ms. Beverleys should keep an eye on Clarissa Greystone.
Book two of The Company of Rogues. This time Lucien, one of my favorite characters from the first book, is the hero. I liked this one better than the first. Lucien and Beth were both very likable and I enjoyed their banter. I do wish they'd gotten to the romance part sooner. The characters spent a lot of time misjudging each other.
Beth Armitage had the life she wanted. Her work as a teacher gave her the independence she always sought and a life free from the shackles of matrimony. Yet after a harrowing meeting with the Duke of Belcraven, Beth found herself caught in a web of aristocratic power -- and engaged to marry his rakish heir, Lucin de Vaux, Marquess of Arden! She was determined to despise her betrothed, but when Arden decided to seduce her, she needed all of her strength to keep from surrendering her heart.
Forced into a marriage with a commoner to secure his inheritance, Lord Arden despised the coy bluestocking who would share his bed. Furious at her defiance and her challenges to his authority, he resolved to control her. But soon her wit and her charms threatened his very will -- and his heart.
Beth Armitage had the life she wanted. Her work as a teacher gave her the independence she always sought and a life free from the shackles of matrimony. Yet after a harrowing meeting with the Duke of Belcraven, Beth found herself caught in a web of aristocratic power--and engaged to marry his rakish heir, Lucien de Vaux, Marquess of Arden! She was determined to despise her betrothed, but when Arden decided to seduce her, she needed all of her strength to keep from surrendering her heart.
Forced into marriage with a commoner to secure his inheritance, Lord Arden despised the coy bluestocking who would share his bed. Furious at her defiance and her challenges to his authority, he resolved to control her. But soon her wit and her charms threatened his very will--and his heart...