Good read by a good author.
I wasn't wildly impressed with the character development, but I don't suppose that's what you're looking for in an Avon Romance book.
Rather predictable, IMO not one of her better works but enjoyable all the same.
~ NOT JAMES'S BEST - HEROINE WAS TOO WEEPY AND THE ROMANCE WAS ANGST-RIDDEN (3.5 stars) ~
[1835 - Lancashire and London, England]
I read EVERY WISH FULFILLED a few years ago, but didn't remember anything and had never marked down a rating, so I thought I would read it again. I was disappointed, as the story had promise and James is a talented author, so I was expecting an enjoyable romance and revenge story.
Damien is an intense, brooding hero, all alone in the world now and bent on revenge and discovering who murdered his elder brother. Heather is an intelligent, compassionate, beautiful young woman (though not too young - 25), who has a mysterious past, was raised in a family not truly her own, and has had to struggle all her life with a limp. The book started off well and both characters were engaging (though Heather ends up being something of a watering pot). There are several passages throughout in which Damien is very tender and understanding towards Heather that will undoubtedly make your heart melt.
From the beginning though, I was somewhat bothered by Damien and thought that he went on far too much, far too often, and far too early about how beautiful Heather was and basically how much he wanted to get her into bed. They're physically attracted to one another from the get-go and yes, as they begin to know one another, Heather admires Damien for his honesty (woops), talent, and integrity and he admires her for her inner-strength, kindness, and intelligence, but it all felt more like lip-service to me, trying to make up for the lust part.
Their relationship seemed to skim along the surface, despite each character having private vulnerabilities that you think would make them perfect for an authentically deep romance. Heather kept on crying every 30 pages and then being comforted in Damien's arms - even if he was the reason she was crying. The villain subplot was not very inspiring or frightening, ended very anti-climactically, and really was just tedious by the end.
Very annoying was how Damien and Heather go back and forth so often in their relationship; you feel like you're watching a tennis match. It's a constant whirl of being angry with one another, making up, him deceiving her, them making up, them loving each other but not wanting to so pushing each other away, on and on and on and on. There are about seven highs and lows in their relationship of some 350 pages, so god only knows what their marriage will be like.
James is a talented author, so I recommend reading these books by her instead:
- ONE MOONLIT NIGHT by Samantha James, 5 stars
- HIS WICKED WAYS by Samantha James, 5 stars
Historical romances that are somehow similar to this one (in plot, storyline, hero, heroine, etc.) include:
- THE RAKE (Davenport Family, Book 2) by Mary Jo Putney, 5 stars
- BOUND BY YOUR TOUCH by Meredith Duran, 5 stars
- SCANDALOUS (Banning Sisters Trilogy, Book 1) by Karen Robards, 5 stars
- A NOTORIOUS LOVE (Swanlea Spinsters, Book 2) by Sabrina Jeffries, 4 stars
- RECKLESS by Amanda Quick, 4 stars
- HOW TO MARRY A MARQUIS (Agents for the Crown, Book 2) by Julia Quinn
What I really enjoyed about this book was that the hero wasn't a reformed rake or some aristocrat hiding away on his estate, etc. You feel for the heroine's insecurities and you just have a lot of likeable characters in her family, etc. One of my favorite's from this author.
I would like to preface this review by saying that I love historical romance and I don't expect books of this genre to be written at the level of literary classics. I love Catherine Coulter, Eloisa James, Sabrina Jeffries, Bertrice Small, Mary Balogh, etc.
That said, I honestly believe that this is one of the worst books I've ever read.
I feel like the author was trying to meet a deadline, so she wrote 50 pages, printed 7 copies of those pages, and submitted the stack to her publisher. Descriptive passages are copied almost word-for-word. I found myself reading just to spot the duplicates and read them out loud in amazement to my fiance.
The characters are mildly annoying, the plot is weak, and the descriptions of the intimate scenes are off-putting (His "turgid plane of flesh?" I'll pass, thanks.)
I know this review seems harsh, and I don't mean to offend her fans, but there are a TON of romance novels out there. Use your credits on something else.
A story of a man bent on revenge and finds love in the process.
Heather Duval became the ward of the Earl of Stonehurst at age 4 after her parents were killed in a carriage accident. Now a grown woman of 21, Heather is the proud owner of Lockhaven Park. Heather pours all her energy into making certain that the manor flourishes. She believes that her advanced age and maimed leg destine her for spinsterhood. Then Damien Tremayne enters her life and turns her peaceful world upside down. But Damien's identity is deceptive. He is out to discover old secrets and solve a murder; in so doing he uncovers a past Heather only thought of as a bad dream.
I liked this book a lot. The hero was dashing and oh so sensitive to his lady's emotions. He loved her immensely and he showed it to her through his actions and his kindness.