This is a classic romance. Some have found it offensive as the hero "forces" heroine in one scene. I read this and believe it fits with the story, so to speak.
I loved this book, but can understand that it is not for everyone.
Whitney Stone's teenage crush on a neighbor has her cold, unfeeling father banishing her to Paris into the care of her aunt and uncle. Under their loving guidance, the young woman blossoms into a ravishing beauty and becomes the darling of glittering Parisian society--a fact not lost on the handsome and equally powerful Duke of Claymore, who determines to make her his wife. Despite the duke's fervent interest, Whitney remains fixed on her childhood love. That is, until she finds herself tempted by the Duke--an attraction that both delights and baffles Whitney, causing her to be increasingly wary of what her heart may lead her to do. The Duke suffers no such confusion. He wants Whitney. And he plans to have her, despite a number of obstacles, including the infatuation Whitney seems to have for another; her aunt's growing concerns; and her greedy father's bungling efforts to control his beautiful daughter. But before the Duke and Whitney's plans can reach fruition, they'll have to work their way through a morass of misunderstandings that threaten any hope of a happy ending.
I really wanted to enjoy this book. I tore through it at a ravenous pace, which is more to say for most books I've read recently. I was in love with the hero. I thought the heroine had pluck and spirit. Unfortunately, after the third large misunderstanding between this couple, I just couldn't stand it anymore. I was hoping that they would learn how to communicate, since they seemed very much in love, and yet, they fell back on the same 'bad habits' that they both had at the beginning of the book. Overall, this was an entertaining read of a love that survives against all odds. The story was well written, the dialogue was not forced, the story line was initially believable, it had many great points; it just had a few too many negative ones as well. Not a favorite, but not the worst romance novel I've ever read, either.
Squueee!!! What a FABULOUS book! This by far makes up for a couple stinkers I've read lately. Ms. Judith McNaught isn't the queen of alpha males for nothing. She could write my heros anyday. Sigh.....
Whitney was a glorious example of what a romance novel is supposed to be all about. Gave me a bit of a flash back to Woodiwiss' earlier works and reminded me why I pick up this genre in the first place.
But seriously, loved it. Well written, excellent character development, just the right amount of perfection/flaws in the lead characters. And a great HEA!
What a story about stubborn people and love, no wonder it's 708 pages! I loved this story. I laughed outloud, cried and was taken on an emotional roller coaster with this story. The characters are all very well developed and the description of the moments we read make it so vivid. I will have to say, I agree with one of the other reviews that what happens by force, is part of the story line and not meant to be anything else, it makes the story so deep and gives character development. It does make me livid when Clayton gets angry w/ Whitney for the second time, but she puts him in his place as only Whitney can. I read this in 5 days and am sad it's over w/. I will be reading Until You, with Stephen Westmoreland Clayton's brother next following it up w/ Kingdom of Dreams with the first Duke of Claymore! Happy Reading you won't be dissapointed.
At this point in time, I have probably 2 or 3 chapters left to go, but I think I already have my verdict. I can't exactly say this book sucked because I actually wanted to finish it. I can't say I loved it either.
I CAN say, however, that Whitney Stone and Clayton Westmoreland have been the two most frustrating characters I've ever had to follow. Ever. Numerous times I wanted to just chuck it across the room because I got so frustrated with the complications.
Though maybe that means the author did her job by truly making me, the reader, feel the anger and frustration that often accompanied these two characters.
This book was pretty good for the first half. At one point, I had to put the book down because I was anticipating what was going to happen on the next page, but I didn't want to read it because I knew it would be too heartbreaking (I know, I'm a big sissy). I guess I felt so much for these two characters that I couldn't bear to read what was going to happen to them next.
The Whitney and Clayton ultimately reconcile after the first conflict, and for a second, you think all is going well and the two are going to live happily ever after... and then suddenly McNaught pulls the rug out from under you by throwing in yet ANOTHER misunderstanding not too long after the first one! Pretty soon, you begin to think, "Ok, so when are these characters going to grow up?" Granted, you can have more than one rising action and climax in a story, but to have 2 conflicts both based on misunderstandings was just... exhausting.
There were some nice touches McNaught added to this enhanced edition, such as some references to Clayton's ancestors from "A Kingdom of Dreams," which I liked. This novel also paved the way for Stephen Westmoreland's story in "Until You," which I have yet to read.
I was really surprised this book is supposed to be one of McNaught's best novels because I couldn't understand how anyone could like such a contrived and complicated story. But I'm not sure, it may have been great for a previous generation. But for me, it was mostly irritating.
I read this book because the controversy surrounding it, plus Clayton Westmoreland's ubiquitous appearance on any "A-hole Heroes" list/discussion, had me curious just what was between the covers. What I found was a mixed bag. The two scenes that seem to provoke the most debate are the ones with the riding crop and, later on, Clayton's rape of Whitney. The former was a little OTT, I'll grant, and the short-lived rape wasn't all that remarkable either. In fact, it irritated me no end later on when a detail of it was used to prolong yet another "misunderstanding" between the hero and heroine. In fact, that was what peeved me most about the story. It was about 100 pages too long, with the end marred by a "Oh, Good Gawd!" regression of Clayton to "Jumping To Conclusions Redux," in essence re-traveling ground that consumed at least a hundred pages earlier on because of a similar misunderstanding. Clayton eventually works it all out, and Whitney has her own endless pages of second-guessing and puzzling over behavior and evidence so that we get the HEA. It was ponderous and I started to skim out of boredom.
The overwhelming strength of the book is the evocative style of the period. It's all a very clear and crisp mental picture, and made it easy for me to get absorbed. This Jane Austen era isn't my favorite, unless there's a significant military presence in the story (either in the plot or one of the characters). The sprawling and messy cast sometimes dragged it down (especially Stephen and Lady Westmoreland - they could have gotten the boot and I wouldn't have cared).
I guess I couldn't check my brain at the door, because the illogic of Whitney's and Clayton's actions left me scratching my head or shaking my fist at the pages. The final OTT misunderstanding irritated me on this count, because just why would Whitney keep such a dangerous note about fearing she was pregnant? She didn't want to leave it behind for a servant to find, yet it's late fall/early winter in England. There wasn't a fireplace kindled ANYWHERE to take away the damp chill? I started out liking Whitney and feeling sorry for her, but by the tedious end, I was ready for her to fatally clothesline herself while racing her horse through the woods. As for Clayton, he didn't impress me all that much - for good or bad. While McNaught was A+ at describing the scenes and surroundings, when it came to her hero, there wasn't much to go on. I had no sense of who he was - just disembodied gray eyes with long legs and a drawl. Those three characteristics were repeated ad nauseum, so it pretty much overwhelmed all else about him.
I'm glad I read it to see what all the fuss was about, and I like McNaught's style, but I'm hoping that her heroes and heroines are far better in later books.
My all time favorite. Excellent book. The first time I read it I stayed up all night reading it. All of McNaught's books are good, but this book will always be my favorite. If you like historical romance, you will love it too.
Under the dark, languourous eyes of Clayton Westmoreland, the Duke of Claymore, Whitney Stone grew from a saucy hoyden into a ravishingly sesnsual woman. Fresh from her triumphs in Paris society, she returned to England to win the heart of Paul, her childhood love.. only to be bargained away by her bankrupt father to the handsome,arrogant Duke. Outraged, she defies her new lord...but even as his smoldering passion seduces her into a gathering storm of desire, Whitney cannot, will not, relinquish her dream of perfect love.
Just a little note...not a full blown review. This is one of those books that you read and remember forever...I read this SO many years ago, and yet still remember specific scenes. It touches your heart in a special way...you laugh, you cry...the epitome of a historical romance, IMHO.
my book has a red cover...Under the dark, languorous eyes of the duke of Claymore, Whitney Stone grew from a saucy hoyden into a ravishly sensual woman. Fresh from her triumphs in Paris society, she returned to England to win the heart of Paul, her childhood love, only to be bargained away by her bnkrupt father to the handsome, arrogant duke. Outraged, she defies her new lord, but even as his smoldering passion seduces her into a gathering storm of desire, Whitney cannot,,will not relinquish her dream of perfect love.
Under the dark, langorous eyes of The Duke of Claymore, Whitney Stone grew from a saucy hoyden into a ravisingly sensual women, Fresh from her triumphs in Paris society, she retrurned to England to win the heart of Paul. Whitney cannot, will not relinquish her dream of perfect love
Under the dark eyes of the Duke of Claymore, Whitney Stone grew from a saucy hoyden into a ravishingly sensual woman. Fresh from her triumphs in Paris society, she returned to England to win the heart of Paul her childhood love...only to be bargained away by her bankrupt father to the handsome, arrogant Duke.