Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On Dukes (And Non-Dukes)

I'm still in a historical romance frame of mind, so I thought I'd review another recent favorite--Unveiled by Courtney Milan. One of my frustrations with historical romance is that all of the heroes tend to blend together in my mind, rarely standing out as unique. They fall into two types--the stuffy, overly serious noble who rules his estates (and his woman) with an iron fist. And the young, rake of a noble who's spent years breaking hearts and is now at last ripe for reform. In Unveiled you get something entirely different in Ash Turner and his brothers. Here is my review:

 To me this book was exactly what I want in historical romance. Intelligent, sedate, but without being boring. Passionate, tender,and very emotional. In short, I'm hard pressed to come up with any negatives.

Ash is from an impoverished family, and he's worked his from the ground up in terms of wealth and society. This culminates in his revenge plot against the Duke of Parford, who once failed to help Ash and his family when they were in dire need. In short, he exposes the duke as a bigamist and thus has the duke's children by his second wife declared illegitimate and unable to inherit title or property. By distant relation, the dukedom would then pass to Ash. Margaret is posing as her father's nurse in order the spy on Ash. When he meets her, he has no idea that she is the dukes daughter and therefor one of the people his suit has hurt most. He pursues her romantically and she finds herself falling for him despite herself, and unwilling to betray him.

I really loved both Margaret and Ash. Ash is determined in everything he does. His initial motivation isn't based on greed, and not even entirely on revenge, but rather in giving his two younger brothers the best future possible. He's overcome all manner of adversity in order to take care of his family. He applies the same ruthless persistence to his relationship with Margaret. But rather then acting the caveman and forcibly seducing her, he brings her around by helping her to see herself in the best possible light. Since she was declared a bastard, Margaret has thought herself worthless. When Ash tells her that her birth does not matter, that she is important and wonderful, she can't help but begin to believe him. They both do a lot of emotional growing in this book.

Now, I know nothing about law or inheritance in England in the 1800s, so I am unable to intelligently debate possible historical inaccuracies. I didn't notice them. A more knowledgeable person might be bothered.

I'm giving this book 5 stars, because as I said I just don't have any complaints. It's well paced, evocative, and deeply romantic.

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