Reviewed by Sarah Brew
The one woman he can't have...
Having made a fortune, Thorn Dautry, the powerful bastard son of a duke, decides that he needs a wife. But to marry a lady, Thorn must acquire a gleaming, civilized façade, the specialty of Lady Xenobia India.
Exquisite, head-strong, and independent, India vows to make Thorn marriageable in just three weeks.
But neither Thorn nor India anticipate the forbidden passion that explodes between them.
Thorn will stop at nothing to make India his. Failure is not an option.
But there is only one thing that will make India his and it is the one thing Thorn can not afford to lose: his fierce and lawless heart...
“It is a truth universally acknowledged…” and, having made his fortune, Thorn Dautry is himself in search of a wife. His fancy has alighted on vapid but reliable Laetitia. But Thorn is a rough diamond and he needs the help of Lady Xenobia India to refurbish his estate and to make him marriageable in the eyes of Laetitia’s parents. When passion flares between Thorn and India, he is determined to make her his… but is he prepared to offer up the one thing he daren’t lose – his heart? Nothing less will gain his desire.
Both characters are shaped by their childhoods – they are lonely people who have learnt to make their own ways in the world without becoming dependent on others; can they relinquish their independence? Despite their backgrounds, both characters are likeable and we see the gentle side of Thorn’s character in his relationship with his ward, Rose. Rose is a precocious but lovable girl and I really enjoyed seeing a child playing a prominent (and well portrayed) role. India is unusual among Regency heroines – she has made her own way in the world and this adds a fresh dimension to her character, making her deeper and more interesting than many.
The up and down relationship, much of it conducted through witty and lively letters, charts the
story in a refreshing way. Of course, the outcome is never in doubt but we read Regency romances not to find out who marries whom but how they overcome the obstacles in their way. If you have read any in the Desperate Duchesses series you will recognise them in this book; I always love to re-meet characters. Eloisa James brings us complex warm and witty characters, snappy and engaging dialogue and a plot which twists and turns enticingly on its way to resolution.
I'd like to thank Sarah at Piatkus for sending me a copy of this book and Sarah for reviewing it for me.