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Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Bantam Books
Hero: Julian, Earl of Ravenwood
Heroine: Sophy Dorring
Date of Publication: March 1, 1990
Started On: December 2, 2009
Finished On: December 4, 2009
Found this book whilst browsing through FictionDB. I quite enjoyed this book, the story of how Julian, the Earl of Ravenwood, sophisticated and cynical about women in general after a disastrous marriage which ended up with his wife murdered and community folk in general whispering in corners that Julian had killed off his wife due to her nefarious ways, weds Sophy Dorring, brought up in the countryside, thinking that she would be the docile little wife that Julian wants, someone who wouldn’t get into all the trouble his first wife Elizabeth had always been found in.
Julian is in for a surprise when at first Sophy refuses his marriage proposal put forth through her grandfather. Shocked that someone who hadn’t impressed the ton during her coming out, who hadn’t got a single marriage proposal during the time, and quite past the age where the ladies of the ton got married, with very little inheritance to offer and just passable looks had the gall to refuse a godsend of an offer, Julian confronts Sophy on her trip back from an old friend of hers who grows medicinal herbs, a subject of much interest to Sophy.
Ultimately, these two wed, each of them having bargained for a set of conditions to be met, which Julian finds out to be unconventional and fascinating at the same time. Sophy’s conditions being that they wouldn’t consummate their marriage till a three month period during which Sophy and Julian should get to know one another better, her choice of reading material which is far and wide never be influenced by her husband and that she never be cast off to a home in the country side whilst Julian traverses in the city.
Julian quickly realizes the errors in his agreeing to the first condition, when he finds himself in lust with his new wife, whom he tries to seduce, but backfires on him in the most hilarious ways possible. I found myself laughing out loud several times whilst reading through bits of conversation between Julian and Sophy as well as the situations that Sophy tended to land herself in, not the docile and meek wife that Julian had bargained for at all.
To make things more interesting, upon realizing that trying to make Julian fall in love with her when to Sophy’s point of view that Julian had never got over the grief and pain caused to him by his first wife, pursues her little project of finding out who drove her sister to take the life of herself and the baby that she was carrying. With only a black ring of a crude design the only clue as to whom her sister had been holding clandestine meetings with, Sophy embarks upon a mission to make the man who made use of her sister pay for what he had done.
Things get interesting from this moment forward. Sophy and her quirky and eccentric friends help her in their ways to find out what the ring symbolizes, unraveling something far too dangerous that could cost Sophy her life in the end.
All in all, this was quite a fun read which I enjoyed immensely. With a surprising villain in the end, at least it was for me, this book proved to be a ‘seductive’ read which was hard to put down.