Read with: Paperback
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Ivy Books
Hero: Ian Patterson
Heroine: Valeriana Grace MacPherson
Date of Publication: July 5, 2000
Started On: November 7, 2010
Finished On: November 8, 2010
This is one of those titles that I just had to end up buying because storylines such as the one this story has promises to deliver a good read. I have never read any previous titles by Janet Bieber and hence this book proved to be a delightful surprise as it delivered a good romance worth sinking your teeth into.
The Hero: Born and raised in Ireland, Ian Patterson spent most of his childhood after 8 years of age with his paternal grandparents who had instilled in him his love for sailing. Knowing that there is nothing left for him in Ireland when his grandparents die within a couple of months of each other, Ian sets sail for America, the land of freedom. A man of ruddy complexion, tall and brawny in frame with rugged features, Ian is a handsome one at that and is the owner of his own shipping company, Patterson Shipping Line. When Reverend John MacPherson arrives in Cleveland with his four daughters in tow and introduces Ian to his second daughter Lileas Chastity MacPherson a woman of immense beauty, Ian is a goner from that very moment. Nine years on, he has four beautiful children whom he would never regret though his marriage has been less than perfect with a wife who was more fickle and selfish than anybody had ever realized.
The Heroine: Valeriana Grace MacPherson, now 28 years old is the eldest and spinsterish daughter of John MacPherson. Plain where her younger sister is a beauty, Valeriana or Ana as everyone calls her is the intelligent one in the family. Growing up with a father who has his own radical views on what is important in life, what is forbidden and allowed, Ana is a woman torn between using her own intelligence to deduce what is right and wrong and obeying her father’s preaching, the father who had taught her everything he knows. Labeled as prudish, prim and prissy by the town folk, Ana has never been courted and is resigned to a fate of spending all her life serving her father’s church by his side.
Storyline: The shocking and sudden death of Lily and her stillborn baby propels Ana to move into Ian’s home to look after her sister’s babies and save them from the “unholy” influence of Ian who has never proclaimed to be anything but human. But Ana was never ever prepared for the kind, generous and loving man that Ian actually is, a man who would protect what is rightfully his at any cost.
The First Encounter: When Reverend John MacPherson arrives in Cleveland, the opportunistic man he is drags the successful young shipper to the inn where his family is residing in, planning on snaring Ian for his beautiful Lily, a plan which goes without a hitch when Ian marries the beautiful Lily in a matter of weeks. But it had been Ana who had first caught Ian’s eyes, with the intelligence that was shining from her eyes before Lily had stood up and stolen his very breath by her beauty.
Time period: This story takes place in Cleveland, Ohio in 1834.
Awareness between the hero and heroine: Ana had always been prickly whenever Ian had been around. With a prejudice that had been taught and hammered into her since childhood, Ana tries to label what she feels for Ian as despise for his behavior, but in reality it is her awareness of Ian as a man that makes her tongue-tied and makes her yearn for things impossible with her ex-brother-in-law. Ian is horrified when the prissy and prim Ana moves into his home to take care of his children but once he sees the magic she so effortlessly weaves on his children with her love and affection, Ian is forced to look deeper into the complex woman that Ana is and find that for the second time round he is hopelessly ensnared with a MacPherson, something he had sworn not to do when Lily had died.
The turning point: Both Ana and Ian are forced to take a deeper look into the other and reevaluate their opinions of one another once Ana moves in to take care of his children. The close proximity of caring for Ian’s children brings forth feelings that neither Ian nor Ana thought possible. And when Reverend MacPherson who goes a little mad in his head when the apple of his eye dies, tries to harm Ana, it is Ian who comes up with the most daring proposal of all – make Ana his wife and claim her as his own.
Ending: Before the story is through, Ana has to come face to face with the real version of her younger sister who had never really abided by the vows that she had promised to uphold when she had become the lawfully wedded wife of Ian and face a man who had gone mad upon the death of his sister, mad enough to harm the very foundation of Ian’s world.
- Ian Patterson. He just makes my heart go pitter-patter with his patience, deep abiding love for his children and his smoldering sensuality. Perfect hero material. Sigh!!
- Ana for being woman enough to take the high road and change into someone worth admiring, letting go of the shackles of prejudice that had been hammered into her from childhood to embrace a man who is so worth everything else she leaves behind.
Recommended for: Fans of historical romances and fans of stories of the theme marriages of convenience.
Mesmerized by the warmth in his eyes and the low rustle of his voice, Ana didn’t even notice when she wrapped her arms around his waist. In a breathless voice she hardly recognized as her own, she asked, “You think my eyes are lovely?” and instantly flushed with embarrassment at such foolishness falling from her mouth.
“Very,” he said with such conviction, it erased her embarrassment. He drew one finger lightly, slowly, down her cheek, setting off a melting warmth deep in her belly and beyond. Gently, he framed her face with his palm. “You skin is so … smooth … and so is your mouth.” His eyes darkened, and he lowered his head. “And maybe neither of us is quite sane today,” he muttered, just before he covered her mouth with his.
Her senses, already taut with a myriad of emotions, literally quaked.
He silenced her with a kiss. But what started as a whisper-soft brushing of his lips against hers quickly escalated to a full possession. “And I’m not letting you renege on your acceptance either,” he growled against her lips before taking them again.
Large hands that had been cradling her face plunged into her hair, sending her cap and hairpins flying as he freed the heavy coil at her nape. With the caress of his tongue against her lips growing even bolder and more brazen, she sank more deeply into the kiss and his embrace.