Saturday, December 07, 2013

Review: Never Desire a Duke by Lily Dalton

I have mixed feelings about this book.  It held my interest, I thought it was well written, not at all boring.  Being that I’m iced in this weekend, I spent all day reading it and found the story entertaining.  Coincidentally, the characters are also trapped due to icy weather conditions, so that seemed fitting.  Of course, I didn’t have a sexy husband begging to reconcile with me.  All I had a bag of Candy Cane Oreos to keep me company.  So maybe I’m a little bitter.

I disliked this heroine so very much.  She seemed spoiled and selfish with completely unrealistic expectations about marriage and her husband.   

In the beginning of the story, Sophia and Vane have been separated for seven months.  After reading one of Vane’s letters from a former lover, Sophie stormed out of the house, slipped on the ice and had a miscarriage.  This caused a rift between them, Sophie blaming her husband for the loss of their child.  So he goes away for business reasons.  When he returns, he wants them to give their marriage another chance.  But she has decided she can never trust him or love him again.  No matter that he didn’t actually do anything wrong.  The letter that upset her so much was from someone her husband knew before his wife.  He was never unfaithful to his wife.  The accident was the result of her acting like a brat and running away instead of an adult and talking to her husband about something that was bothering her.

As for the story, after her husband shows up at her family’s house and wants her to go home with him, she runs from him.  She goes off to the house that was his childhood home - and hasn't been occupied in years - to compose a letter requesting a separation.  But he follows her and because of the weather, they’re trapped there for almost a week.  The week before Christmas, of course.  And lots of things happen during this time.

We find out about her husband’s childhood and people in the village where he lived.  There are all sorts of misunderstandings and new revelations.  And during it all, her husband is doing his best to win back his wife, and she keeps pushing him away.  All she wants is to get home to spend Christmas with her family and get to work on formalizing her separation from her husband.

She spent almost the entire book punishing her husband because he had been with women before he met her.  That doesn’t make sense, does it?  I never understood this.  She made him write out a list of all the women he’d been with – before he knew her – and she carried this list around under her clothes, next to her heart as a reminder to not trust her husband or fall in love with him.  What the hell?  It would have served her right if he’d said to hell with it and gone off and found him a woman who didn’t expect him to have been a virgin on their wedding night.  I kept thinking, how can you treat someone you claim to love with so little compassion?  And worse, I couldn’t help noticing that she treats him almost exactly the way his father treated his mother, who was never able to forgive her for a past love, always assuming the worst about her and making her life miserable.

However, despite my very strong dislike of Sophia, I still, for the most part enjoyed the book.  I didn’t feel as if I’d wasted my time reading it.  It provided the holiday atmosphere I want from books like this.  There were several fun, side storylines.  I liked reading about Vane and Sophia trying to perform a quest and challenging each other at baking cakes.  But I couldn’t help thinking that if I’d been iced in with someone like Vane – instead of only my bag of Oreos to provide me comfort – I would have treated him so much better than Sophia did.
I received a review copy via NetGalley.

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