Author: Loretta Chase
Published: 1995, Avon
Category: Historical Romance
This book has been recommended to me by tons of people. Everyone who loves romance loves this book. And I totally see why. It's classic! Anyone who says that there's no such thing as a well-written romance novel should be forced to read this book and then eat their stick-up-the-butt words. :)
Jessica Trent goes to Paris for the purpose of separating her (slightly dopey) brother from dangerous involvement with a notorious hellion--aka the Lord of Scoundrels, Sebastian Ballister, Marquess of Dain. But then Jessica ends up being incredibly attracted to him, and they get caught in a compromising situation. Sebastian surprises Jessica by actually offering to marry her. Their real troubles are just beginning though. Sebastian is a truly messed-up guy--abandoned by his mother, and brought up by a cruel, cold father, he thinks of himself as an unlovable monster. It's obvious that you can't have any kind of a decent relationship if you hate yourself that much.
These two characters are just amazing. Jessica is strong-willed and so smart. Life hands her tough situations and she just steps back, decides what she needs to do, then fixes what she can and deals with what she can't. It's so refreshing after all the innocent, naive heroines who want to be saved. **SPOILER ALERT And she shot Dain!! Damn, I loved that scene. She is one tough lady. SPOILER OVER**
And I understand everyone swooning over Sebastian (especially you ladies who like your tortured heroes). He's so complex and vulnerable! Horrible self-esteem. And when he realizes that Jessica actually loves him and he's all confused about how that could happen--my heart? MELTING!! God, he acts like such an idiot sometimes, but you can forgive him because of what he's gone through.
And Chase can write sex scenes. Whew. *Blush* That's all I have to say about that.
I only had one bad moment in this book. At one point Dain tells Jessica, "If you leave me, I'll kill myself." And maybe this is very anti-romantic of me, but I thought this was awful. Talk about the worst kind of emotional blackmail. I understand that Dain feels like Jessica is the first person who ever loved him and that if she leaves him, he would be alone again, probably forever. But still. It's pretty pathetic that he thinks his whole life depends on her.
But I love, love, love this quote. Crankyreader has it on her blog, but I never knew where it came from till now.
"In my dictionary, romance is not maudlin, treacly sentiment," she said. "It is a curry, spiced with excitement and humor and a healthy dollop of cynicism."
Definitely my favorite Chase yet. Did someone say there was a sequel to this one? I'll have to see if I can get my hands on it.