Unveiled by Courtney Milan

February 25, 2011

Nail Biting Alert!
Warning: Not only might you chew your fingernails, you may not be able to go to bed until you finish Unveiled!

Did I love this book? Yes! Were there parts in this book that I didn't love so much? Yes! Was the hero just peachy-keen? Yes! Was this an interesting, almost doormat heroine? Yes! Was there so much tension in this book that it kicked my adrenalin in? Y-E-S!

Now, normally I'm not all that excited about stories in which people hide their identities; in fact that may be one of my pet peeves, but I have so many who's counting... I digress. I opened this book unaware that I was about to embark on such a nerve-racking journey. Oh sure, I thought I'd probably have a pleasant journey with a little darkness involved from a very talented writer, but I wasn't prepared for the slowly increasing tension that Ms. Milan so skillfully created.

Here's the plot, and yes, it's been used before: Ash is out for revenge and he has stolen the Dukedom away from his distant cousin and in so doing the heroine, Margaret, and her two brothers have been declared illegitimate. Now, Ash and his one brother (he has two also) arrive at the estate of his enemy, who is ill. Our heroine, the daughter Margaret is pretending to be a nurse/servant/spy on Ash. Standard plot, but it doesn't remain so and here's why.

It doesn't take Margaret long to realize that Ash isn't the villain her family has painted him out to be. Now, the tension comes in because this is a gradual awakening. Ash falls for her instantly and encourages her to become a stronger person. He also gives her his trust and as soon as he did that my mind said, "Uh-oh, what is going to happen when he finds out what's she's up to? He's going to call her nasty names that start with W and B and stomp off and not speak to her!"

The workings of Margaret's mind did not help the situation. He would do something wonderful, she would write letters to her brother and not include anything bad, then think she should tell Ash the truth, then something would happen and she wouldn't. Ash would confess how much he admired her, she would think, 'I really must tell him,' then he'd kiss her and the subject was dropped. He would confess his secret to her, she would be overwhelmed by it, by the trust he was giving her, think about telling him, build up her confidence, walk down to the library to confess and his brother would be there. They would have conversations, now is the time to tell him... tell him... tell him... he'll hate me, I can't, I'll go tell him now... he left for London! AAAKKK! Her father would be ranting, she would have the opportunity to fess up, Ash is in the room, but rushes out to get the doctor... no confessions. Please end this now!!!! And with each failed opportunity, the tension just increased to a point where I just couldn't but that book down. When the moment finally happened - well, I'm not going to tell you what happens, except to say Ash is quite a guy. Courtney Milan did some really fantastic tension building; kept me awake to the wee hours of the night! I loved every minute of the nail-biting. This one had my adrenalin going and that doesn't usually happen. (Sigh of relief, wipe away sweat.)

And we must not forget Ash's brothers - really interesting dynamics, a lot of questions that don't get answered. Probably because Smite and Mark are going to have their own stories.

Now, there are moments of 21st century speak; however, because of my interest in where this story was going, I overlooked them. There may also be a minor quibble with the amount of time Margaret allowed her family to make her a doormat, but she was so compelling I felt that for the most part she couldn't be any other way. And, let me say there is an deeply heartrending moment for her caused by the despicable actions of her brother that came awfully close to a teary moment. I can hear romance readers yelling, "She was a doormat for too long, I would have done this, I'd never allow it!" I thought about that, wondered how I'd react if my brother caused me the pain hers does in this book, and given the time period and family dynamics. I probably would still want to retain my relationship with my brother as she does in the end.

The other quibble was that I had some questions I didn't feel were answered. What really went on at that school between the two sets of brothers? What's up with Smite? Did her father die?

So, in the end, even with all the tension and missed opportunities and anachronisms and "doormatterlisms," I loved this book! I'm always a little wary about over-praising a book because I know there is some "Oh yeah, we'll see about that" person out there, but you really should give this one a look see. Loved it!

Next in the series is Mark, the virgin's story, Unclaimed.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Sorta Hot

1 comment:

Melissa said...

The story was phenomenal. I was so engrossed and loved the characters, especially Ash. My God, the man is so incredibly strong, vulnerable, and sensitive all in one package. I was enthralled and finished it in one day.