March 20, 2013
What's old is new again.
The Conquest of Lady Cassandra by Madeline Hunter is a delight. Having said that I believe this is a book that some people may have a problem with. And that, my fellow romance readers, is due to the hero of this story, Yates Elliston.
Ah, Yates, a manly man. A sexy guy, a bit of a chauvinist who reminded me of some of the heroes who lived in the pages of early modern romances. You know the ones I mean: the Rosemary Rogers, Kathleen Woodiwiss kind of guy. Oh, he's not as much of a jerk as Steve Morgan from Sweet Savage Love, but he has the feel of those old heroes. While I thought Yates may have been trained in the Steve Morgan School for Bonehead Heroes, he is a softer version of that all-time king of the jerks. So be prepared for an old-fashioned, powerful man when you open this book.
Don't be worried that Yates is so powerful, so strong that he dominates the pages and the heroine Cassandra. No sir, Cassandra is no shrinking violet. Cassandra takes no prisoners; she is the perfect fit for the strong male who is Yates.
I liked Cassandra a lot. She truly doesn't need a man to make her happy or make her life complete. She is a very independent woman. She is ahead of her time and isn't afraid to speak her mind. And, she has one of the strongest line/lines I've read in a book in a long time. I loved it when she tells a typical not-listening-male Yates why she didn't marry his friend. - "I.Did.Not.Want.Him." Loved that moment, and that moment got Yates' attention.
For me this story was a fascinating study of two strong people and their journey together. I was happy that I was presented with a couple who were a couple and on top of that there was a romance! The Conquest of Lady Cassandra is a mature couple traveling down a rocky road together, uncovering secrets, growing separately and together. The slow acceptance of love was wonderful to watch.
Now, there were some quibbles. Without going into too much detail, there was one bedroom scene that bordered on uncomfortable for me because of the way Yates treated Cassandra during and after. This scene was really a strong throw-back to the old bodice ripper stories and I had trouble understanding the point of that scene.
The other quibble I had was the assumptions the three friends, Yates, Southwaite and Kendale jumped to with little or no facts of the event. The grudge against Cassandra these seemingly intelligent men held for so many years was a little puzzling to me.
Overall, I enjoyed The Conquest of Lady Cassandra and Madeline Hunter's strong writing. And, if you are looking for a sexy manly man, Ms. Hunter has given us one in the guise of Yates Elliston. This is a very subjective book and it may not be your cup of tea, but for me it hit the spot!
Time/Place: Regency England