(Originally from All About Romance)
2007, European Historical Romance (1850s [Victorian] England and Scotland)
Pocket, $6.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 1416503609
Part of a series
One of the major topics surrounding romance lately – and one of the challenges facing the historical genre – has been the heat factor. When dealing with strict societal rules, how does one sex up a story?
Kresley Cole chose to do so by making the heroine of If You Desire a hellion, part of an infamous group of cousins known for their wild ways. Thus far her father and her family’s influence has handled the scandal so that none are truly ruined. This is the hurdle in the story, and if you can get past the fact that Jane is incredibly sexually aware for her time, you’ll enjoy this novel about childhood sweethearts reuniting.
Hugh is a Scottish assassin who has worked for Jane’s father for more than a decade. Being an assassin is an ugly job, one seemingly without honor, so it remains a secret from all who know him, especially Jane, with whom he has been in love for those ten long years. Little did Hugh know, Jane has been in love with him for the same time. Her cousins refer to him as “Tears and Years” as she’s wasted plenty of both over him.
Forced to marry in order to thwart a madman’s revenge, the two find themselves in close proximity. Jane soon decides that she wants to remain married, but convincing her stubborn Scot is harder than she ever anticipated.
Hugh’s reason for not wanting to stay married is stupid. Stoo. Pid. Thankfully, the heroine also recognizes it as stoo-pid. She tells him so. Frequently. But as with all matters taken on faith, it becomes an impossible argument. This part of the book uses a well-used romance plot line, but Hugh and Jane’s sweet love story nonetheless involved me emotionally by the end.
But there is still the matter of the stoo-pid reason and Jane’s sexual proclivity. Others may find these, and some of the other minor irritants in the story, a stronger deterrent. Me, now, I’m a complete sucker for best friend turning into something more stories. Make it a historical with a rough Scot hero, and I’m so there, baby, enough so that I can recommend If You Desire. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.