Saturday, October 11, 2008

Secrets of Surrender - Madeline Hunter

He catches her eye across the dining room—a handsome stranger who stands out among the lewd noblemen and bawdy painted women. But their worlds are about to collide in a way Roselyn Longworth could never have imagined. For before the night is out, she will be auctioned off to the highest bidder...and Kyle Bradwell will lead her from one kind of hell to another. Yet from the moment he wins her, Kyle treats Rose with a gentleness she hasn't known since a family scandal destroyed her reputation. And when she finally learns what is really driving Kyle, it's too late. For Rose has fallen for the man who knows her most intimate secrets. Now he has stunned her with a proposal of marriage—the first step in a seduction that will demand nothing less than her complete surrender....

Unlike the previous book in this series I did enjoy this one very much! It starts with the heroine being auctioned. What a more scandalous and reputation ruining situation for a young lady. I couldn't wait to see how Hunter was going to rescue her.

After Kyle saves Roselyn from the auction and brings her safely to her family he is approached by Easterbrook who wants to find a way of saving her reputation. I love Easterbrook, he is that character that is always directing the action behind the scenes but refuses to acknowledge that he is doing anything noble. He just suggests the wedding, and a wedding gift, so his sister-in-law doesn't suffer and his brother can stay happy. Right! (Just a side note to say it was lovely seeing him manipulate his aunt's love affair).

So Kyle decides to get to know Roselyn better and eventually asks for her hand. She believes herself ruined and beyond all redemption and at first refuses him but Kyle is also not a gentleman but a collier's son and an architect who works for a living. He eventually convinces Rose that they can make their marriage work.

I did like it that they are both damaged individuals and both outside the nobility, Kyle by birth and Rose by her brother's situation and her own lost reputation. She does however move in the right circles and spends part of the book trying to get her place in society back. I had some trouble with the way she kept defending her brother and protecting him. He was a thief and her protection could have cost terribly to her husband. Not to mention that Kyle has a past of enmity with the man who tried to auction Roselyn and she ends up being another point of discord between them. The auction was in fact a vengeance against her because of her brother.

I think one of the things I enjoyed the most was the relationship between Kyle and Rose. They start in a tentative way but once they start talking with each other there is a sense of intimacy and trust in their relationship. In such a complicated relationship Hunter is clever enough to avoid some potential misunderstandings. Even when Kyle asks Rose not to do things and she does them, they always end up talking to each other and explaining themselves. For me the story was all about those two getting to know each other and learning to trust and love each other even in strained and difficult circumstances. I really enjoyed Kyle as a hero, a sensible and sensitive hero who loves his heroine and does everything in his power to protect her, even from herself.

Grade: B+

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