Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Breathless - Anne Stuart

Breathless (The House of Rohan, #3)

Ruined beyond repair and shunned by London society, lovely Miranda Rohan rebelliously embraces the freedom that comes from having nothing left to lose. However, this dangerous course throws her under the power of the darkly enigmatic Lucien de Malheur—known to many as the Scorpion.Seeking to destroy the Rohans, Lucien traps Miranda in a marriage she thinks is based on friendship but instead is rooted in vengeance. Yet even when she realizes the truth, their enmity fuels a shocking passion—and perhaps even more.Such a man might drive anyone to murder....

After finishing the previous book in the House of Rohan series, that I felt was trademark AS but not exactly one of her top books, I was kind of curious to see what she was going to do with a Rohan heroine. Would she be as jaded as her father and brothers or would she be something different? The truth is that Miranda Rohan is as determined as the rest of the family but while they live in the pursuit of pleasure (before finding their HEA of course) Miranda has decided that it is safer not to have a HEA. After a flirtation that has gone horribly wrong and that has left her reputation in taters she made a new life for herself away from society and seems happy to live that way.

But safe is also boring and when faced with a mysterious scarred man that everyone seems to fear she ends up pursuing his .... even after knowing her family wouldn't approve.

What Miranda doesn't know is that the man she is getting to know has his own agenda ion what concerns her and her family. He was in fact the mastermind  behind the event that ruined her socially and he is know getting close to her with similar dark plans. Lucien knows how to be charming and engage Miranda's affections. When she realises the truth and what he is after it is too late and she ends up marrying him.

What follows is a game of sorts between two people who both love and hate each other in a setting that seems out of a Gothic novel. The house where Lucien takes Miranda after their wedding, planning to leave her there is dark, damp and mostly abandoned with just a few servants. But is feelings toward her prevent him from leaving her and Miranda starts plans to make the best of the situation - her marriage and her new home.

It is a terrifying day when a rake hellbent on revenge realises he is too in love with the heroine to actually harm her and thus plans to have others do it. What Lucien plans was, I'll admit, a bit too much for me. That he took that far was even worse and while I don't think anything would actually be enough to compensate the fact that he almost didn't grovel to win Miranda back ruined the ending for me.

It's like we were rising in tension and anxiety towards a grand finale and suddenly things just fizzle out and that's the end. What happened? Where's the rest of the story? What about our hero mending his ways, learning he was wrong and begging the heroine's forgiveness? I do think that even when they behave badly most guys should be able to redeem themselves but being forgiven without having to work for it? And would Miranda, who endured all that Lucien threw at her, just accept to stay with him without making him pay? Not only that but the ending came about too abruptly.

So, while there's comfort in revisiting a familiar theme, I wasn't totally happy with how the conflict is resolved. I was thinking about grading it a 4 but after some reflexion I decided to lower my grade.

Grade: 3/5

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