Sunday, June 18, 2006
Lady of Fortune by Anne Stuart
As the child bride of and elderly husband, Lady Julianna of Moncrieff learned little of men and nothing of pleasure. So when the newly widowed lady finds herself thrown into the company of the mocking and elegant Nicholas Strangefellow, a maddening court jester sent by King Henry III to entertain at her mother's wedding, Julianna is more than wary; she is determined to keep her distance.
But it doesn't take long for the mysterious Nicholas to weave his wickedly sensual spell around her. And only when it is too late will Julianna discover what sort of man he really is...a coolly calculating spy out to steal a sacred relic—and her own innocent heart. Yet Nicholas is in for a shock of his own. For never did the king's fool imagine that he would become a fool for love...until the moment comes when he must choose between desire and betrayal.
Ever since I read Stuart's THE DEVIL'S WALTZ, I've wanted more! More of the nasty villain-like hero who is truly a sadistic piece of work, rather than a mere foppish idiot...more aspects that make him barely redeemable...more that would make me truly in awe of the woman able to capture and tame him. Most of the time I read a novel about a "villainous" hero who ends up being anything but. If you want to read about heroes who start off being truly fucked up, nasty, arrogant, overbearing, murderous, borderline psycho in their actions, then read a Stuart novel.
That being said, I can't honestly say the hero of this novel was that nasty; he was selfish by all means, willing to do anything to get what he wanted, including sleep with the heroine's mother (which he didn't because by that point he was all up in the heroine's grill and couldn't bring himself to do it). Yes, these personality traits and deficiencies are NOTHING compared to what Stuart has to offer in other novels.
I did enjoy the hero, however (and yes, I am deranged because I love these types of heroes so much). I loved his thought process and the way he pretended to be this total idiot when in fact he wasn't.
The heroine was guarded but not annoying. She wasn't TSTL and that pleased me. I didn't understand why the hero fell in love with her though. The book felt too short and never made me fully comprehend what the hero saw in the heroine. The book contained a secondary love story that was far more appealing..that of the heroine's mother and her new husband. Now that was HOT HOT and HOT! I wish Stuart had given the couple their own novel...their story was that intense.
The story is set in the Middle Ages. I usually read books set in the 1800s. It was interesting to read how very much like chattel women were treated at the time, married off to the highest bidder or, if noble, used to settle old scores or create alliances. I enjoyed that aspect of the book. I did find the novel funny. One of the funniest scenes was when the heroine thinks the hero has some sort of disease because his YOU KNOW WHAT is throbbing and hard. Despite the fact that she was married and is now a widow, the girl has no clue about sex. I'll let you read the book and find out why. The hero keeps a straight face throughout the heroine's worried rant but it's obvious he's reading to burst out laughing. Classic!
I enjoyed the story, but it didn't give me butterflies or make my heart sing. However, it was good and for that I would give it a big B. The hero was dark but not as dark as I would have wanted him to be. The heroine is not TSTL AND you get a bonus love story. What more can you ask for?