Liked the Heroes but the Heroines Drove Me Crazy
This book contains two novels from the Stapleston-Downes series (number 3 and 4 in the series).
DARK ANGEL: Jennifer Winwood has been unofficially engaged to Lord Lionel Kersey for five years. Finally, her dream of marrying Lionel is coming true. They are to be married within months. Jennifer knows Lionel is honorable and she has loved him for years. Just when things seems to be going right for her, she meets Gabriel Fisher, Earl of Thornhill, a rake and known to be dishonorable. I liked how the romance between Jennifer and Gabriel developed. Jennifer believes herself in love but is still drawn to Gabriel. I believed how their emotional attachment developed and I ended up liking both of these characters even though Jennifer’s behavior annoyed me for much of the book. I liked Gabriel much more as a character even as he had bad motives for pursuing Jennifer. I love the complicated nature of Balogh’s romances. Thoughtful and romantic. Rating: 4 stars.
LORD CAREWS BRIDE: Samantha Newman (cousin to the heroine in DARK ANGEL) fell in love with Lord Kersey while her cousin was engaged to him. She realized that he had used her and has hated him for six years. When Kersey returns to England, she fears that she will fall into his arms again, so she seeks safety with Hartley Wade, a disabled gardener that she met in the country. Unknown to her, however, he is actually the Marquess of Carew and Kersey’s cousin. I want to say that I absolutely adored Hartley. He is one of my all time favorite heroes. He fails to tell Samantha the truth about his identity, but he is constantly wanting to please her and he doesn’t hide his love for her. He is very self-conscious about his disabilities and he sees their romance as a type of beauty and the beast story. On the other hand, Samantha drove me crazy. She is so determined to cling to her past with Kersey that she hurts Hartley greatly. Her thinking is muddled and annoyed me. Despite this, however, my appreciation for Hartley and the resolution of the story saved the book for me. Rating: 4 stars.