Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #7
Published by Avon on March 30, 2021
FINAL DECISION: The Wildes of Lindow has been an amazing series. This book fits right in. The romance is complex, with the relationship building so beautifully between the characters. Both Joan and Thaddeus feel real. There is a lot of adult talking between them, which I love more than unnecessary drama. There is plenty of drama here, but it is not made up of dramatics but deep conflicts that must be worked through.
THE STORY: Lady Joan is scandalous just for existing. Her golden hair reveals that her mother was unfaithful to the Duke of Lindow. Joan is not willing to be quiet and hope people forget about her. Instead, she is always running into scandals of her own. This time Joan is going to act as Hamlet in breeches. Her model for the aristocratic Hamlet is Vicount Greywick, Thaddeus. Greywick spends much of his time saving Joan from herself. Although he has no intention of falling under her spell, he can’t stop spending time with her and is determined to protect her. The two enter into a bargain, Thaddeus will facilitate one real performance by Joan as Hamlet, and she will agree to finally marry. While Thaddeus doesn’t plan on being the groom, he also is attracted to Joan despite his best intentions.
OPINION: This book subverted my expectations. Every time that I thought that I knew in what direction the story would go, it swerved and became deeper and more complex. The story could have been about a free spirit (Joan) and a rigid stick-in-the-mud (Thaddeus), but it wasn’t. The characters have mixed motives and grow and change through this book.
Joan initially seems flighty to me, but her maturity and reasonableness are demonstrated as the story progresses. At the same time, she remains herself. Both the reader and Thaddeus begin to see things in Joan that were unclear as the book began. The same is true for Thaddeus, who is exposed as the book continues.
What I love best about this book is that it never forgets that it is a romance between two people. It’s not the story of Joan finding herself or being independent. Rather it is about how two people fall in love. I’ve greatly tired of recent books which seem only interested in the heroine’s story, and the hero is merely a toy to be manipulated or played off against the heroine. What I find most satisfying in this case is how Joan and Thaddeus grow, change, and become a couple.
This book is funny, romantic, and quite enjoyable (and even has a small secondary romance). I will miss the Wildes greatly.
WORTH MENTIONING: This book has a nice wrap-up of the series at the end.
CONNECTED BOOKS: WILDE CHILD is the sixth book in the Wildes of Lindow Castle series. The romance here is self-contained, so it can be read as a standalone. The entire family appears in this book, however, so it is better to read in order to get the entire dynamic.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.