A childhood trauma has left Lady Blanche Harrington incapable of all emotion, least of all love. Now circumstance demands she marry, and Blanche dreads choosing from her horde of fawning suitors. For one very eligible gentleman has not stepped forward....
A war hero and a recluse, Rex de Warenne has long admired Lady Blanche. Though fate and his own dark nature have robbed him of any hope for the kind of future such a lady deserves, Rex is determined to aid her--and keep his feelings to himself. But when their growing friendship leads to a night of shocking passion, Blanche's newfound memories threaten their fragile love...and Blanche's very life.
Joyce's seventh de Warenne novel is another first-rate Regency, featuring multidimensional protagonists and sweeping drama. Six months after the death of her father, Lady Blanche Harrington must seek a husband to help manage her vast fortunes. It's an unfortunate but necessary duty for the chilly Blanche, who's carefully controlled all emotions since the death of her mother two decades earlier. As Blanche travels to her late father's estate in Cornwall, she makes an ill-timed appearance at the home of a former suitor's brother, Sir Rex de Warenne, catching him in a compromising (but strangely enticing) position with the maid. The attraction between the self-loathing Rex and self-denying Blanche is vivid and believable, developing gradually under the watch of Rex's bitter former lover. When Blanche's repressed memories of her mother's death begin to resurface, a tumultuous chain of events threatens the couple's love and possibly Blanche's life. Entirely fluff-free, Joyce's tight plot and vivid cast combine for a romance that's just about perfect. (Aug.)
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Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . it was ok
Posted March 23, 2010 by luvnlife00 , Green Bay, WIThe book was ok. I really liked The Maquerade and The Stolen Bride (from the same group of books). However; was a bit disappointed with this one. Brenda Joyce could have done a lot more with the story I felt. Worth reading but I won't put it at the top of my pile.
2 . A beautiful story
Posted November 18, 2008 by Lena , HawaiiA really beautiful story, I read this book last year and since then it has become one of my all time favorites. It was a touching, moving and achingly heart wrenching love story. The main principals of the story were both wounded in many different ways by things that happened in their lives, that it was hard for them to trust even their own feelings. Rex and Blanche really had to work on accepting and understanding themselves as well as each other. But once they learned to do that, what they found was a passion so fierce and a love so strong i got the impression that it could even out last time. This was the first story that i have ever read where the heroine was even more wounded then the hero. Everything about this story just clicked well and spoke to me. I truly loved it!
August 01, 2007
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Excerpt from The Perfect Bride by Brenda Joyce
TWO HUNDRED and twenty-eight suitors, she thought. DearGod, how would she ever manage, much less choose?
Blanche Harrington stood alone by one of the oversizedwindows in a small salon, outside the vast room where soon,the invasion of callers would begin. Just that morning, theblack draperies that indicated she remained in mourning hadcome down. She had avoided marriage for eight years, but evenshe knew that with her father's death, she needed a husbandto help her manage his considerable and complicated fortune.
But she dreaded the deluge--just as she dreaded the future.Her best friend swept dramatically into the salon. "Blanche,darling, there you are! We are about to open the front doors!"she cried enthusiastically.
Blanche stared out of the window at the circular front drive.Her father had been awarded his title as viscount many yearsago, having made an impossible fortune in manufacturing. Itwas so long ago that no one considered them nouveau riche.Blanche had never known any other life than one of wealth,privilege and splendor. She was one of the empire's greatestheiresses, but her father had allowed her to break off an engagement eight years ago, and although he had never stoppedintroducing her to suitors, he had wanted her to marry for love.It was an absurd notion, of course.
Not because no one married for love. It was absurd becauseBlanche knew she was incapable of falling in love.
But she would marry, because although Harrington hadpassed too swiftly to have verbalized a dying wish--he hadbeen suddenly stricken with pneumonia--Blanche knew hewanted nothing more than to see her securely wed to an honorable gentleman.
Three dozen carriages littered her beautiful drive. Therehad been five hundred condolence calls six months ago. Ofthe cards left, 228 had belonged to eligible bachelors. Blanchewas dismayed but resolved. How many of them were notfortune-hunting rogues? As she had long ago given up on everloving any man, her intention now was to find one sensible,decent, noble man in the lot.
"Oh dear." Bess Waverly came up beside her. "You arebrooding--I know you better than you know yourself--wehave been friends since we were nine years old! Please do nottell me you wish to send everyone away when I have announced your period of mourning to be over. Is there a pointin mourning for another six months? You will only delay theinevitable."
Blanche looked at her best friend. They were as differentas night and day, and that was one of the reasons she loved herso--and vice versa. Bess was dramatic, vivacious and sultry--she was on her second husband and her twentieth lover, atleast--and she made no pretense of the fact that she enjoyedevery aspect of life, and that included as much passion aspossible. Blanche was almost twenty-eight years old, she hadchosen not to marry until now, and she remained a virgin. Shefound life pleasing enough--she enjoyed walks in the park,shopping and teas, the opera and balls. But she had not a clueas to what passion was, or how it felt, not in any shape or form.
Her heart was entirely defective. It beat, but refused to entertain any extremes of emotion.
The sun was yellow, never gold. A comedy was amusing,never hilarious. Chocolate was sweet, but easily passed up. Abuck might be handsome, but no one could take her breathaway. She had never, not once in her entire life, wanted to bekissed.
Long ago she had realized she would never have the passionfor life that a woman was supposed to have. But other womenhadn't lost their mother in a riot at the tender age of six. Shehad been with her mother that Election Day, but she couldn'trecall it--and she couldn't recall her life before it, either. Whatwas worse was that she didn't remember anything about hermother, and when she looked at her portrait hanging above thestairs, she saw a beautiful lady, but it was like looking at astranger.
And vague, violent shadowy images of the past lived somewhere far back in her mind. They always had. She knew it theway some people claimed to know that they lived with a ghost,or the way a child knew that imaginary playmates lived in herbedroom. But it didn't matter, because she didn't want to everidentify those monsters. Besides, how many adults couldrecall their lives before the age of six?
However, she hadn't shed a tear in grief since the riot.Grief was beyond her heart's capabilities, too. Blanche wasvery aware of being different from other women, and it washer secret. Her father had known the entire truth and the reasonfor it. Her two best friends assumed she would one daybecome as passionate and insensible as they were. Her twobest friends were waiting for her to fall wildly in love.
Blanche had always been sensible. She turned to Bess."No, I do not see a point in delaying the inevitable. Father wassixty-four, and he had a wonderful life.