The quick summary to this book is that a young girl needs to fulfill a betrothal contract for her family, but her cousin (the elder of the two) won’t do it, so it falls to Rosalind. Rosalind takes this chance for several reasons, the main two being that she wants her own family and household, and she is considered a witch because of certain gifts she has. So, marrying a viscount seems ideal, even if he is considered a madman.
One thing that bothered me about this book is that the hero, Lucien, is not mad, and doesn’t behave as if he were. He has amnesia, and goes by the name Lucien, not altogether believing he is the Viscount Hastings. But I never understood why they considered him mad. After the first few pages, it was never addressed again.
Another thing that really bothered me was Rosalind. She was able to read people’s thoughts if she touched them, and she had healing abilities, so it’s easy to see why she was branded a witch by her village. Her family was awful to her, considering it was hereditary, you’d think that her family would have been supportive. I liked her at first, I just thought of her as a bit of a doormat.
What bothered me is that she never defended herself, never spoke up, and she went through a lot! There was a murder plot (don’t worry, no spoilers) and the little idiot got bashed in the head, pushed off a cliff, shot at, pushed down some stairs, goodness you name it? It happened to her! And every time her husband warned her to take a footman, or to not leave the castle, or to ask him to go with her, she’d go off on her own! Tra-la-la down the lane just to be thrown from a cart/horse/wasps under saddle, etc. Every other page, she was being idiotic. And then she used her gift of mind-reading to interrogate the villagers without them knowing, but knowing the bits and pieces she found out endangered her. I’m all for a spunky, feisty heroine, but the stupidity level on Rosalind just grated.
Lucien, on the other hand was a piece of work. But I liked him. He woke up after a severe beating in Italy, and a woman nursed him back to health. They married (I’m assuming that’s how he became Lucien, rather than George the Viscount Hastings), and when Francesca was pregnant, they decided to travel to England to see if his memory could return. Well, they were attacked and she was killed, so his trip down memory lane became a quest for vengeance.
What I liked about Lucien was that he was able to love Rosalind too, and realize that he wasn’t being unfaithful to his late wife, or desecrating her memory by loving his new wife. Too often in romances, we see the hero realizing that maybe he never loved his first wife, or that is was more affection than love. He was able to make room in his heart for love again, and I appreciated that.
What I didn’t like was his not consummating the marriage for almost 3 months. It was grounds for annulment, or what if he was killed? She could be stripped of her title and financial security. I also didn’t like how he never gave Rosalind any credit when she finally grew a backbone and told him someone was trying to kill them.
The story picked up from there, and it was interesting. I never saw who the villain was-I was waaay off on my guess, so kudos to you Ms. Munro.
The smuggling ring and the plots to kill Hastings and Rosalind were definitely intriguing. The treasure plot felt a bit too contrived, and thrown in there for no reason other than to add a red herring. I did enjoy the foppish cousin Charles, and I hated the Lady Sophia (we’re meant to dislike her).
I would say that if you want a different take on an arranged marriage with the vengeance-obsessed hero, and the witchy heroine, this is your book. While I felt some of the stupid things Rosalind did would brand her Too Stupid To Live, I did like her more and more, and I love LOVED that she saved the hero, not the other way around! The twist in the ending, with the murder plot, smugglers and even a kidnapping made the book all the more interesting.