Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kathryn Smith - A Seductive Offer

A proposal of marriage she could not refuse...
Lord Braven has saved Rachel Ashton’s life twice, it seems – when he snatched her from the icy Yorkshire river… and when he offered to marry her. Now the desperate miss will be rid forever of the repulsive husband-to-be horrid stepfather has “ sold” her to. But though both agree their marriage is in name only, Rachel finds she cannot dismiss her burning need to taste the sweet kiss of her dashing benefactor.

A passion they could not resist...
Having a real wife is unthinkable, since Braven must never love again. And as long as this sham marriage is not consummated, his heart will remain safe – and his secret can go untold. But the exquisite beauty tempts the haunted lord unmercifully with her deep lavender eyes and sensuous full lips. How can he resist this most perilous desire, when his heart swears it would be more dangerous still to deny himself the ecstasy true love?

A Seductive Offer is the first part in the Friends trilogy, it takes place in Yorkshire in the Regency period, but that is the only thing about this story that is really Regency, the time period. Kathryn Smith, as always, writes fluent plotlines and her writing is easy to read but I have to be honest, as much as I love her Ryland Brothers series and her paranormal series Brotherhood of Blood, this story could not hold my attention and it was quite a struggle to finish the book.

The main plotline is about domestic violence, Rachel’s stepfather is the violent type and her mother often has to suffer for it. Rachel is desperate to find a way out for her mother and herself, her mother claims she married again for Rachel’s sake so they could have a good life. But they would have been better off if her mother had taken a job as a seamstress then living with a wife beating bastard. Though I know that women in that time period had not much influence, the mother is so passive and resigned to her faith, it made me want to scream. Somehow Rachel irritated the hell out of me, yes she is courageous and bold and she tries to fix things, but she could have done something to help herself and her mother so much more previously.

The other plotline is Braven’s guilt. The death of his best friend’s sister haunts him, he feels guilty, feels that he could have prevented it. So he drinks himself thoroughly plastered day in, day out so he won’t feel anything. He does this throughout the story and I kept waiting for him to man up, yes he does take charge of things again and he stands up to the evil and wicked stepfather but for the story it is too little and too late. He marries Rachel so he can help her and her mother and because it is time for him to get married. But with Rachel’s mother always in the picture there is hardly any romance going on, the old saying two is a party but three is a crowd certainly applies here.

Julian and Gabriel are Braven’s best friends and they both have their own story in part two and three of this trilogy. They have come to visit Braven and soon I caught myself that I was much more interested in reading their stories than in finishing this one. Although Rachel tries in her own way to make something of her life, Braven‘s character is just to washed out to enjoy. Perhaps it is just me but I did not like the whole domestic violence plotline, it wasn’t fleshed out well enough for my taste and the end of the story was almost an anticlimax.

So does that mean this is a bad story? No. It just did not charm me, it just went on and on without grabbing me. I like my heroes to be strong or that they undergo a certain change that makes them grow strong, I missed that in this story. But I am certainly not discouraged to read the other two stories in this trilogy for I know Kathryn Smith writes great stories, only A Seductive Offer could not enchant me.

2,5 stars

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