Sandy M’s Duckies Do Series reviews of the Langley Family Trilogy by Lucy Monroe
Historical Romances released by Berkley Sep 2005 – Oct 2006
I’ve had this trilogy in the TBR pile for quite some time, and since I was lucky enough to find all three of them there at the same time, I had to read them now while they were in hand. (Books have a way of getting up and walking out around my house, so I read them when I can see them.) I’ve enjoyed Ms. Monroe’s contemporaries that I’ve read over the last couple of years, so I wanted to check out her historicals. I am certainly glad I did.
Touch Me (Book 1)
6 Sep 05
This is a great start to this trilogy. We get a taste of the betrayal that happened which affected so many lives, a look at how those lives have flourished, or not, over the years since that time, and we get to experience the love as a result of those long-ago actions, plus a very nice set-up for the next book in the series.
Thea’s mother ran from her husband when the man stole her first born from her arms when the boy was only minutes old. What none of them knew was another babe was about to be born, so keeping her daughter a secret, Anna tried to stay in London to secretly see her son, but when her beast of a husband found out, Anna chose the West Indies as a home for her and her daughter, hoping one day to return to see her son when he was man. That day never came, Anna dying of fever before she could make the trip.
Growing up in the West Indies, away from the social confines of London and the ton, Thea is her own woman, intelligent and independent, vowing never to marry and give herself over to a man only to be treated as her mother was. She’s a partner in a prosperous business with the couple who took her and her mother in years before and Thea has discovered discrepancies in the business books. She decides to go to London to confront the man she believes responsible. When Pierson Drake appears looking for the services of a blacksmith to repair his ship’s boiler, she has found a way to the city much sooner than waiting for one of her own ships.
Drake is on a timeline racing to bring his shipment into port so that his investors will not lose money when they put their faith in him; his damaged boiler is costing time as it is, so he doesn’t need a woman trailing along, even one as intriguing as Thea Selwyn. But the woman surprises him at every turn, and he’s determined to find out who is causing the sudden accidents that come too close to fatally injuring the woman. By the time they reach London, their feelings have grown for one another, but Thea is still of the mind she doesn’t need marriage, despite Drake’s insistence they will be together.
What I enjoyed most about this book is the fact the lead characters are together so much of the time, either getting to know one another, irritating the hell out of one another, or lusting their hearts out and taking care of that lust. Mystery and danger are well represented in the story and there’s a nice twist at the end that you don’t see too early.
Outspoken, opinionated Thea Selwyn is no ordinary lady. Raised in the exotic West Indies, she has none of the starchy propriety Pierson Drake is accustomed to—rather, there is a lush sensuality about this impulsive beauty that tempts him unmercifully. Her delectable curves and wide, innocent eyes are enticing enough, but her breathless response to his touch is a lure he can’t resist.
On a voyage that takes them from tropical paradise to the glittering ballrooms of London, Thea and Drake are pulled into a firestorm of illicit passion. Thea knows that once they reach England, the secrets she’s been keeping will kill whatever Drake feels for her. But Drake’s own history has taught him the value of acceptance and the desolation of loss. Thea is the one women Drake has ever trusted with his heart, and he has no intention of losing her— not to the ghosts of the past or the threats of the present. But can he convince Thea to forget the hard lesson she’s learned and take a chance on love?
Read an excerpt.
Tempt Me (Book 2)
4 Apr 06
I’m normally not a fan of misunderstandings between main characters when reading. Misunderstanding happens a number of time between Lucas and Irisa, but it’s mostly because of her innocence and naïveté, so it didn’t really bother me all that much because they would talk it out, argue it out, and go on. I actually had to laugh at these times because Lucas would become so frustrated not understanding the female gender, though he was at fault a few times himself and did not help the situation at hand.
Now the misunderstanding between Lucas and Irisa’s father is another matter altogether. It’s perpetrated by this poor excuse of a father to guarantee that Lucas would not back out of asking for Irisa’s hand; though at this point nothing mattered to Lucas, he wanted Irisa, and I was happy he felt that way. Of course, the misunderstanding comes to light too late, causing Irisa to once again take the blame on herself and try to give everyone an out to save their reputations at the expense of her own.
She’d been raised in a very unloving home, parents wanting her only for what she could bring upon her marriage. Irisa made sure she was biddable on everything except the choice of a husband. So turnabout is fair play, she blackmails her parents into refusing inappropriate suitors. That is until Lucas makes his request for her. All of her “properness” goes out the window once she’s engaged to the man, however, getting herself into trouble right and left with Lucas to the rescue every time. And still he chooses to stay with her instead of walking away.
Irisa expected him to walk away because she’s courting scandal just as Lucas’ mother and brother did and that’s the one thing he doesn’t want in a wife. He’s been a courtly gentleman for years in order to bring the family name back from ruin, but by the time Irisa manages all her trouble, his feelings are full blown for the girl and he refuses to lose her.
Even with the misunderstandings, I enjoyed these characters together. If they hadn’t talked things out, the story could have become quite worrisome, but it actually worked for me. And we’re set up very well for the last book in the trilogy, Jared’s story, which I really looked forward to while reading this one.
Humiliated by his family’s indiscretions, Lucas, Lord Ashton-nicknamed “The Saint” – wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with the prim and proper bride of his choice. And if the innocent young lady in question gives him some decidedly devilish urges, he is determined to control himself-much to her dismay.
Lady Irisa Langley is at her wit’s end. Much as she loves her exasperatingly perfect fiancé, she’s starting to think it would be wrong of her to marry him. For Irisa has a secret that would shock even the world-weary denizens of the Ton, and someone-who doesn’t want her anywhere near Lucas-knows it.
Lucas never knew that he could desire more in a bride than impeccable manners and an unblemished pedigree. But even as scandal looms, a loyal little spitfire with heated kisses and silken skin is making him forget every rule of etiquette he’s ever known…
Read an excerpt.
Take Me (Book 3)
3 Oct 06
Of the three books, this is my favorite. I was actually curious about Jared, Thea’s twin and Irisa’s half brother. He is called “Lord Beast” by the ton due to the scars he bears from saving Irisa from a wolf attack when they were teenagers. He has his own estates and stays away from London society and cares not one whit about what they think of him. After he learns what his father did to his and Thea’s mother, he wants nothing more to do with his sire. So we pick up in Take Me after his father and stepmother have left London for an extended time to hopefully downplay the gossip that is sure to abound when the family scandal is let out.
Calantha is a widowed duchess, experiencing freedom for the past four yours after the death of her abusive husband. She’s closed herself off to all feeling, knowing she’ll never marry again. But when Jared seeks her out, shows interest in her, her heart begins to thaw, and especially more so when she finds out that he’s the one who took in her friend and former servant Mary when the girl disappeared from her home years before. But then she realizes that Jared sought her out only because Mary had asked him to bring her daughter, Hannah, to Calantha, to The Angel, as the ton calls her. Their attraction to one another keeps growing despite the circumstances and she finds herself wanting what she’s never had before, and they eventually marry so that they both can take care of Hannah.
But when Hannah is nearly kidnapped, all evidence points to Calantha and Jared and his family, all of whom she has come to love, look on her with suspicion, except for Irisa, who never doubts her innocence. This breaks Calantha’s heart because she trusts Jared completely and he can’t seem to have the same faith in her. As the entire family hunts down the villain, Calantha once again has to harden her heart with that regal duchess air she does well because she knows it will break her if she allows Jared to burrow any further into her life.
This book was so much more moving than the other two. I actually became misty-eyed several times at scenes dealing with Hannah and Calantha and Jared and then Jared’s realization of how he hurt Calantha with his doubts. And the scenes when Calantha see and touch Jared’s scars for the first time are wonderfully emotional.
Jared, Viscount Ravenswood, has no choice but to honor the deathbed wish of his ailing servant. All she asks is that Jared introduce her soon-to-be orphaned daughter to the notorious and reclusive Calantha, Duchess of Clairborne. No ordinary request, for this is no ordinary child. She is, in fact, the key to the Duchess’s most private secrets, and to Jared’s own past-one that has branded him Lord Beast among the ton.
But when the Viscount meets the Duchess, he finds not the pitiless dowager he expected, but a lovely and wary angel-survivor of a brutal marriage left now with only her roses and the breathtaking mystery that is her life. For Jared, to solve it is to fall in love, to make her believe in the impossible, and to follow the promise that comes with the most intimate whisper of all… Take me…
Read an excerpt.
This is a terrific family trilogy and I highly recommend it!
Overall Grade: A