TITLE: The Untamed Heiress
AUTHOR: Julia Justiss
STARTED: November 6, 2006
FINISHED: November 8, 2008
FIRST SENTENCE: The shrieking wind whipped her tangled black hair into her eyes as the sea crashed and foamed onto the rocks behind her.
SUMMARY: [From barnesandnoble.com] Imprisoned as a child by her spiteful father, Helena Lambarth vowed upon his death to never again live under a man's rule. But to honor her mother's last wish, she journeys to London to enter society - and finds herself a reluctant houseguest of the dashing Lord Darnell.
Adam, Lord Darnell, has little time to oversee the bedraggled hoyden he's agreed to sponsor. Saddled with his father's debts, he knows his one hope is to win the hand of wealthy Priscilla Standish. If only she weren't so ordinary compared to the unconventional Helena - and if only his waiflike ward hadn't suddenly transformed into a bewitching young woman...
The desire they spark in each other is undeniable. But can the love they try to resist conquer Helena's demons and free them both?
REASON FOR READING: I bought her first book because the character was holding a sword on the cover. I actually liked it, so I thought I would give this one a try.
THOUGHTS: This book was so good, until it went all cookie cutter romance at the end. Justiss did a remarkable job of throwing her two leads into positions that I've rarely seen in romance novels. Helena, though repressed as a child both physically and socially, has triumphed out of captivity. She's got money, spirit, brains, and the hots for an almost broke lord. Said Lord Darnell engages himself to a wealthy heiress he knew in childhood. Now he wants to put his hands all over the new addition to his home. But he can't, cause he's engaged, and watching his frustration is eminently entertaining.
Helena and Darnell do the whole "I want to but I can't dance" and it makes for a steamy read. Meanwhile there is back story about her mother and father who wasn't her father and now her real father is alive but somehow there is a totally different man involved. It's all confusing but, luckily, does not detract from the romance building between the characters in the book. To be honest, that whole plot about her mom's love life was totally unnecessary, but it did draw out the steamy attraction between Darnell and Helena.
Sadly, the book takes a turn for the mediocre at the end. It simply slips into the tried and true romance novel ending: heroine runs away in despair, hero finally relinquishes whatever was holding him back in the firs place, runs to find heroine, only to find her gone, yada yada yada. It absolutely killed the book.
So steamy = good. Cookie cutter = *throat cutting motion here*.
MISCELLANEOUS: No sword on the cover, but at least the author listened to the character description.
KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Beth can read it, and then it's going to PBS.com
RATING: 5/10 [I didn't particularly like it or dislike it; mixed review]
CR: Hard Evidence by Pamela Clare
RN: Most likely another romance novel, though the new Vince Flynn is taunting me from my bookcase.