Narrated by: Carmen Rose
Release Date: November 8, 2016 (audio)
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Source: Tantor Media sent me a complimentary copy
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease, Goodreads Reading Challenge
Goodreads ~ Tantor
The first wedding night that Lady Juliana St. Albans spent with the dark and daring Rhys Vaughan was intoxicating, the heady culmination of her new husband's driving hunger and her own awakened sensuality. When he mysteriously disappeared the next morning, she waited for him in hope and desperation. And when he was finally proclaimed dead in a shipwreck, she bitterly mournted the loss of her love.
The second wedding night that Juliana spent with Rhys Vaughan was six years later, after he returned to claim her just as she was about to wed another. This Rhys was different--bolder, harder, and convinced that she'd betrayed him. Only their blazing passion remains from from their years apart. But is it enough to light their way through the maze of mystery, menace, and mistrust--to the love they once shared and would have to find again?
Gah! Finally the blasted stubborn man found some sense!
Yeah, that's a reaction I had to this story. I adored Stormswept though. Jeffries has a gift with unconventional heroines and Juliana was no exception. Sure she might seem a little fickle in her youth but she typically behaves impetuously even once she's older. Rhys is stubborn to a fault and he's lucky to have met his match in Juliana since she's tenacious and strong-willed enough to wait him out.
Juliana and Rhys meet at a meeting of radicals - Welsh men wanting to shuck off the shackles of British rule. Despite Juliana being British, and the daughter of the man responsible for Rhys having lost his estate, Rhys can't help but be drawn to her. After a secret courtship, the two marry only to be found out by her older brothers. That leads to some none too pleasant things for Rhys.
Flash forward six years and Rhys has returned to claim what is rightfully his. However, he believes Juliana had a part in what he's endured for the past six years and this forms the foundation of the tale of subterfuge, intrigue, and learning to trust and love again.
Jeffries crafted a wonderfully entertaining story. While Rhys and Juliana were fleshed out well, some of the side characters were more one-dimensional. For example, I never fully embraced Darcy's (Juliana's oldest brother) political ambitions as an excuse for his actions. I felt he was simply greedy and selfish, wanting what he wanted. The passion between Rhys and Juliana though was palpable.
Carmen Rose was an excellent narrator. She made the distinction between English and Welsh accents believable. And her pacing in the delivery as well as the emotions conveyed by the characters kept me listening usually longer than I intended.
Overall this was a great historical romance!