All My Desire
I had serious issues with this book, beginning in chapter two and continuing until it was finally over. The hero’s justification for his nasty behavior did not endear him to me, and the heroine’s idiotic tendencies didn’t do her any favors either.
Alexander DeFrouchette, (the bastard son of a man accused of being a traitor against King Richard), believes he was wronged when his father’s estate of Bellevoire was given to Sir Connor and not to him. His father never acknowledged Alexander as his son, and Alexander never bothered to find out the details of his father’s crime. Alexander knows that dear old dad wasn’t a good guy, but that doesn’t matter to him. He chose to believe the words of another shady character, Lord Oswald, and never bothered to ask anyone else.
Lord Oswald is an old enemy of Sir Connor and he hires Alexander to kidnap Allis, Connor’s wife, for ransom. Because Alexander is promised a large amount of money in return, he agrees to the scheme, even knowing that Oswald isn’t the most trustworthy of men and has been banished by King Richard for his own traitorous actions. Alexander has been trained as a knight and manages to convince himself that his actions are noble and just.
Lady Isabelle is out to market with her brother in law, Sir Connor, because her sister, the pregnant Lady Allis, is not feeling well. While Isabelle is briefly away from Sir Connor, she is abducted, apparently by brigands.
After Alexander kidnaps the wrong woman, he looks at her unconscious form and feels overcome with lust and desire. He wants to run his hands over her unconscious body and fondle her. Then he throws her in a sack. This certainly gave me charitable feelings toward him, you betcha.
Lady Isabelle awakens, has a rousing fight with Alexander that sends both of their emotions spinning, and then realizes that he believes she is Allis. To protect her family she pretends to be Allis. After she tries to escape numerous times and has many exciting arguments with Alexander (stirring their blood with desire, mind you), they arrive in a remote castle belonging to Oswald.
The fun never stops. Isabelle is threatened with rape from a rampaging band of mercenaries called Brabancons, a ship full of Norsemen, and Lord Oswald’s lecherous and abusive son, Osburn. Being the spirited gal she is, Isabelle never stops to wonder if DeFrouchette could actually protect her from all the rampaging bad guys if they did seriously want to hurt her, and continues to engage in stupid, childish and dangerous behavior. Her only redeeming quality was her loyalty to her family and her willingness to sacrifice herself to protect her sister.
Alexander and Isabelle are quite the pair, and amidst all the fighting, escape attempts and threats from bad guys, they manage to fall in love. Hooray for them, but not for me, as there was still more book yet to come.
Alexander finally decides that maybe he wasn’t such a noble guy after all and then develops a martyr complex in order to save Isabelle. There were some mildly amusing secondary characters and a secondary romance, none of which saved the story for me. Alexander and Isabelle face more problems, and yet more problems, and more problems still!
I thought this book would never end. By the time Alexander and Isabelle get everything straightened out, I needed medication. Do yourself a favor and if you like Medievals, skip this one. All My Desire would have made a great promotional tool to include with a bottle of aspirin; the warning label on the book could have read: “Alexander and Isabelle have been known to cause severe headaches.”