Dreams of Desire
Grade : B-

If I were to sum up Dreams of Desire in one word it would be “silly." This book has a silly plot and silly characters. As a result it is an easy, moderately enjoyable read that can’t be taken too seriously.

John Middleton, the Earl of Penworth, is the new guardian of twin eighteen-year-old wards and in need of a professional chaperone. The girls have already managed to scare off seven other women hired for the position and John is desperate. Lily Lambert is the first and only applicant for the job. When she realizes the situation – that the twins are evil and out for the blood of anyone who gets in the way of their freedom – she changes her mind and attempts to leave. John orders her to take the job and Lily, who is a spinster and has no other options, is forced to do so. It becomes immediately clear that the twins will resort to anything (including murder) to get rid of Lily, and she must manage to stay one step ahead of the girls at all times.

To complicate matters, Lily meets a gypsy who sells her a bottle of “Spinster’s Curse” which will cause a man to love her if she drinks it while staring at him. She chooses a ship captain as husband-worthy material and drinks the potion, but she is of course confronted by John who steps into her field of vision and becomes the man affected by the potion's powers. However, John already has a fiancé, a young girl he cannot bring himself to love. The family travels to John’s castle in Scotland and the book devolves into a juggling act of lovers: His estranged mother falls in love with the gypsy, his fiancé falls in love with his brother, his brother falls in love with the twins, and John falls in love with Lily.

The death knell to this book would be to take it seriously. It should be read for what it is - a silly book that contains very little substance and a lot of scandalous plot twists. John is initially introduced as stuffy and domineering, but it becomes immediately clear (as early as the first chapter) that in the presence of Lily he is outgoing and shocking. His fiancé, who is socially perfect but has the personality of a doormat, falls in love with his brother, whose only goal in life is to thwart John. While seducing John’s fiancé, his brother is also seducing the twins, who end up leading him in a dangerously sadistic game to gain their freedom. None of the characters have any real motive or personality, and the book holds itself together with absurd twists.

Lily is outgoing and bubbly, a perfect foil to John’s stuffiness, and all the other characters just seem to bop along carelessly. The only enigma, really, are the twins who are disturbingly malevolent. They make numerous attempts to murder Lily, tie up the brother and whip him, and generally cause mayhem and chaos. One of the things that really made this a silly book is that the twins are more or less pathological killers, and their behavior goes unchecked and unnoticed. When they try to kill Lily the first time, John locks them in their room. That was it. They are characters out of a crime novel, yet nobody seems to be aware of it.

If you’re looking for a change from tough, emotional romances, Dreams of Desire provides a good break. It isn’t a great book but it does have an entertaining plot and if you’re willing to put up with the ridiculousness of the characters then it might fit the bill.

Reviewed by Jacqueline Owens
Grade : B-

Sensuality: Hot

Review Date : January 4, 2011

Publication Date: 2010/12

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