Her Only Desire
India is often largely hinted at in Regency-era romances but hardly ever explored. I was extremely excited to hear that Gaelen Foley would be tackling this exciting land. Sadly that was the section of the book that worked the least. Overall, though, I was very pleased with the first book in her new trilogy focusing on the Indian branch of the Knight family.
Ian Prescott, Marquess of Griffith is in India on a diplomatic mission regarding various Indian empires. Back in England he grew up very close to the Knight family featured in Foley’s previous series. With the cousins of said family residing in Calcutta, he has a few connections.
It isn’t long before he meets Miss Georgiana Knight, self proclaimed troublemaker and namesake of the Hawkscliffe Harlot. Ian being a proper Englishman is appalled by the vivacious, scandalous Georgie as she attempts to save the life of a childhood friend. Georgie is disgusted over Ian’s highhanded attempts to rein her in after just meeting her. He is just the type of demanding, chauvinistic man she has been warned about through her aunt’s writings.
When Georgie essentially botches up the diplomatic proceedings which threatens to get them all killed, she and her two brothers are ordered to leave India and head for England. It is during her long, lonely trip that she looks back on her free-spirited path and does something that doesn’t normally happen in Romanceland: She realizes that her overly-feisty, TSTL ways have not served her well and vows to change. More importantly, she does.
Georgie and Ian have a few more obstacles to overcome before “The End,” including plots that have followed them from India to England and dark secrets from the past, but it is refreshing to know that neither fights their attraction nor love for each other. They both lay it out there on the table and decide what needs to be done. There were a couple of moments I was sure a Big Misunderstanding was coming. But here the pair talks things out, work things out. Very, very nice.
As separate entities, I didn’t warm up to either character until somewhere around page 100. Georgie’s sassy ways entertained me, but I didn’t know she was quality stuff until she arrived in England. Ian stole my heart when he gave his to Georgie, knowing things might not work out, but wanting to chance it. He truly loves her and it showed.
So what didn’t work? Honestly, the one thing I looked the most forward to was the Indian setting in the first half of the book. Unfortunately it felt as though the author shoved the setting down my throat instead of letting it come naturally. Every thing Indian seemed to be mentioned, most of which I had no clue about. At one point there is a mention of laudanum with the explanation that it is liquid opium right next to it. Yet, I still have no idea what a stupa is.
It took me a while to get into Her Only Desire, but I was rewarded for my patience when the plot and emotion kicked into high gear. The English branch of the Knight family makes many appearances, but nothing too substantial or sappy. Georgie’s brothers, who will star in the next two novels, weren’t very fleshed out and so remain a bit of a mystery. I’m looking forward to reading their stories.