Loving a Lost Lord
I’ve long awaited Mary Jo Putney’s return to historical romance, so I began this one with high expectations. While Loving a Lost Lord is a well done romance on many levels, it also missed the mark on just as many.
The ducal hero, Adam, believed dead in an explosion on his yacht as the story begins, is being desperately sought by a close group of friends he met at a childhood school. Since no body has been found, they cling to the hope that he may be alive and travel north to Scotland where the accident occurred.
In the meantime, a wounded man with no memory washes up in the tide near the Northern England estate owned by Mariah Clarke, the daughter of a gambler who won the land and home in a card game. The man, of course, is Adam and the good-hearted Mariah takes him home to care for him.
Mariah has problems of her own. Following the recent death of her father, a man who claims to be the true owner of the estate turns up and attempts to menace Mariah into marrying him. The forthright young woman invents the only real impediment to the marriage she can come up with by telling him that she is already married. The sudden appearance of Adam lends credence to her story and she informs her suitor – and Adam – that they are husband and wife.
Adam begins the slow recovery process, believing all along that Mariah knows the truth of his past and can help him recover his memory while, at the same time, his friends continue to search. Mariah and Adam are, not surprisingly, drawn to each other, but real life intrudes in the form of the discovery of his identity, the truth regarding the cause of the accident, and the revelation of Mariah’s lie.
What I did like: The characters of Mariah and Adam and the skilled hand of a wonderful prose stylist. What I didn’t like so much: Miracle plot contrivances that seem to come out of nowhere – and there are way too many of them – top the list. I’ll also admit that Adam seemed…well, kind of a tepid lover, since he is far, far, far too willing to accept impediments to their relationship with what seemed like a shrug of his shoulders. It might be realistic, but it sure as hell didn’t seem very romantic.
I also have to admit that the characters of Adam’s childhood friends remained relentlessly generic – I was never able to keep it straight in my head just who was who. Since they are Future Heroes all, my bewilderment translates into a lack of anticipation for the next book in the series. I’ll be there, all right, but am I psyched? Not so much.
But, back to the positive. Having Mary Jo Putney firmly back in the land of historical romance is a good thing. Make that a very good thing. She is one of romance’s very best and I’m expecting great things to develop as the series continues. I wish I could report more enthusiastically about this one, but, sadly, I just didn’t feel it.