My Lady Beloved
I’ve enjoyed books by this author (under her pseudonym Linda Lael Miller) in the past, namely her vampire series. I haven’t read any recent titles of hers, and if this book is any indication, apparently I haven’t missed anything.
Gabriella Redclift has spent most of her nineteen years in St. Swithin’s Abbey with her sisters, twin Meg and younger sister Elizabeth. A betrothal has been recently arranged for her, which is a great coup, for her family is impoverished. Gabriella has misgivings about Sir Avendall, her intended, but is determined to make the best of things in order to help her sisters. When Avendall does not show up in person to fetch her, her fears deepen. Lord Morgan Chalstrey has planned his revenge on Avendall for years, and sees the perfect opportunity when Gabriella is escorted from the abbey. Morgan wants to avenge his first love, Rebecca, who died many years ago. Morgan has no trouble kidnapping Gabriella and her companion from Avendall’s unprepared men.
Morgan and Gabriella do not hit it off well, to put it mildly. Gabriella rightfully believes Morgan is a brigand and fears for her safety. Gabriella starts off as a seemingly meek person, but as soon as she meets Morgan, she turns into a termagant. Morgan, of course, is not forthcoming about his reasons for kidnapping Gabriella, and the two spend much of their time fighting. Then they move from fighting, to fighting their overwhelming attraction to each other. The tried and true “I hate you, kiss me!” plot is well in evidence here.
Gabriella plays the part of the TSTL heroine to perfection. She decides to martyr herself to Avendall in order to prevent fighting between Morgan and Avendall, even though it is apparent their hatred is years old. Later, she runs into the middle of a joust between Morgan and Avendall, and finally spends time journeying over the English countryside while eight months pregnant.
There is a total lack of any meaningful communication between Gabriella and Morgan. Many things could have been solved had they actually taken the time to talk to each other. Morgan plays the uncommunicative hero throughout the book. Gabriella fails to inform Morgan, even after they are married, that her sisters are in real danger. She must save them herself, of course. Avendall is the typical evil villain with no real job other than to thwart Morgan and Gabriella’s happily ever after.
The author also used an exceedingly awkward grammatical style. Here’s a few examples:
Upon deducing that there was no fever – Gabriella was rarely ill – he pronounced her fit….
Gabriella was disconsolate as she peered out at the drizzling rain – would it never stop – and smoothed….
Nothing of use had been left behind – nary a kettle or cot – but there was a loft….
Sentences interrupted by dashes were present on nearly every page, and they definitely broke up the flow of the story. A few of this author’s works are on my keeper shelf. It appears that nothing new of hers will join them, as this book was a chore to finish at all.