Only In Your Arms
At times, I wanted to throw tomatoes at the hero of Only in Your Arms. (This bad boy was so bad he was good.) At times, I wanted to pelt the heroine’s father with onions. Sometimes, the plot of seemed too busy. But darn it, I enjoyed this book, and recommend it heartily, flaws and all.
Lady Judith Ashton is betrothed to a perverted older lord. Because of family loyalty, she’s set to go along with the match. . . until she meets handsome actor Marcus Sinclair. He was hired by Richard, a gentleman who is in love with Judith, to rescue her from the dreadful upcoming marriage. Terrified by the demands of her fiancé, and fascinated by the actor, Judith agrees to run away with Marcus, though she cares little for Richard.
Little turns out as planned. Richard’s mother thinks Judith isn’t good enough for him and wants to plan his life. It soon becomes clear that Judith and Richard will never suit, so Marcus comes to the rescue again and returns her to her father. Judith and Marcus are drawn to each other, and they must decide if they should follow their hearts. Their choices lead to violent attacks, twisted plots, and machinations. Many times, Marcus proves that the common man can be nobler than the nobility.
Judith is the only hope for the continuation of her family’s line. She surely didn’t mean to fall in love with an actor. What about her devotion to her family? Yet despite her pampered life, she remains strong in the face of adversity. She is the conscience in her family. Marcus has never believed in love, but suddenly, he finds himself willing to do anything for Judith. At times, this means pushing her away because he wants her to have a better life. Some of his tricks to get Judith to dislike him were downright underhanded. Usually, when a character does that sort of thing, I get annoyed, but in this case, I understood. And I felt his pain. Their love scenes are generally passionate and yet tender. Be warned, however, that one love scene is more intense. Marcus tries to use outré lovemaking techniques to make Judith angry so that she’ll fall out of love with him.
Like a Shakespearean play, Only in Your Arms is filled with lively secondary characters. Judith’s outspoken maid is the perfect foil for Richard, who has some growing up to do. This pair provides a great secondary love story. Meanwhile, several devious nobles add their misdeeds to the plot. Even Judith’s father does awful things, though at least he feels guilty now and then. At first, I thought he was inconsistent, then I realized that was his character – wavering.
Like many of Shakespeare’s plays, however, this novel has a fair share of violence and grim elements. Marcus is brutally attacked by thugs, and he gets tossed into prison. Also, Judith must endure a humiliating examination when midwives forcibly examine her to find out if she is still a virgin.
This book isn’t for everybody. Some of the dialogue doesn’t ring true to the Elizabethan era. And, though it has its subtle moments, Only in Your Arms is not for readers who prefer subtle reads. The plot includes twists, escapes, and even a coincidence or two. Luckily, the plot moves so quickly that you won’t notice any momentary flaws in logic.