Well, I’m on the fence about this one. While Lucy Monroe has a nice enough style and feel for the period, nothing much seems to happen in this book. And, since I didn’t get all that caught up in the characters either, Take Me is a book I ultimately can take or leave.
I haven’t read the previous books in this series, and it seemed to be a handicap since there was an awful lot of winking and nodding going on about the hero’s sisters, who I take it featured in them. I was able to follow the story, mind you, but I was always aware that I was missing out on a bit of the party. Still, the book basically does qualify as a stand-alone.
Jared, Viscount Ravenwood, is one of those scarred heroes, but (believe it or not) his aren’t war-related, but instead a result of saving his sister from an animal attack – to be honest, I’ve forgotten exactly what kind of animal less than 24 hours after reading the book and that is not a good sign. At any rate, his scarred visage frightens young children and young misses, so he largely avoids society. (Bet you haven’t heard that one before.) When his young housekeeper and good friend dies, leaving him in charge of her young daughter, he finds himself bound by her last wish to take the child to a woman known as the Angel. Jared has reasons to dislike the beautiful and mysterious Angel, whom he believes was in some way responsible for the rape that resulted in the birth of the child.
The Angel, otherwise known as Calantha, Duchess of Clairborne, was, of course, as much a victim of her sadistic husband as was Jared’s friend, something it doesn’t take him too terribly long to figure out. Soon enough, he discovers that she was a pawn in her marriage and that the current Duke – who spends a lot of time sexually harrassing her – isn’t any nicer. Add in the fact that she adores the child from the moment she meets her, and before long Jared ends up popping the question.
Of course, there has to be conflict in the book and I’m sorry to say that the conflict here – something I won’t go into for fear of spoilers – feels distinctly of the manufactured kind. And it also adds up to a rather flat last quarter of the book.
Still, Ms. Monroe has a nice enough voice and I was rarely jerked out of the story by dialogue that felt too modern – a rarity nowadays, I’m sad to say. The characters of Jared and Calantha (and that name is slightly barf-acious, don’t you think?), however, seemed decidedly on the bland side. As for the child, let’s just say she strays far into the red on the overly cutesy meter on more than one occasion.
So, even if I can’t get wildly – or even mildly – enthusiastic, Take Me is a satisfying enough, if slightly generic book. Unfortunately, on today’s historical romance bell curve, that puts this one on the above average side of the scale.