What Isabella Desires
It’s pretty sad when you finish a book and all you can think about is how boring it was. Such is the case with What Isabella Desires. I am a fan of unrequited love stories, but the affection Isabella had for her childhood friend Marcus was simply not believable. Their love affair was beyond dull to the point that I wondered how these two would co-exist with each other even after they have their HEA.
Marcus Stewart, Lord Roth, doesn’t feel worthy of love for no particular reason that I can see. This doesn’t make sense as Marcus seems to have it all with his dark hair, whiskey eyes, lush lips… well, you get the point. He has a wonderful set of friends and a woman who would do anything for him. He also happens to be a top notch something-or-other for the Foreign Office.
Lady Willoughby was married to a nice man who is now conveniently deceased, but Marcus has always had her heart. Isabella hides this so well that she is more of a sister to him than anything else and she seems to divide her time between watching Marcus in crowded ballrooms and gardening. Isabella decides she wants to be a little more daring, so she starts wearing shocking dresses that show too much cleavage. Suddenly, the brotherly feelings Marcus has for Isabella disappear because he likes the way she now looks in her new low-cut red ball gowns. He just has to kiss her and soon decides that this is a good time to have an affair with her. Other than trying to solve the mystery of some unknown murdered agents, what else has he got to do?
Soon Isabella and Marcus are exchanging longing glances in public which somehow makes Isabella a target for the bad guy. This gives Marcus an excuse to whisk her away to his country home for her protection and, of course, a little seduction. I will give Mallory some credit for the interesting use of a piano as a seduction tool, but all I could think about during that love scene was that Isabella will have a lot of back pain the next day. For some reason, the thought of consummating a relationship on piano keys doesn’t appeal to me in the least.
Eventually Marcus is able to solve the vague mystery that I couldn’t even remember by the time I got to the final chapter. Perhaps my problem is that I didn’t care to. Everything about What Isabella Desires was so vague and overall “blah” that it took quite a bit of willpower on my part not to stop reading by the third chapter. The chemistry between Isabella and Marcus was non-existent and the fact that our hero has the stereotypical brooding issues for no good reason made me really want to give up reading altogether.
For those who like mundane and, dare I say, inane storylines with no passion or intrigue, you are welcome to this one. I, for one, will take a pass next time I see an Anne Mallory title.