Desert Isle Keeper
For those who read Jade Lee’s last novel, Her Wicked Surrender, you will probably be surprised at the transformation in Kit Frazier. The once affable young man can easily be 2011’s Most Tortured Hero.
Seven years ago, Kit’s rigidly proper cousin, an earl, essentially kidnapped him and put him on a ship bound for the colonies, telling everyone that he had died. When his ship pirates attacked his ship, Kit was forced into slavery. Now, though, he’s free and finally ready to return home to England, to return a young man to his family and face his own. Shortly upon his arrival, his betrayal becomes evident — but a tense, potentially violent situation is skillfully defused by Miss Madeline Wilson.
Maddy is a”poor relation” somewhat reluctantly housed by her uncle by marriage and her very young, very immature, and very stupid cousin Rose. Kit is instantly drawn to Maddy’s calm, her logic, her peaceful and practical nature. Maddy’s future is precarious, depending on a respectable marriage to avoid either being kicked out of her home, or having to succumb to her uncle’s advances. But Kit cannot give Maddy what she needs and deserves, as he suffers from violent flashbacks and severe PTSD, and is deep in mourning for everything he lost when his cousin sent him away.
Maddy is an admirable woman with incredible composure and compassion, and the feelings she and Kit have for each other are palpable. The strength of their romance and complexity of their characters form the backbone of this heartfelt and artfully crafted story. Kit is certainly tortured by his past and suffers greatly, but Maddy complements his darkness perfectly.
I do wish that Maddy’s cousin wasn’t quite so ridiculous — Rose truly is an idiot, and any attempts at making her sympathetic fell a bit flat for me. I believed she was caring and, despite her lack of a shred of common sense, wasn’t ill-intentioned; but unperceptive or just “young” just didn’t fly. I also would have liked to see more of Kit with his brothers, as this would play a large part in his healing process, something that largely occurs “off-stage.” And the uncle’s characterization could have been a bit more consistent; the past and present of his character just didn’t seem to line up; you’d think Maddy would have noticed some lechery as a preface to her uncle asking her to be his mistress.
It wasn’t a perfect novel, but DIKs don’t necessarily have to be flawless. Wicked Seduction is well written, has compelling protagonists, and has a wonderful romance at its center — all reasons I really loved this book.