“You and I have always been inevitable. And I am not a man to take pieces of a whole. I must have everything. The good as well as the bad.”
I read this book because of how much I LOVED Bared To You (by the same author) and when I heard that this was the book that inspired her to write it, I really couldn’t resist reading it.
First off, you should know that, unlike Bared To You, this is a historical novel. As many of you know, that’s not exactly a genre I read much of and I’ll have to admit, it took me a while to get used to the language and writing style. It wasn’t over-the-top “historical” per say, but it definitely wasn’t modern language. But, the more I got into it and the more I got used it to, the more I was able to immerse myself in the story which, in and of itself, was really good.
Destined to marry an Earl and brought up in a world designed for men, Jessica is resigned to her place in the world. However, she cannot help but be drawn to the dashing (oh god, I used the word dashing lol, the historical stuff is getting to me!) and devilishly charming young Alistair Caulfield. On the night before her wedding, she happens upon him in the woods and sees something that shocks her to her core – him selling his body to a woman of high standing. Despite being taken off guard, seeing him in such a shocking display awakens desires she didn’t even know she had.
Seven years later, her husband has died and Jessica decides to go on a sea voyage to tend to their plantations that are now in her possession. Alistair manages to have her aboard his ship. Over the years, he has become quite the successful tradesman. He’s driven, successful, and yet a rebel and a bit of a historical bad boy. He has been enamored with Jessica since he first met her when he was a teen and now, with her husband out of the picture and her away from the shackles of London society, he sees this as the perfect setting for a seduction 🙂
“We are being very naughty,” she pronounced.
“Not nearly naughty enough, but I intend to address that. Hold tight.”
K, don’t judge me, but honestly I wasn’t sure I’d find a historical romance terribly hot. I just kind of assumed that the love scenes would be all “raging cockstands and delicate petals” but boy was I certainly proven wrong! This one sizzled!! In the first scene, he binds her to the bed with tie (in a concentual, really hot way) and proceeds to have his wicked not-so-stuffy way so after that, I was pretty much on board with the book lol.
“If I could… I would remain like this indefinitely – clasped by you, held inside you, a part of you – without moving at all. When we make love, I fight climax with everything I have. I don’t want to come; I do not want it to end. No matter how long I make it last, it isn’t nearly long enough…. Tell me you understand,” he demanded, his lips moving beneath hers. “Tell me you feel it, too.”
“I feel you,” She breathed… “You have become everything to me.”
Clasping her tightly, he pivoted towards the bed.
I loved Alistair and all his sensual, “breathtakingly male” gorgeousness. “Jess thought him the handsomest man she’d ever seen. Exotically so. Blantantly seductive. More than slightly dangerous. Delicious.” But his character went much deeper than that. He was a flawed individual but who loved Jessica with absolutely all of his heart. His devotion to her was beautiful. I also really liked Jessica. Both of them had pasts they needed to heal from and I loved watching them fall in love, help each other heal, and realize how desperately they truly needed each other.
“Don’t pity me,” he said… “I will take any emotion from you but that one.”
“I adore you.”
The harsh line of his mouth smoothed. “That one will do nicely.”
There is also a secondary storyline going on surrounding Jessica’s sister and her brother-in-law. I did like their story but wasn’t quite as into it as I was with Jess and Alistair but I liked how everything ended up tying in together. There was a little ‘something’ I was hoping for at the end that didn’t happen, but still, I was happy with the HEA ending.
As for how it compares to Bared To You… it was not like the historical version of it or anything, but I could definitely see how this was where the inspiration for BTY came from. The characters were similar, but not identical. I saw more of Gideon in Alistair though than I saw of Eva in Jessica. And the plot itself had small hints of similarity, but not really enough to draw comparisons.
It wasn’t a super long read – I finished it in a day of reading on and off. I’ll admit, the “historical” dialogue and some of the writing style kind of kept me from fully immersing myself into the story as much as with a more modernly written book (there were even some phrases I was entirely unfamiliar with that took me a moment to figure out) but the heart of the story and the relationships, I did really like a lot.
I think the bottom line is, historicals really aren’t my thing, but, regardless of that, Sylvia Day did a fantastic job of making me care deeply for the story so I was mostly to over look that in order to enjoy the characters and their journey. There were some really sweet moments, the characters had great chemistry so there were lots of sexy times, so if you are at all a fan of historical romance or want to try one out, you should consider giving this one a shot 🙂