This month's book is number 7 in Gaelen Foley's "Knight Miscellany" series. I read the first 6 books some 4-5 years ago and I'm not sure why this one sat on my shelf for so long--I think it just got buried. I remember that I had really liked those books. But I admit I don't remember the details real well, just that I had always meant to keep reading her books.
Here is the back cover blurb:
An English rose blooming in the untamed jungles of South America, Eden Farraday lives a life of independence–unheard of for a lady–with her doctor–turned–scientist father. But Eden misses England desperately. When the dangerous and darkly charming Lord Jack Knight sails into her life, she seizes her chance to return to civilization, stowing away aboard his London–bound ship.
Roguish and charismatic, a self–made shipping tycoon with a shadowy past and a well–guarded heart, Jack is sailing on a vital secret mission. When the redheaded temptress is discovered aboard his vessel, he reacts with fury—and undeniable lust. Forced to protect her from his rough crew, the devilish Lord Jack demands a scandalous price in exchange for Eden’s safe passage across the sea. As his wicked kiss ignites an unforgettable blaze of passion between them, Jack and Eden confront a soul-searing love that cannot be denied.
I would really like to tell you that I liked this book, but this one just did not work for me. I'm not sure I can even give you a compelling reason why not. But I'll try. Jack is estranged from his half-siblings; I think this is supposed to make him come across as a "tortured hero" but since the estrangement was his choice, it's hard to feel a lot of sympathy for him. It's also hard to feel a lot of sympathy for Eden when she gets angry at Jack about 2/3 into the book. They are married at this point and have arrived at Jack's home in Ireland. He has to go on to London and decides to leave Eden alone in Ireland because his business in dangerous. She gets very angry with him, but he changes his mind, apologizes, and takes Eden to London after all. Yet she remains angry with him for weeks because she doesn't feel like his partner. That kind of attitude strikes me as modern thinking and out of place in a historical. Plus I'm just not a fan of characters that withhold forgiveness when it's been sought after sincerely.
One of the subplots of the book is Jack's work to help Bolivar defeat the Spanish in South America by recruiting veterans of the Napoleanic wars and delivering them to Bolivar. This external conflict was kind of interesting to me, but ended up being downplayed by some of the internal conflicts between Jack and Eden that seemed more manufactured than real. The Jack who appears in the beginning of the book is supplanted by a Jack who behaves irrationally and emotionally. It just doesn't jive with the first part of the book.
For the most part, I like Foley's writing, although in parts the prose is quite purple. However, this time I just couldn't get into the story. It took me over a week to finish it--I kept picking up other books instead. I understand from Foley's website that the 3 books she published after this one about Knight family cousins who come to England from India. That sounds interesting and I'll be looking for those. But this one I cannot recommend.