TBR Day. Breathless / Anne Stuart. 2010
Breathless is the 3rd full-length installment of Anne Stuart's latest historical series called the House of Rohan. I read Ruthless and Reckless back when they came out in August and September respectively. Ruthless was an August Phave. I liked Reckless as well, but when I saw the plot for Breathless, I admit I put this on the back burner. Revenge plots usually don't work too well for me. Sadly, that was true for this book as well, although it did have some moments that were very entertaining.
Miranda Rohan is a ruined woman and lives in peace and quiet on the fringes of society. She is close to her family and her particular friend Jane, but is otherwise a bit lonely. Enter Lucien de Malheur, a man who seeks to avenge the death of his sister, a young woman who supposedly was driven to commit suicide by Miranda's older brother. At first Lucien plans to simply make Miranda a total outcast, but after he meets her he is attracted enough to change his plans. Instead, he'll force her into marriage and then cut her off from her family by leaving her abandoned on his remote country estate. The Rohans will lose their daughter/sister the just like he lost his sister. Although with any luck, he'll get some sex and a son/heir out of the deal.
In a nutshell, Lucien is a selfish, manipulative man and there is little in the book that made me at all sympathetic toward him. He is hell-bent on his revenge, yet in the end it seems that he admits awfully easily that his sister may be as much to blame for her own death as anyone else. We aren't told much about Lucien's background or the cause of his scars until late in the book. By then the only reason I was still reading is because I did like Miranda and I loved so much of the dialog between the two of them. Miranda is a practical woman who works hard to make the best out of her situation. She's biding her time until she can safely escape. In the meanwhile, she stands up to Lucien at every opportunity. I have to give Stuart credit here--Miranda is a great heroine and I loved her. It was just too hard to believe in Miranda and Lucien's future happiness together.
As I said, there's a secondary couple in the book. Miranda's friend Jane tries to help Miranda out of her predicament and she has an unlikely ally. Theirs is a sort of love at first sight relationship, which makes sense because Stuart couldn't devote a lot of attention to them. Jane is shy and timid, but she learns to act with courage because that is what Miranda would do if their roles were reversed. Jane's story was sweet.
I would say that if you're an Anne Stuart fan you'd want to read this book. If you're like me and are not fond of revenge stories you might want to give this one a pass.