07 April 2013

What She Wants


Synopsis: Earl Hugh Dulonget of Hillcrest was a formidable knight, used to getting what he wanted. This time, he got himself into a bind. His uncle's will had a codicil: He must marry. And Hugh had just insulted his would-be bride by calling her a peasant! How could he win back her esteem – and her hand?

Everyone seemed to have advice. Some men-at-arms thought that Hugh could win the fair Willa's love by buying her baubles. The old witch who was her guardian wanted Hugh to crawl back on his belly. And his castle priest proffered "De Secretis Mulierum", a book on the secrets of women. But Hugh had ideas of his own. He would overcome every hindrance – and all his friends' help – to show Willa that he had not only what she needed, but what she wanted. And that the two of them were meant for a lifetime of happiness.

First line of chapter one: The door flew open, slamming into the cottage with what would have been a crash if it had been made of stronger material.

Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, published by Dorchester Publishing Co., Inc., 2002; 357 pages; received through BookCrossing.

My thoughts: Lynsay Sands is one of my favorite authors, thanks to her Argeneau Vampire series, of which I've read – in order – through Book 13 so far. I've only read two of her non-Argeneau books, The Highland Bride, which was still a vampire story and which I enjoyed, and The Brat, an historical, which I loved. Two of Ms. Sands' trademarks are sassy humor and comical situations, and she employs both in WHAT SHE WANTS.

The beginning was a little slow and didn't really engage me. Hugh has just learned that his uncle's will decrees that he marry Willa, whom he's never heard of and whom he assumes is his uncle’s “by-blow” - illegitimate child. He rushes off in a fit to Willa's home to announce to her that he has no intention of marrying her, insulting her in the process. Later he learns that Willa is not quite who he thought she was, and that while he inherits his uncle's property, Willa inherits the money needed to run the estate. Back he goes, this time in an attempt to convince Willa that he does want to marry her after all.

Once this part of the story has been resolved and Hugh and Willa travel to their new home to be married, the story picks up tremendously. Willa has a mind of her own, and Hugh often finds her maddeningly frustrating. And consummating their new marriage – let's just say events keep happening to delay that, and both parties are the victims of bad advice from others, much to their dismay and our reading enjoyment.

There are several supporting characters, most of whom are wonderful, creating at times a kind of screwball movie type effect, running in and out of the scene. And there's a mystery afoot, as someone keeps attempting to kill Willa.

All in all, a quite enjoyable romp, and I'm very happy to have several more of this author's books, both Argeneau and non-Argeneau, waiting in my TBR pile.

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