Monday, November 21, 2005

Dedication by Janet Mullany

The cover of Dedication is deceiving because, woo doggy, for a traditional regency, this one is H.O.T. And inside the cover you will not find anything like your typical regency. Not only is this one more sensual, the complex plot was very unusual with many different threads running through it. The hero and heroine are more 'mature' than you'll find in other regencies as well; he is 43 and she is 37. To top it off, he is a grandfather who writes gothic romance novels! Finally a book that shows us that 'mature' does not mean dead.

Everything about the H/H was fresh and original. Fabienne Craigmont is a widow and a former refugee from France who has settled in England. She is now acting as a sponsor of emerging young artistic talent in London. As a naive 17-year-old she met and fell in love with Adam Ashworth who seduced her. After a brief affair he betrayed and abandoned her. Fabienne must marry for the sake of her family. Her husband turns out to be a better lover than Adam was the first time around and they have a wonderful sex life. Due to a Big Misunderstanding Adam also feels betrayed and abandoned and returns home after their affair to marry and surprisingly to him falls deeply in love with his wife. Adam is a now a widower and a gentleman farmer who secretly writes wildly popular novels. Adam and Fabienne meet again when Adam has heard that his young godson, Viscount Tillotson, has taken a mistress who is indiscreetly living in the Viscount's home. He rushes to town to knock some sense into his ward only to discover that the mistress is actually a young female artist, Miss Elaine Twyford, who is using the Viscount as a model in her paintings. Elaine's chaperon living in the house with her is none other than Fabienne, Adam's former lover.

I loved both Fabienne and Adam. Fabienne is unapologetically sexual and takes no crap from Adam. Although Adam is a flawed character and does not always behave as a hero should, his cherished memories and deep love for his late wife won me over. It's so unusual to see dead spouses portrayed so warmly and positively.

All the characters were unique and three-dimensional and the dialogue was sharp with a touch of humor. In several places Adam's thoughts were so typically male and I found them especially funny. The pacing of the book was a little uneven due to the many subplots. I didn't like the huge misunderstanding that takes almost the entire book to work its way out. Plus there were additional misunderstandings that develop regarding the identity of 'Mrs. Ravenswood', Adam's nom de plume. The book could have been longer and the ending was a bit abrupt. I read somewhere that this was originally a longer book but due the the shorter requirements of a Signet regency, Mullany had to cut it down. If that's true, I would have liked to have read the original!

If you are looking for something fresh and unconventional in a typical regency, you'll enjoy this one. Years ago I read hundreds of traditional regency romances but only a few stand out in my mind. So it was very exciting to find something original in this genre. Also, with a few exceptions, I prefer more sex in what I read :) If Signet has decided to market sexier regencies to keep this genre afloat, then I'm going to be reading more of them again.

My Grade: B

4 comments:

Rosario said...

Oh, good, this one's getting here soon, and I want to read it more with each review I read! :-)

Tara Marie said...

This sounds really good, I'm heading to B&N this weekend, I'll add it to my list.

Janet Mullany said...

Thanks Renee, glad you liked it!
Janet, the blushing author.

ReneeW said...

Janet, thanks for stopping by! I'll be looking for your next one.

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