Always by Lynsay Sands
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Rating: 2 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***
Summary (from Goodreads):
New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands returns with the unforgettable story of a reluctant bride and groom who soon find common ground in the bedroom . . .
Bastard daughter to the king, Rosamunde was raised in a convent and wholly prepared to take the veil . . . until King Henry declared she would wed Aric, one of his most valiant knights. Suddenly she found herself promising to love, honor, and obey.
Rosamunde's education had not covered a wedding night, but the handsome warrior she was now bound to seemed intent on giving her a lesson in the art of pleasure. In no time, Aric was certain she would surrender to the irresistible passion he promised.
And while Rosamunde's spirited nature often put her at odds with her new husband, his mastery in seduction was quickly melting her resolve—and capturing her heart.
What I Liked:
I know two stars isn't the worst rating ever, but I am SO SAD that I didn't like this one more. I know I really wanted to love this book, going into it. The cover is amazing, the premise sounds so wonderful, and I love Lynsay Sands - but this book wasn't that good, or close. So disappointed!
Aric, knight of King Henry, is determined never to marry, after he finds his betrothed with another man in the stables. But he can't say no to the King when King Henry orders him to marry his illegitimate daughter, Rosamunde. Rosamunde grew up in a convent, caring for animals. She is sweet and naive, and very, very misguided. Marriage to someone who who was prepared to be a bride of God, who is afraid of marital relations, who doesn't want to be married, is not what Aric had in mind. But Aric and Rosamunde can't help the potent attraction between the two of them, nor their budding feelings. Can they start over before it's too late?
Things I did like. Let's see, From the start, I LOVED Aric. His voice is hilarious! He is calm and the silent brooding type, but he also has a temper and can be very grumpy. Apparently I like the grumpy types? He marries Rosamunde and treats her well (in my opinion), and he isn't terribly demanding or forceful or anything like that. She could have done much worse and could have been even a little bit more grateful. Aric is one of my favorite historical romance heroes for the year. Too bad he got paired with... Rosamunde.
What else did I enjoy... well, if there is one thing that Sands can do REALLY well, it is write hot intimate scenes! This book was odd in that Rosamunde had no idea what marital relations consisted of, so the first time was really awkward. The second time was comical. But when Aric started to show her how it's done... the scenes were really hot. I'm sure any and all of Sands' romance novels are really, really steamy. She ever disappoints, in that area!
There was a satisfying ending, as one might come to expect, in historical romance novels. I liked the ending. I also liked how much comedy and humor was in this book, despite the ominous climax. Still, everything leading up to the ending was interesting, and the ending was a good one.
What I Did Not Like:
I think the heart of my problems with this book were with Rosamunde. I have been having an issue with female protagonists, in the past few books I've read (YA, adult, doesn't matter). With Rosamunde, I couldn't stand her naivete. I understand that she was raised in a convent, so I knew and understood that she would be ignorant in some matters, but goodness, she was so air-headed!
Air-headed is a good way to put it. She's also a bit selfish, expecting special treatment at some times, but then expecting everyone to let her do her own thing because that's how she was raised in the convent. No honey, you're married now. I don't think she ever fully grasped the fact that she's married, and her husband is trying to protect her from people who are trying to kill her.
That being said, she never gave a thought or care to Aric and his protection of her. She did anything and everything she wanted, no matter how irrationally it was. I don't want to give specific examples, but trust me, you probably would have wanted to kill her yourself by the halfway through the book. She does so many selfish things, and then turns around and blames Aric, gets mad at Aric, makes it seem like Aric's anger is misplaced.
And then Aric goes and forgives her every time. I personally think that if I were Aric and married to her, I would have sent her back to the abbey after one night, the King's wishes be d***ed. Ahhh! It's so frustrating, how awful of a character Rosamunde was!
She's one of those people that don't deserve the man, who deserves to be alone or dead or both. I wanted to shake her! Even for a historical romance novel, how can she be that dumb and ignorant?!
So all of my frustration is centered around Rosamunde. Which sucks! I liked her until she opened her mouth at the abbey when the King brought Aric to marry her - and that was like, 10% in. Le sigh.
Would I Recommend It:
I can't recommend this novel. I really, really wanted to love it, because it sounded perfect for me (reluctant marriage usually works for me!), I like Lynsay Sands, and the cover is GORGEOUS. Now I refuse to buy this book in print because I didn't like it! Ugh!
2.5 stars -> rounded down to 2 stars. I'll definitely keep reading Sands' books, she is a great romance writer and always writes steamy chemistry in her books. But this one was such a disappointment. I had hoped for something so much better!
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