Walking with: Judith McNaught – A Kingdom of Dreams
Type: Historical Romance
Rating: 5 Stars
Set in: Medieval ages England
Reread: more often than I can count
Publishing date: 1989
I discovered Judith McNaught in an English bookstore in Lausanne, Switzerland ages ago. There was not much to choose from in the romance section so I went for this one. The shop assistant smiled and said: „Better watch out with this one. You will get hooked.“ Oh boy was she right.
The official synopsis: Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as “The Wolf,” his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will—until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web…a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.
Judith McNaught is one of the most talented writers I have ever came across. The scenes she creates are breathtakingly beautiful. The interactions are perfect. She manages to describe funny scenes so good that you laugh, sad scenes so good that you cry and thrilling scenes so good that you gasp. The hero and the heroine are well-developed characters. There is Jennifer Merrick that is introduced in a really fun way in the beginning. She is not the typical beauty (well not bad-looking either) that has had some rough time back at home and on top of that falls into the hand of the family enemy Royce Westmoreland aka “The Wolf”. Naturally she is not too happy about the situation but uses it in order to prove herself to her family. He on the other hand sees her as tool for revenge on her family but soon he sees more in her. Although she is stubborn in the beginning she falls for him gradually. Well she surrenders. Remember this is a romance novel from the late 80s where it was en vogue to be conquered by the man. Think Scarlet and Rhett at the staircase.
One thing I want to draw your attention to if you read the book (or if you have read it) and if you read other historical romance novels: I have the feeling that especially in the romance section there are a lot of copycats running (writing) around as I keep on reading scenes that I have read before. Or I meet characters that I have already had the pleasure of meeting. So I don’t know who actually invented the following scene, but my guess is Ms McNaught since her book has been around for the quite some time: Jennifer sees Royce’s scars but instead of her being repulsed (as he would have expected) she kisses them tenderly and pities him that he had to suffer. Sounds familiar? To me it did. And I know that I have read this scene in a couple of books. The first one that comes into my mind is “Prince of Dreams” by Lisa Kleypas.
Well, back to the book at issue: What is typical for Judith McNaught novels is the misunderstanding. No actually many misunderstandings due to the main characters being insecure and do not trust their significant other most of the time in the book. It is the same in this one and it adds drama in a good and bittersweet way.
To sum up: Read it. Read Judith McNaught. You will get hooked.