Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New Review: Judith McNaught’s A KINGDOM OF DREAMS: A Classic Medieval Romance that will tear at your heart!

This is effectively a prequel to WHITNEY MY LOVE and UNTIL YOU, the other two in the Westmoreland Dynasty trilogy, as it deals with the first Duke of Claymore.

Set in 15th Century Scotland and England, it tells of two Scottish sisters of noble blood who are abducted by an English warrior earl, Royce Westmoreland, the Earl of Claymore (aka the Wolf) in service to King Henry after battles at Cornwall. The sisters are abducted by the Wolf's brother from the abbey they were sent to by their father, the Scottish laird of Clan Merrick, whose only uses for his daughters are pragmatic (marrying them off to enhance clan relationships). The heroine (one of the sisters), Jennifer Merrick ("Jenny"), is also a countess and instantly attracts the Wolf.
As a girl of 17, Jenny was betrayed by her clan, based on lies told about her by a jealous half sibling. She feels (correctly) that the clan doesn't want her, but even so, she still tries to do right by them. She has a creative and rebellious yet humble spirit, and yes, a strong will and a courageous heart. What's not to like? The Wolf, having captured her, is drawn to her spirit, which is evidenced by her successful attempt to escape and draw a blade on him, feats no one else has accomplished. Having taken her virtue, he is willing to marry her but never gets around to telling her before her clan rescues her. When Jenny and the Wolf are forced to marry to assure peace between Scotland and England, the Wolf is bitter, believing Jenny duped him.

Judith McNaught writes exceptionally well. She serves up witty dialog, humor, sexual tension, great character development and a great plot.
Royce appeared at times to be such a cad that it was difficult to finally see him in a good light when the great turnaround came. First, he shames her in front of his men, making his lust and dishonorable intentions apparent. Then, he takes her virginity without so much as a care for her honor. Royce shames Jenny in the eyes of two countries when it is clear he's ruined her and then disavows any interest in her. He fails to see her side of the whole affair until the end. For many, many pages, I hated him. And when his own people, reflecting his sentiments, call Jenny "the Merrick slut," I wanted him to suffer.

Despite my feelings about the hero, it’s a wonderful romance and Judith McNaught's writing is superb. It will definitely tear at your heart!

The Westmoreland Dynasty trilogy:

A Kingdom of Dreams (1989)
Whitney, My Love (1985)
Until You (1994)

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