Lord of Desire by Paula Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lord of Desire was a very good introduction for me to Paula Quinn's work. I found myself drawn into this novel about a young woman who falls in love with a man based on how powerfully he loves another woman. It sounds weird, but this was quite a hook.
Brynna came across Brand and his love Colette, frolicking in a sun-drenched pond. From that moment on, she cannot shake the visions of her black-haired, blue-green eyed merman with his all-consuming joy and passion that spills from him for his lover. Much to her surprise, her merman turns out to be one and the same as her arranged husband. Except now he is a cold-eyed, fierce, frightening Norman warrior, one who vows never to love her. Although Brynna craves a husband that can love her, she is willing to marry him anyway, if it will save her home. However, this strong, determined woman can't help but fight to chip away the glacial ice that coats her husband's heart.
I was captivated with Brand. His mix of icy ferocity and passionate emotion truly intrigued me, and had me falling for him. I liked the descriptions of him, and how clear it was that he was a very good man, one who'd had his heart stomped on by a woman who he loved so deeply that this love destroyed him when she betrayed him. He was very tortured in that he had given so much of himself that nothing but a deep, dark void remained. I could totally see why Brynna fell hard for him. I did too, I must admit.
At first, I was worried that Brynna would be too bratty for me, but she wasn't. She was very spirited and she stood up for herself and for others, which I liked. I loved that she was strong enough to take on her troubled husband (and the spectre of the woman who did him wrong), and to love him deeply, even knowing it could be a losing proposition in the end.
I liked the setting and the storyline, which prominently features a real life historical figure, Duke William of Normandy, otherwise known to us medieval history buffs as William the Conquerer, the man who changed the face of England in 1066. William's character is brought to vivid life as a big, strong, hearty, passionate man. Brand is one of his most trusted warriors, and William himself campaigned for the marriage between Brand and Brynna. He becomes a close friend and ally to Brynna in her battle to win her husband's frozen heart. I have this feeling that Ms. Quinn has a bit of a crush on William the Conqueror. He plays a big role in this book, and his scenes and dialogue are delivered with a loving attention to detail. It was a nice touch for me, since I haven't read any books that showed William as a real man, and a prominent character. I have to say that I liked him very much in this novel.
Although there are elements of intrigue and danger, most of the focus is centered on the developing relationship between Brynna and Brand. The chemistry and passion between them is red-hot, and I felt that powerful intensity that wrapped their hearts together. The love scenes were good and plentiful, although I did feel like some of the word choices were a little purple prosy. I struggle with how love scenes are described in some books. I don't like the raunchy language, but I admit that the purple euphemisms can make me giggle. It makes me wonder if it's better just to keep the descriptions vague if you don't want to go there and be too explicit. I think in this case, the attraction between this couple was so fierce, I probably didn't even need all the descriptions to be satisfied with the love scenes.
One other aspect I liked was how sinister the villain turned out to be. I read a lot of books, and I wish that many more had truly nasty villainesses. This is one for you if you like to see a good female villain. It really struck me that this woman could be so conniving and evil. I wish there was a bit more of a resolution on her final fate, but at least she's out of the picture between Brand and Brynna. And that's all that matters.
I have to say I am glad that I have several of Ms. Quinn's books in my pile. I like her style. She won me over with this tale of a man that is both hot like fire, and cold and fierce like iron is to faeries. I am a sucker for a good medieval romance, and this fit the bill very nicely. Recommended!
View all my reviews