Hero: Clayton Westmoreland
Heroine: Whitney Stone
Grade: 3 out of 5
Under the dark, languorous eyes of Clayton Westmoreland, the Duke of Claymore, Whitney Stone grew from a saucy hoyden into a ravishingly sensual woman. Fresh from her triumphs in Paris society, she returned to England to win the heart of Paul, her childhood love . . . only to be bargained away by her bankrupt father to the handsome, arrogant duke. Outraged, she defies her new lord. But even as his smoldering passion seduces her into a gathering storm of desire, Whitney cannot — and will not — relinquish her dream of perfect love.
I read this book for the first time way back in 1999. It was not too long after I graduated from high school and I tried my hand at reading the many romance novels that my sister had lying around the house. This was one of them. I remember reading this after I had read and loved Something Wonderful, Once & Always, Almost Heaven and A Kingdom of Dreams. There were only two books left in the pile my sister had on the bookshelf in the den by Judith McNaught. I was so sure that I was going to love these last two books just as much as I enjoyed the other books. Though I enjoyed this one, I didn’t necessarily love it. Now, I guess that’s not necessarily true. There are scenes and parts of this book that I absolutely LOVE but there are things and scenes in this story that I absolutely hate.
So Clayton Westmoreland sees Whitney Stone when Whitney is living in France with her Aunt and Uncle and he’s quite taken with her. When she goes back to England where her no good father is, he offers for her and her father is quick to take the money. Whitney, on the other hand, already has grand plans for herself. When she finally got back to England she was going to win the hand of her childhood crush, Paul Sevarin. She has had a serious jones for Paul ever since she was a young girl and the crush has only gotten worse over time.
Whitney has come back home, no longer the annoying childish imp that used to follow Paul around all the time. Now she’s back and she’s this graceful young beauty that knows a thing or two about the world and she’s ready to win Paul over for her own. But her plans come to a screeching halt when she finds out that her father accepted money to see her wed to a complete stranger. So her plan to woo Paul is put on hold while she tries to untangle herself from the engagement she’s found herself in.
Watching Clayton and Whitney bicker and fight throughout the entire book wasn’t always a bad thing but as the book wore on, the bickering and the fighting and the constant back and forth between these two got to be a bit much.
Clayton was a great hero but he did things in this book that I could not stand. There’s a scene in this book that paints Clayton in a very dark light. Because he was completely remorseful and hated himself, I used to let it slide off my back because I so loved Clayton. But I reread the scene and it is, what it is. I never wanted to see it that way because I liked Clayton so much but well, it happened. On the plus side, there was so much about Clayton that I loved. So many scenes in which he made my heart pound with excitement, scenes that he took my breath away and scenes that made me fall a little harder for him, scenes that made me forget about that scene.
My favorite scene was the dinner table scene where Whitney goes to Clayton’s house trying to win him back. That scene is probably one of my most favorite scenes written by Judith McNaught. It took guts to do what Whitney did that night and the way that she stuck it out and won the boy impressed the hell out of me.
But Whitney. Whitney, Whitney, Whitney.
She spent most of the book getting.on.my.damn.freaking.nerves. She was the most spoiled little brat EVER and the way that she lashed out at everything, jumped to conclusions, assumed the worst in Clayton drove me up the wall. The way that she was blindly faithful to Paul pissed me off and just got on my frickin’ nerves. She drove me up the wall and she had those TSTL qualities that I hate in heroines. I understood why she was pissed off at Clayton, I did, but the way that she hated him then kissed him then hated him again drove me facking nuts!
For me, this book was all over the place. There were things that I absolutely loved and there were things that drove me bat shit crazy and made me want to run someone over in my car (preferably Whitney). So it’s hard for me to grade this book. Because the things that I LOVED about this book cancel out some of the things that I hate about this book, I’m gonna give this book a 3. The good things saved the bad things for the most part and for those of you guys who are willing to give this book a go, let me know when you review the book…I’d love to read your thoughts.
This book is available from Pocket. You can buy it here.
Holly Says: Rowena is so much more generous than I am. I can think of very few things about this book that I enjoyed and so many things that caused me so much rage. OMG THE RAGE. Whitney was a tool and Clayton was only slightly better. The misunderstandings,
rape and immature behavior from both parties just killed it for me. I’d go so far as to say this book should be graded in the negative. Although I will say I have yet to read an author that can work me up as well as Judith McNaught.