Retro Review: A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.

Posted January 11, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 44 Comments

Retro Review: A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.Reviewer: Rowena
A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
Series: Westmorelands #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books
Publication Date: July 1st 2003
Pages: 438
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Series Rating: five-stars

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.

***As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This week, we’re going back to the author that started my love of romance novels, Judith McNaught. I remember this review and all of the fighting commenting we did in the comments. What a lively bunch we are…ha! Oh man, the memories…***

This review was originally posted on May 29, 2007.

Okay so this weekend, while I was in the midst of reading all these books while waiting to read my book book, I did a reread of this book, A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.

Now in our little circle of friends, this is the book that brings out the claws. I kid you not, we have gotten into some serious fight emails (in ALL CAPS y’all) about this book and the heroine. While some of us think that Jenny was a stupid beeyatch who deserved all the crap that she got, we still think she was redeemable in the end, there are others who think otherwise. They’re the ones that think Jenny should have died a slow death where she was tortured, hanging over a fire pit, being slow roasted.


And as I was reading this book, this past weekend I found myself being just as absorbed in this story as I was the many other times I’ve read this book.

I found myself falling deeper and deeper under the Royce Westmoreland spell and I thought this book was fantastically written. The emotions Judith McNaught envoked in the readers toward the characters, pulled them deep into the story and made them apart of it, made them hate the bad guys (and the good guys) and made them hungry with the thirst of justice (for poor Thor and William) and I’ve got to say that Judith McNaught sure knows what she’s doing when she writes these books.

She’s a master at weaving a world that sparks such interesting topics and discussions. I mean, I’ve never fought with anyone like I did with Izzy and Holly over the whole Jenny thing and I admit to poking fun at them, deliberately provoking them into getting all huffy and puffy about Jenny and her actions.

It’s really fun, to read this book and roll my eyes and get that nervous twitch in my stomach when I knew Jenny was going to do something stupid, like sew the soldiers clothes shut or carve Royce’s face with his own knife, then you know, THE scene where she did what she did to Thor? And then when she hesitated over Royce’s lance when he approached her for her ribbon?


These are the things that made me so angry at Jenny but I didn’t wish Royce ended up with anyone else. I mean, she was stupid but she was very repentant at the end. Yeah, Royce was nearly dead before she got her wits around her to go and put a stop to the slaughtering of her husband, but she DID do it and she truly showed that she did in fact love him with all that she was…

Royce’s speech when he brought Jenny back to his home and introduced him to the servants, sigh I just love it…so much so that I’m going to type it out for you.

Behold your new mistress, my wife. And know that when she bids you, I have bidden you; what service you render her, you are rendering me, what loyalty you give or withhold from her, you give or withhold from me.


Man but this was a good book, a fantastic book and even though Jenny was a stupid ass, I still loved this book and I will continue to read it over and over again because it’s just that great.

Go on, bring on the vicious words for Jenny, I know you’re just dying to say them…LOL.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

This book is available from Pocket Books. You can purchase it here.


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44 responses to “Retro Review: A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.

  1. Bloody hell!!!! I am so not going to read any new books if everyone keeps taunting me with great re-reads!!!

    Now I want to grab this off the shelf and see if I would want to feed Jenny to the wolves. I only vaguely recall this story and what hit my memory was the ‘ribbon’. *swoon*

    I do remember reading McNaught years ago and I was always ready for that multi year break (hated them with a passion) or that Big Misunderstanding that would have me wishing I could jump into the story and shake people till their ears bled!

    But the drama! Loved the drama. *sigh* Do I continue on with the new book I am reading or drop everything and run for me keeper collection. Yeah, that’s what has been plaguing me lately.


  2. Okay, I originally read JM’s books in my teens, so she is all good and pristine with me – I LOVED this book then and I LOVE it now. Say what you will about Jenny, Royce, blah, blah, blah, but there are not to many books anymore that get to me like this one did. Come on, that scene in the courtyard???? How can you not love that? Ro, I’m with ya on this one.

    Of course, I didn’t hate Deveraux’s Knight In Shining Armor either (ducking for cover).

  3. Cindy-DON’T drop the new book you’re reading. LOL

    Ugh, when I think of Jenny’s dumb actions. STOOPID. haha

    Still, animal lover that I am, I cannot forgive what happens in this book. AT ALL.

  4. HA! I just reread Perfect last night. I forgot how well she did it back in the day! I was crying by the end even though it wasn’t the first time I re-read it- although it has been awhile.

    The perfect romance.

  5. “Of course, I didn’t hate Deveraux’s Knight In Shining Armor either (ducking for cover).”

    hey stac, you’ll find me and you alone on that one on this board! hee!

  6. Royce wasn’t perfect. I know that. But Jenny showed NO remorse for everything she did. With sewing of the clothes, killing Thor, Royce still treated her better than any other captive. He gave he one spanking and then he felt sorry. Lord, he should’ve beat her silly!!!!!

    Then he’s out there dying! DYING because he doesn’t want to upset Jenny. She turns her head. They force her to look. She knew what Royce was doing for her. And all she has to do to show she’s sorry is bow her head. HELL NO! She needed to do more to earn his forgiveness.

    Yes she was captured, yes I get the escape plans, but she will never be redeemable in my eyes.

    Nothing anyone can say can make me change my mind.

    And that’s all I have to say about that. lol.

  7. Nope. Not feeling it. Sorry.

    My heels are dug in nice and deep and don’t plan on moving. lol. So let it be written, so let it be done. lol.

  8. Ok, here’s the thing, Royce was far from perfect, but once he realized how Jenny really was, he changed. He did everything possible to make her feel welcomed, to make her feel loved. He was patient with her and tried to help her.

    I understand her being upset by Williams death. Even though it was an instinctive reaction on Royce’s part, that was the only family that cared for her, so of course she was upset.

    But Royce tried everything he could to make her accept him, to prove to her he didn’t kill her brother on purpose, and still she turned from him.

    But you know, even that I could have forgiven. What I can’t forgive, what I won’t ever forgive, is her blind faith in her family. A family that treated her worse than a possession to be sold. Her father cared nothing for her, and even when faced with irrefutable proof of his misdeeds, and irrefutable proof of Royce’s love for her, she still turned to her family. She still turned her back on the one man who truly cared for her.

    And perhaps if she’d done something more, some grand gesture, I would have been able to forgive her for Royce almost dying, but she didn’t. She bowed her head to him, something she should have done IN THE BEGINNING, if for no other reason that to show support to her husband in front of his people. IT came too little, too late.

    I was upset about Thor and the pranks she pulled, but I understood her actions. She didn’t mean to kill his horse, she was feeling for her life. She was a captive and captives are supposed to run. Not to mention she was truly sorry for it.

    But the rest? After they’re married and Royce does everything in his power to see her happy?

    Sorry, no go.

  9. Wow, nice discussion going on 😀 it seems that your debate has been launched again 😀 I like Judith McNaught books 😀 I’ve actually just re-read Night Whispers (one of my favorite, but I know I’m on the minority here)… A Kingdom of Dreams was okay in my opinion… I just didn’t care for either Jennie or Royce, the main reason I read was because they were the Westmoreland ancestors 😛

  10. Rowena

    OMGOSH how quick you two are to defend Royce and the HORSE, but hello??? WHAT ABOUT HER? HE KILLED WILLIAM!

    LMAO, and the sparks will now fly! hehe.

  11. Rowena


    You should totally do a reread of this book and come and discuss this book with us…is Jenny forgiveable? That’s what I wanna know.


    Yes, you’ve got to read this book and let us know if your a Jenny hater or not. 😉


    Lovers of this book should unite and stand as one against the evil haters of this book…LOL. Stay strong in your love of this book, ya hear? LOL.


    She was a hostage, isn’t it in the hostage duty handbook to make things as hard as you can for your captor?

    Regardless of how long she waited, she DID put an end to it and that’s what made the book all the more great in my book!

    And how can you forgive Royce but not Jenny? Jenny didn’t mean to kill him…seriously.


    I LOVE PERFECT, I was thinking of putting Zack up as a Hero of the Month soon, man that book made me cry buckets too, isn’t JM the bomb? And yep, you’ll not find a lot of AKISA lovers on this here blog. 😉


    How quick you are to forget just how horrible Royce was to her…I still don’t see how Royce is perfect in your eyes and Jenny is not.

    She turned her head because she still hadn’t forgiven him for what he did to her BROTHER, the only GOOD brother she had…

  12. Rowena

    She did too show remorse when killing Thor, she didn’t mean to kill him. I read that part.

    About showing no remorse for the other stuff though, why should she? SHE WAS A CAPTIVE!

    She was still grieving over her BROTHER that ROYCE KILLED! I’m not saying that Jenny was perfect but I am saying that she doesn’t deserve all of the flack ya’ll be putting on her. I mean, you guys are acting like Royce DID die, HE DIDN’T! LOL.


    And on top of all of that, it was HER FAMILY…I think she deserved a bit of time to get used to the idea that she was going to CUT TIES with her entire family, the only family she ever knew for Royce, come on now…

  13. Rowena

    Okay first of all, Miss Bootleg Charmed One, LMAO…you do crack me up!

    Second of all Holly, bring it…I’m ready to fight with you! AGAIN! Just let me go and read your comment.

  14. Rowena


    But put yourself in Jenny’s shoes. Your husband that you didn’t love in the first place, that you HAD to marry because of the King’s edict kills the one man in your family that treated you fairly and like a brother should, how long would it take for YOU to get over it?

    I’m pretty sure it would take more than just Royce doing some nice things and showing you he didn’t mean to kill William for you to forgive him too. It would take a damn miracle for you to forgive him, because it wasn’t just someone you knew, it was YOUR BROTHER.

    Big difference, Jenny had every right to be pissed off at Royce and be wary of him, Royce wasn’t perfect and neither was Jenny.

    And why should she show remorse? First he kidnaps her then he kills her brother?

    Come on now…

    And the family thing…it’s her family, Scots are big on families, regardless of how stupid and mean they are, family is family…it’s the same in Samoans, you don’t ever turn your back on family, why should it be any different for them? Especially in the time that we’re talking about, women were supposed to submit to men…she didn’t see her family as her enemies, why do you think she tried so hard to win her father’s approval?

    So for her to hesitate to end her relationship with her family? I can’t and will not blame her for.

    I was disappointed that she didn’t give Royce her ribbon but she was still hurting for William and her father reminded her of William before everything started, so she was confused and hurting and dumb…I can give her a break for that, she did get it right and her kneeling to Royce in front of EVERYONE, humbling herself was sufficient enough of a grand gesture for me because she publicly humbled herself before her father’s enemy, ending her relations with her family for Royce..

    I thought that was a moving gesture, because you know just how prideful Jenny was, for her to do that in front of all to see, shows just how much she really did love Royce…

  15. Rowena

    Hey Nath,

    It always is when someone brings this book up, we have to rehash the same fight we have all the time, I think we were due so it’s all good in the hood.

    Your favorite is Night Whispers, huh? I liked that book but my favorites include Something Wonderful, Double Standards, Almost Heaven, Perfect…yeah I have a lot of JM favorites, so let me shut up now.


  16. Lori

    Funny you mention Something Wonderful – I just finished it, and I’m in the middle of writing it up. Loved it, BTW. Also loved Once and Always. Those are the only 2 I’ve read.

    Loving the argument, too *g*

  17. Lori those are 2 books I really loved, too. JM is awesome…well, her older books are.

    Way to stand up to the masses, Ro! I’m with you all the way girl. Nothing like a little lively discussion, is there? LOL

    Zeek, it’s good not to be completely alone on that one by Deveraux. What can I say – love is blind.

  18. I think in the end I was so friggin’ relieved that these two people would find a HEA. I’m pretty sure I remember thinking ‘OMG, put the friggin’ ribbon on the lance!!!’. That’s the thing about JM she sure knew how to bring it.

    The one that I remember not being fond of was the one where the hero thought the heroine was dead and then she’s there and he thinks she’s a ghost and all and then when he realizes it’s her his first instinct is to spank her! Uh, no.


  19. That’s…shoot, which book? I can’t remember now, Ween, help me out here. I know it’s the one I hate. Jason’s book. Ahh, good old stupid Jason who practically raped his wife. Good times, good times.

    Stupid books. lol

  20. Rowena


    Did you love Jordan just as much as I did? That was my very first romance ever, love love love it!


    I love fighting with Holly and Izzy about this, it never ceases to make me smile, no one fights like we do…=)

  21. Rowena

    LMAO, that’s Once and Always, Jason and Tory’s book….haha.

    Yeah that was another book Holly hated. haha.

  22. Ok, after all the ballyhoo about this book, I can’t not read it! I just put it on reserve at the library and eagerly await it’s arrival. And I’ve never read any JM to boot!

  23. Oh, you’re in for a treat. Love it or hate it, this book is definitely a good read. I can’t wait to see which side of the line you end up on. 😉

  24. Rowena

    Oh goodness Mollie, you’re in for a real treat, this book is great and I’m dying to find out what you feel about the characters…Jenny in particular! haha.

    Happy Reading sweets!

  25. Although I am not crazy about this book, I still liked it very much. McNaught rarely disappointments and that was what she did with this book. Jenny was not the perfect heroine–read when she practically ‘abandoned’ Royce during the tourney–but what the heck, the entire book is still a personal hit!

  26. We’ll just have to wait and see, Chantal. I’m not placing bets. LOL

    It’s true…it’s a good book. I can’t like Jenny, but I can’t say it’s a horrible book. Just a horrible heroine. 😛

  27. Chantal

    Just wanted to let you know that I bought this.
    All I know is that the Heroine kills a horse.
    Can’t wait to see which side of the coin I fall on. Any guesses? lol

  28. I don’t think anyone is still reading this thread, but I’m sure my reply will go to someone inbox, right?

    I just finished it (like, 2 minutes ago)

    I LOVED the book. Loooved it. I adore Royce. I bet I’ll dream of him tonight.
    Jenny, I liked at first. I don’t fault her at all for the death of Thor. At that point in the book I was totally on her side and in her place, I would have done the same thing.

    What made me start to no like her was when she took of with William. Stupid. Royce was being SO nice to her. So sweet, and she just left him. Ugh!! After that she did little to get me back on her side.

    That stunt at the end where she sat on the other team? Oh hell, I wanted to punch her in the face.
    Poor Royce was so pussy whipped by her.

    So, she cried and kneeled to him in front of everyone. Big deal. She owes his SOOOO mch for doing what she did.
    Damn her.

    So, yeah. The book is awesome. Royce is great. Jenny is bitch spawn from hell.

  29. LOL, it’s a good thing we have the recent comments widget up because I saw this and just had to come and comment…I’m so glad that you loved this book, it was the bomb and Royce was the bomb and yes, Jenny was a punk but I didn’t think she was the worst person EVER. hehe….I’m glad to see that you at least liked the book, because it’s such a great book!

  30. Chantal, that’s exactly how I felt about the book and Jenny. She was a scumbag ho, but Royce was YUMMA! Too bad he couldn’t end up with me instead of her. 😛

    Love you, Ween.

  31. While I was reading I kept asking myself what the Jenny haters were talking about. I was so on Wena’s side. Then I kept on reading and it didn’t take long for me to switch.

    Usually having a crappy heroine can kill a book, but this book was SO good. Between Royce, the story line and the amazing execution of the story, not even Jenny could ruin it.

  32. Yep, that’s how I felt, too. Like I said before, I could understand the thing with Thor and the clothes and all that. She was kidnapped for crying out loud. But later in the book? There was no excuse for her to act the way she did.


    But I completely agree that the story is amazing and Royce a hottie. Kudos to McNaught for that, eh?

  33. This makes me want to read a Judith McNaught. I need a good escape from reality, right about now. She is the queen of angst and will suck you in.

    • All of my sisters and a friend of mine are all re-reading McNaught and Garwood books. I’m low key thinking about dumping my review pile and jumping right in to a re-read marathon myself.

  34. Jen

    Oh my gosh your debates here are making me giggle. Since I mostly came to romance later in life I missed all these classic authors, and reading them now just isn’t the same because too much has changed in the genre for me to really “get” them. But I love to hear about them! 😉

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