Tag: The Rebellious Sons

Guest Review: The Devilish Montague by Patricia Rice

Posted February 1, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of The Devilish Montague (Rebellious Sons #2) by Patricia Rice

All Blake Montague wants is to save Europe from a tyrant. But as the penniless youngest son of a baron, he needs a marriage of convenience to provide the money he requires for a military commission. Then he meets a blonde beauty who can fulfill all his needs-especially those satisfied by a wife…

On the face of it, the story, the plot, and the characters appear to be repeats of what a reader would find in most historical romances set in the time of the Napoleonic War. However, there are significant differences that make this story stand apart and which made it a very entertaining read for me.

First, Blake may indeed be an impoverished third son who can never hope to attain to his father’s title. But he is not just a man who wants wealth in order to support a life of a rake while deciding to settle down. Rather, Blake Montague is a man of such shining honor that he stands out among all the men of the ton. He doesn’t gamble or drink excessively–no money to spare and thus it would be dishonorable for him or his family to do so. He wants to use his unusual gifts at solving puzzles to decipher coded messages that are being secreted back and forth from England to France and giving the enemy information that is hampering Wellington’s efforts to defeat Napoleon. His parents are proud of him but he is thankful for their kindness and support. But he is also aware that his mother believes that he is “cursed” and will die before he is 30 years old just as her mother ‘s other male relatives did. All because he has a peculiar streak in his hair. With no money and not prospects of any in the future beyond his small allowance, Blake has to find a wife if he is going to have enough money to purchase an officer’s commission and become a part of Wellington’s staff. Otherwise his desire to use his considerable code-breaking talents will never be taken seriously.

The heroine is also not often seen in Regency romances. She is a younger sister who has been abused emotionally, verbally and psychologically by her older brother, put out of their ancestral home–the only home she and her brother have ever known–and has had to become the protector of her “weird” brother (he would have probably been diagnosed as autistic in today’s world) and a mother who renounced her life as a countess in order to do academic historic research and bury herself in books. Blake offers an opportunity to regain her home for herself, her brother and mother because her brother has lost their family home in a poker game to Montague’s father. But it will not become hers if Blake dies during the first year of their marriage. So it is in her best interests to prevent his purchase of a military commission so that he cannot go to war.

This is a marvelous novel that has all the glitz and glamour of the early 19th century along with the tension and strife that came with the war in Europe. It also contains the reality of marriage as political and financial gain rather than a love relationship. However, even as Blake and our heroine are married, there are still significant bumps in the road to happiness and contentment for both of them. Even though there are snags financially, Blakes bride is remarkably adept in using her connections to draw attention to his extraordinary talents as well as assist in slowly dismantling the mystery that makes an appearance from time having to do with African parrots who use profane language, efforts to steal them, the involvement of some of the nobility with French citizens, and more.

This book is full of vim, vigor, and vitality–people who live honorably and who use their wealth to benefit others. It also has its share of bad guys and there are happenings that come out of nowhere and really surprise the reader. There is love and lust, desire and fear present. All is not well between Blake and his bride–she refuses to consummate the marriage for fear of pregnancy, of losing her home before she and Blake have been married a year, of failing to protect her brother and mother plus possibly having a baby to care for. I think it safe to say that the frustration in the bedroom is fairly high.

The is the second of Patricia Rice’s books I have read. I really enjoyed the first book in this series but I think I enjoyed this one even more. She writes so well, and the story never lagged for me. It has significant size and to be able to keep the spirit of the story as well as the level of tension throughout is not easily done. It is a historical romance that is well worth the time and effort to read. Such a truly good book!

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Signet. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: The Wicked Wyckerly by Patricia Rice

Posted March 4, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith‘s review of The Wicked Wyckerly (The Rebellious Sons, Book 1) by Patricia Rice.
John Fitzhugh Wyckerly has never relied on his family for love or money.  Handsome, charming, and a genius with numbers, he wins enough money gambling to allow himself the pretense of luxury and indolence expected of an aristocrat’s younger son.  But when his brother’s death make him the 7th  Earl of Danecroft, he inherits a crumbling estate and massive debts.  Determined to do right, he reclaims his illegitimate daughter, Penelope, and heads to London in search of a very rich wife.
Abigail Merriweather’s rural farm has been maddeningly quiet since she lost custody of her four young half siblings.  At least the house bustles when a roguish gentleman named Fitz stops for a few days’ respite with his rebellious daughter in tow.  His etiquette is questionable, and his parenting deplorable–so why does Abby delight in his blunt flirtations?  And when she seeks a suitor to help her regain the children, why does Fitz keep popping up?  They’re an impossible match–yhet maybe a match made in heaven after all.
This is the first novel in a new series by Patricia Rice, an author that has quite a list of fine novels to her credit.  Set in the England of the early 1800’s, this historical romance has a sense of the unusual right from the first.  Of course, there are often aristocrats looking for wealthy marriageable women in order to solve their financial woes.  But few are as dead broke as Fitz.  And there are certainly titled aristocrats who are struggling to keep the titled line going by seeking a wife who will present him with heirs.  But few seem less concerned with that aspect of the responsibility that Fitz.  That he has finally taken his illegitimate daughter in hand is evidence that he is really trying to assume his responsibilities.  He had faithfully seen to her support and thought she was placed with a good caregiver after her actress mother married a German aristocract and abandoned her.  But when he stopped by her caregiver’s home and found her locked in a cage, hungry, dirty, ill-dressed (especially after what he was paying for her upkeep), he removed her from that locality, threatened her “nanny” with criminal charges, sent the erstwhile suitor of the “nanny” on her way, and claimed Penelope.  That his daughter has been kept like an animal and received almost no care or discipline became immediately evident.  Traveling with her was a nightmare.  And when his lack of funds necessitated that he and Penny debark from the public coach and landed in Miss Abigail Merriweather’s front yard, Fitz’s life undergoes a subtle but relentless change, one he for which he was unprepared but which began to make a serious difference in the relationship he had with his daughter and his outlook on his future.
This historical romance could really be styled as a “romp” as there are some truly witty characters who form the context and backdrop of this story.  Yet there are some serious things going on here.  First, Abigail’s half-siblings are removed from her custody because her stiff-necked, ultra conservative executor of her father’s will didn’t believe that a woman alone could raise boys properly.  This didn’t set very well with the independent minded Abigail.  Second, Fitz’s manner of earning a living ultimately came to be more of a problem than a problem-solver.  He was a genius with numbers and had perfected the method of “counting cards” so he won far more than he lost.  He was also not one of those persons who was tied to gambling for the thrill.  He just knew how to win and so he did.  However, his suitability as a parent figure because of his gambling created problems down the road.  Of course, this novel embraces the London Season–the English aristocratic marriage mart–as the backdrop for much of Fitz’s growing involvement with Abigail.  That they were friends was never in doubt.  That he could be a good husband and father?  Now there’s the rub.
I found this book to be a delightful reading experience.  Having begun my love affair with books many years ago with historical romance, it was like encountering a good friend.  That it was so well written and such a fun story just added to  my delight.  Ms Rice has demonstrated repeatedly that she knows how to tell a good story and ther reviewers have welcomed her literary offering over and over again.  This book is no exception.  Her characters are all so very interesting, so unique, each in their own way.  A number of persons who populate this story are like Fitz–living as aristocrats but really on the fringe of the ton.  Manny,m like Fitz, have little money but lots of influence.  Which goes to show that the old truism:  ” . . . it’s not what you know but who you know . . .” is based on experience of long standing.  That Fitz continued to be helpful to Abigail in her struggle to regain custody of her siblings proved to make him a growing presence in her life. 
This story really highlights the value of friendship in relationships of all kinds.  It was friendship that initially bound Fitz and Abigail together.  It was friendship which gave support to Fitz on a number of occasions, even though everyone knew he was bankrupt.  And it was the “sub story” of his growing friendship with his daughter that brought to light the true depths of a man who had been ignored and pushed aside by his father and brother, not to mention his mother, all of his life.  It is also a delight to watch Abigail and her persistent faith in him that helps him recognize value in himself that he had either been unable or unwilling to acknowledge.  He began this whole discouraging process of being an earl with a sure sense of his inability to be what was needed to meet the challenges.  Long before the novel was ended, Fitz began to believe he really could be the person needed to save the title and put the estate back together.  Abigail had a great hand in making that confidence a reality.
This is just one of those engaging novels that is a joy to read.  I had not encountered Ms Rice’s work previously.  I definitely will be on the prowl to find some of her other books now.  This is a historical romance fans of this genre shouldn’t miss.

I give this book a 4.5 out of 5 rating.

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Signet. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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