Welcome to Cozy Jo's Romance Review blog. This is where you'll find reviews and discussions on historical or contemporary romance books and maybe a few other bits and bobs thrown in for good measure.
So come on in, sit down and find yourself a good romance book to read.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

In My Wildest Fantasies by Julianne MacLean

Slow paced start to a new series
3 stars

When she was 17, Lady Rebecca Newland was saved from a runaway coach by the dashing and handsome Devon Sinclair - the future Duke of Pembroke. Despite going back to her lonely and sheltered existence - she never forgot her hero and spent many nights dreaming of him.

Haunted by a terrible incident in his past, Devon has spent much of the time since rescuing Rebecca, in America. When he gets word that his father is ailing, he returns home determined to do his duty to the family he failed so many years ago.

When the pair meet again at a ball they both realise there is a definite spark between them. But can their relationship survive their secrets, lies and the unwanted attentions of a most dangerous other suitor?

This was my first book by Julianne MacLean and I have to admit I was quite disappointed in it and there are a few things that really stopped me from more than just mildly enjoying the story.

Both Devon and Rebecca were likeable characters but they seemed too nice and I felt their chemistry and interaction lacked any real sparkle. As this is the first book in a new series - there were plenty of secondary characters however they weren't so well developed that you could really enjoy or wish for more of them.

The storyline itself had a lot of promise and was the reason I picked up the book in the first place but it didn't really seem to get out of first gear. The villain wasn't scary, the horrible brother wasn't that horrid and the mean rival for Devon's affection wasn't good competition for Rebecca. And all these plot points really did slow the story down.

The inclusion of an erotic diary was an interesting addition to the story but I really don't believe that simply by reading this journal, virginal, isolated Rebecca would become so bold and knowledgeable about sex. And even with the diary - the sex scenes were decidedly tepid.

My other gripe about the book was the geography. The ducal seat is at Pembroke Palace near the town of Pembroke which is apparently one hour to the north of Oxfordshire! It is possible that the author did not realise she was using the name of a real town in her story but it got me really confused and kept pulling me away from the story as I read it and tried to understand where the story was set.

Overall, I just didn't really feel that I could connect with this story or the characters. The writing and plot aren't terrible but just perhaps lacking a certain something that would make the book a keeper. I will try other books by Julianne MacLean as I'm sure this was just a one off, but it's maybe not a book for those who have never read Ms McLean before.

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