The Spurned Viscountess by Shelley Munro
Source: Received through NetGalley
Publication date: September 20,2010
Publisher: Carina Press
I give this book 3 out of 5 stars
Description from Goodreads.com: Cursed with the sight and rumors of witchcraft, Rosalind’s only chance at an ordinary life is marriage to Lucien, Viscount Hastings. She doesn’t expect love, only security and children of her own. Determined to go through with the wedding, she allows nothing she encounters at the gloomy Castle St. Clare to dissuade her.
Recently returned from the Continent, Lucien has no time for the English mouse his family has arranged for him to marry-not when he’s plotting to avenge the murder of his beloved Francesca. He has no intention of bedding Rosalind, not even to sire an heir.
Though spurned by her bridegroom, Rosalind turns to him for protection when she is plagued by a series of mysterious accidents and haunted by terrifying visions. Forced to keep Rosalind close-and tempted into passionate kisses-Lucien soon finds himself in grave danger of falling in love with his own wife…
This book started off a little roughly as it irritated me in a few spots where Munro would use the same turn of phrase several times within a few pages. I got the point the first time and did not need to hear that over and over. I also thought the story was a little silly and yet something about it caught my attention and kept me reading.
Rosalind had this very cool power of being able to touch people and see their thoughts but of course during this time period that made people suspicious that she was a witch. Her character did rub me the wrong way a little because of the fact that she was so desperate to marry and have children she was willing to take any man. I can understand her desire and came to accept this but then she rationalizes at one point that she cannot let Lucien be killed because that would kill any chance of her having children. That just came across as very cold even though you know that is not supposed to be her true character. She also irritated me in that she suspected someone meant her harm and yet she continued to defy Lucien’s orders to take a footman or someone else with her when she left the house. If you read my previous reviews you know that I like strong female characters but hate when they do stupid things just to prove that they won’t be ordered around by the men in their lives.
Lucien initially behaves like a real ass towards Rosalind. I understand he does not want to remarry after losing the love of his life but he never stops to think that Rosalind may not have a real choice other than to marry him. He treats her horribly before he even gets to know her and I felt like although you should think he’s noble for staying true to his love of his first wife a real gentleman would at least have been kinder to Rosalind. He does redeem himself later in the story so I cannot say I disliked him completely.
I thought the build up of the romance was nicely done as we slowly see Lucien and Rosalind come to love one another. The pacing was great as you see Lucien come to terms that his feelings for Rosalind does not mean he is betraying his dead first wife. It was also nice that neither of the characters fit your standard romance mold of being stunningly handsome or beautiful.
The Story Line
I have to admit that the identity of the killer was somewhat of a surprise. There was one character I suspected all along but it turns out I was wrong. The story line itself was not bad but it was the characters actions that made the story line feel silly and hard to swallow. Like I mention above after Rosalind gets shoved out of her been, pushed off a cliff, shot at and a host of other things that makes her realize that obviously someone means her harm and she still goes on her way ignoring any attempt at caution. Then there is Lucien who despite all the evidence at first refuses to believe that anyone means Rosalind harm. It doesn’t strike him as too much of a coincidence that all of this is happening to his new wife not long after someone targeted and killed his first wife?
I know this review sounds very critical of the book but I have to admit once I got into it I had a hard time putting it down. So I may not be able to put my finger on exactly what it was but it definitely had something that reels the reader in.