Ashworth, Adele. My Darling Caroline. (New York: Avon, 2010). ISBN – 9780061905872. Reprint.
Main Characters: Caroline Grayson and Brent Ravenscroft, Earl of Weymerth
Description from Book:
No man’s darling . . .
One by one, Lady Caroline Grasyon watched her four sisters celebrate their bethrothals, truly sure that marriage was not in her future – and perfectly pleased with that fact. Or so she thought.
Brent Ravenscroft, Earl of Weymerth, nearly gave his life for the Crown. He returned to England a hero with no intention of taking a bride, certain his brusque demeanor would intimidate any young ladies drawn to his good looks – or so he thought.
Bound by a business transaction, Caroline and Brent begin life as husband and wife. Utterly determined not to fall for each other, they stubbornly ignore the sparks flying between them and keep secrets at every turn. They would resist the lure of love – and the pleasure of the marriage bed – forever . . . or so they thought.
This book was an emotional roller coaster for me. I was both enthralled and repelled by the main characters. So often throughout the book, Caroline seemed incredibly manipulative and selfish. Brent, meanwhile, came across as cold and unfeeling. By the time I finished the first chapter, I was fairly certain that I was going to have trouble finishing the book. I could not imagine that I would find anything sympathetic about either of the main characters.
However, Ashworth did not make either Caroline or Brent one dimensional. There was so much more to each of them than what the author initially gave us. Both Caroline and Brent were extremely vulnerable people who had been deeply hurt. Caroline was obsessed with leaving the country to study botany at Columbia. She planned to do so at almost any cost. Her new husband, on the other hand, was determined to not to love or need Caroline. I came to understand and care about both characters. They started to grow on me. But then, the two would fight – and be quite obnoxious to each other.
Caroline refused to consummate her marriage without explaining why. It was so easy to see how much this hurt Brent. Brent would simply take something away from Caroline – like access to the greenhouse. This devastated her. Brent lied about his illegitimate daughter. He kept quite about his family history. Meanwhile, Caroline continued making plans to simply leave Brent and her life in England behind. She never even hinted at her plans. I often could not envision these two making it to their HEA. I really thought that stubbornness and pride might actually win out at many times.
But make it to their HEA, they did – and, for me, quite believably. I am very glad that I did not give up on this book after the first chapter.
This was an incredibly emotional read that made me both laugh and cry. There were times when I wanted to throttle both Caroline and Brent, but I found their HEA very satisfying.
Read first on January 31, 2010