Review: Lady Northam's Wicked Surrender by Vivienne Westlake

Monday, November 28

Title:  Lady Northam's Wicked Surrender*
Author: Vivienne Westlake
Series: Rekindled Passions #1
Genre: Erotic Historical Romance
Publisher: self published
Format: e-book
Date/Year:  October 2011
Reviewed by: DD

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the author in exchange for  an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

A midnight encounter between two estranged lovers rekindles a passion beyond their wildest dreams...

Rowena, Countess of Northam, is surprised to find her former suitor has returned from India and is on his way to the very house where she is staying. When he appears in her room late at night, she can only believe it is a dream. Her fantasy soon becomes reality when Simon makes every effort to seduce her.

Despite his six year absence, and the fact that Rowena married his best friend, Simon is determined to have her back now that she is a widow. It soon becomes clear that while her body craves his affections, she doesn't trust him enough to give her heart. Can Simon forget her past betrayal and convince her to surrender to the greatest love they’ve ever known?

My Musings:

Rowena, Lady of Northam and her sister, Delphine make a long journey for a “country visit” to see friend Alice, whom is in a delicate condition. Alice, Lady Chilton, also happens to be the sister of Lord Simon Rutherford, whom is Rowena’s long lost love.  When he arrives to be alongside his sister and tend to business surrounding a dying uncle, it is clear that not all is gone between he and Rowena.

Simon is strong yet sensitive and loving pseudo-rake with a soft spot for his family. Soon after his arrival he hears his niece in the next room, and goes to comfort her as he knows she is plagued with nightmares. He has similar concern for his beloved Rowena.  He gives her the space she needs and waits until she is ready to see him to make an appearance in her life again.  Although not altogether unselfish, he still is the type of man to take into account the feelings of those he holds dear. He is dreadfully angry at Rowena for marrying his best friend Paul, but he cannot resist the tide of conflicted emotions that rise to the surface in her presence.

Rowena is a lady through and through, but she struggles with un-lady like thoughts, especially while thinking about Simon or dealing with her big mouthed sister, Delphine. She has made past decisions based on what she thinks is reality, but unfortunately that reality is skewed and fueled by the inevitable misunderstandings in the world of courtship.

I enjoyed Simon. Not to say that he is that much different from the few Heroes in the Historical genre that I have experienced, but I like him and I think he is a good man. In this story, he has gotten the short end of the stick, and that kind of makes me mad. I feel like Rowena should trust him more and I think that is frustrating for the reader. But it appears that she just does not know how to have faith in Simon after what she perceives as his abandonment of her.

Rowena has her good qualities-but mostly I think she is a whiny righteous brat. Despite that, she is still a likable character.  I do think that the relationship she has with her sister is laced with humor, and is a realistic description of the sometimes frustrating bonds of siblings. It is one of the most delightful parts of the novella. Rowena would like to sometimes murder Delphine with her bare hands, but at the same time cannot bear to be away from her.
“While she had a face as angelic as a porcelain doll and she dressed to the epitome of elegance, Delphine had the tact of an untamed dog”
In my opinion, although this is a romance, I feel like the emotional relationship between Rowena and Delphine was explored even more than that same aspect was between Rowena and Simon.

I really loved the descriptions of Alice’s home when Rowena and Delphine arrived.  I got a warm feeling, almost like I was in the home myself with the fire going, looking forward to sleeping in a cozy bed in the home of a cherished girlfriend after a long arduous journey. Kind of like a parent feels when all her birds are in the ‘nest’ for the night, you get a feeling that all is right with the world throughout the story when Rowena, Delphine, Alice, and Simon are all under the same roof.

I can say that although this is a novella, I would have been much happier with a full length novel. It is a cross to bear of novellas to try and cram emotional and physical aspects together and create a satisfying love story in 50 or so pages. I am not so sure this is really possible. The love scenes were pretty warm, but not laced with enough emotion to me and seemed a little forced. Rowena seems outraged that Simon wishes to rendezvous in the afternoon-but then I was jarred to see the words C*^k and P*$$y in a period story when I am not entirely sure they even spoke or thought that way during those times. The sentiments and Rowena’s virtuous attitude just did not gel for me. Those terms (although I do not mind them at all, when appropriate to the atmosphere of the story) were not necessary to punctuate what was going on in the Bedroom. It turned what was masquerading as passionate love and longing for lost time to something bordering on kitschy. Dirty words do not an awesome love scene make.


Overall:   2.75 Stars. (I think it should have been longer and felt that Rowena needed some more depth for me to empathize with her. I wanted to get to know her better. I feel this novella has a ton of potential and just didn’t quite get there this time.)

Sensuality level: 4.00 (Pretty steamy, but I didn’t really connect with them emotionally or sexually. That being said the love scenes are central to the story.)

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Anonymous,  November 28, 2011 at 11:47 AM  

The premise of this tale sounds really good. Although, I'm really big on the romance part....hmmm...I think I'll see if the author has a snippet available on her site.

Wonderful review.

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