Stormswept by Deborah Martin
Genre: Historical Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:
“The first wedding night that Lady Juliana St. Albans spent with the dark and daring Rhys Vaughan was intoxicating, the heady culmination of her new husband’s driving hunger and her own awakened sensuality. When he mysteriously disappeared the next morning, she waited for him in hope and desperation. And when he was finally proclaimed dead in a shipwreck, she bitterly mourned the loss of her love.
The second wedding night that Juliana spent with Rhys Vaughan was six years later, after he returned to claim her just as she was about to wed another. This Rhys was different—bolder, harder, and convinced that she’d betrayed him. Only their blazing passion remains from their years apart. But is it enough to light their way through the maze of mystery, menace, and mistrust—to the love they once shared and would have to find again?”
Stormswept is a historical romance set in 18th century Wales. The hero, Rhys, a penniless Welsh squire who has lost his inheritance, falls in love with Juliana, the daughter of the man who stole that inheritance. This book details their romance, including some bumpy patches along the way. The beginning of the book, and the beginning of their romance, is sweet and believable (mostly). Rhys is everything a Juliana wants and deserves: he’s kind, smart, poetic, romantic, and of course attractive. I really enjoyed this part.
The rest of the book (most of it) has a completely different Rhys, one who is vengeful, stubborn, selfish, and downright mean. This is where the book lost me. I can understand having some rocky areas in relationships, but the way Rhys treated Juliana was beyond what could ever be acceptable, even in the 18th century. She was always loyal and compassionate, even in the face of his temper, but I don’t think he deserved her.
In a romance, I like to see heroes and heroines who truly deserve each other and belong together. A misunderstanding a failure to trust aren’t a good basis for a real-life romance or a fictional one. It took me out of the story to see how little he trusted someone he claimed to love. So, while parts of this book were certainly enjoyable and the Welsh poetry throughout was lovely, I have to give this book two stars.
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review