In the shelter of her country cottage, Sara Feilding puts pen to paper to create dreams. But curiosity has enticed the prim, well-bred gentlewoman out of her safe haven—and into Derek Craven's dangerous world.
A handsome, tough
and tenacious Cockney, he rose from poverty to become lord of London's
most exclusive gambling house—a struggle that has left Derek Craven
fabulously wealthy, but hardened and suspicious. And now duty demands he
allow Sara Fielding into his world—with her impeccable manners and her
infuriating innocence. But here, in a perilous shadow-realm of
ever-shifting fortunes, even a proper "mouse" can be transformed into a
breathtaking enchantress—and a world-weary gambler can be shaken to his
cynical core by the power of passion...and the promise of love.
Comment: This month, the theme for the challenge is romance classics. I picked this one not only because I had read the first one back in May but also because I thought it suited the theme, as this book has been part of any list of the best historicals ever and many already consider it a classic type of story and it's one of the books many compare others to.
I was very eager to read it, especially because of its fame but also, like the first one, it had been in the pile for about four years...
This is Sara Fielding story and how she wants to do research for her next book, for she is quite the successful writer and she doesn't want to disappoint her readers. By chance she saves Derek Craven and helps him home. From then on, Sara is allowed to be in the gambling house to do some research because the servants all like her.
Derek is annoyed at first but after keeping an eye on Sara he starts to see someone different, someone who makes an impression on him. With time his feelings, always so well guarded, start to change too and their relationship also starts to be different, more serious and sensual...
Well, I have to say I wasn't as impressed with this story as so many readers seem to be and not as much as I was over the first one, which was truly magical and enjoyable to me. This one isn't bad, it just didn't strike me as so powerful and with such a wonderful romance as the first was. Of course, it's all a matter of perspective and in the way each person sees the little details and the intentions of what's on the page, but looking at the two stories, the other one felt more romantic and the characters more intense in their relationship than this one.
So many people have wonderful thing to say about Dreaming of You that I think any new reader kind of creates this expectation of perfection that I felt a bit disappointed because to me it was good, but not the special read I was looking for.
Like I said, the book isn't bad and I read it as fast as I could because I wanted to know what was going to happen but the reading experience isn't only about the book itself, it's our hopes and state of mind while reading too and in this case, I thought it would be so much better. Still, I felt happy when the main characters had their HEA and it was amazing to see the characters from the previous book and even better it was the epilogue, with such a wonderful scene of peace and happiness and the idea that in the end, love will be the best thing to have a good life.
Derek is a fascinating character. He was poor and did things to survive, to be someone that most people dislike and disapprove but they still gamble at his place. However, he hides a honorable soul and that's his best trait, how after such poverty and bad deeds, he keeps an innocent part of himself and develops that to help others somehow too. The dichotomy in his character is very interesting but I thought it would be more obvious in this book and it wasn't so. Although, in a way, it suited me, because if he were an awful rake, it would be even more unbelievable to see his turn of path. I also thought his speech, something pointed out in the previous book as one aspect of his life he wanted to change was barely mentioned here and not even Sara, a writer was seen to help him, or something. I just thought the way he speaks would be a element to explore here.
I still like him a lot, but he's not Alex, an even more amazing hero for me.
Sara was a bit the opposite of Lily. She was sweet and helpful and presented a quiet manner but deep down she wanted passion and love and seduction too. I liked that she never changed her perspective but I prefer heroines like Lily, who seem to be something a bit reckless and after all are quieter underneath what they show others. But I liked how Sara didn't gave up on Derek and on what she felt he deserved and needed and how she had fears and wishes but would settle at some point, just to keep a good life. Not everyone has to be adventurous. I enjoyed her path and her inner struggle between what was safe and the chance of love and was really pleased with the end, but if her choice had been different at first, like it seemed to be, I couldn't really blame her either.
In the end, the romance was achieved, the protagonists well suited after all and even the elements to create opposing forces, like the exes that offered the difference to the main romance's balanced love, were good enough, had enough presence to keep the story line going but weren't too strong to make this a circus.
I think the author created here a well structured story line, since the first book and had a great ending with this one.
I'll keep reading books by the author because even in the things I think could be better, she has more talent than many and the atmosphere in her books is generally captivating enough to keep reading.
This one was good indeed.