Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sherry Thomas - Ravishing the Heiress

Millicent understands the terms of her arranged marriage all too well. She gets to be a Countess by marrying an impoverished Earl. And in return, the Earl Fitzhugh receives the benefit of her vast wealth, saving his family from bankruptcy. Because of her youth, they have agreed to wait eight years before consummating the marriage--and then, only to beget an heir. After which, they will lead separate lives.
It is a most sensible arrangement. Except for one little thing. Somehow Millie has fallen head over heels in love with her husband. Her husband, who has become her very best friend, but nothing more...Her husband, who plans to reunite with his childhood sweetheart, the beautiful and newly widowed Isabella, as soon as he has honored the pact with his wife...
As the hour they truly become husband-and-wife draws near, both Millie and Fitzhugh must face the truth in their hearts. Has their pact bred only a great friendship--or has it, without either of them quite noticing, given rise to a great love?

Comment: This is the second installment in the Fitzhugh trilogy, an historical series by Sherry Thomas. I liked the first book a lot and was very curious about this, especially because of the type of relationship the characters had. I was so eager to see them realize they were in love that as soon the book arrived in the mail, I immediately started it, putting aside all the others in my list.

In this book we follow the story of married couple Milly and Fitz. He is the brother of the heroine from the 1st story.
Fitz and Milly have agreed on a convenience marriage, a partnership of sorts for 8 years, at the end of which they will finally try for a heir. In the meantime, Fitz is free to have his own life, think about his lost love while Milly says she does the same but in reality she is just trying to protect her heart, for he is in love with Fitz from the start but doesn't want his pity.
Now that the 8 years are ending, Milly thinks maybe their lives can follow their friendship and companionship towards possible love but the woman Fitz has always loved is finally free and will he leave Milly to pursue the dreams of his youth?

I was so eager to read this novel! I was expecting fireworks after the little hints of the first book and the interesting blurb from this one. I confess I imagined dramatic declarations of love and a her who couldn't put aside his wife anymore. Sadly, this progress from partners in crime to friends, to companions, then to lovers and a true couple at last was just too slow. Especially Fitz, I mean, he is a man who thinks about things, who thinks before he acts, who is described as someone who cares and he couldn't see what was in front of his eyes? Well, sure, I guess it's not that difficult to imagine but I really wished he could have acted a bit more in love before the final pages. It felt it wasn't enough to me.

The pace, as it happened with the previous book, is a continuous change between the past and present, when Fitz and Milly met and he development of their relationship and the present, where they are supposed to become new people. It was an interesting way for us to know how they agreed on their relationship and why they now deal with each other as politely as they do but I would have preferred more focus on the present time, where things are happening and where we want to glimpse every moment of change between them.

I think what I miss the most in this novel is raw passion, raw emotions, Milly is jealous, but she has her pride and now that everything she ever wanted might be gone forever, I expected a bit more from her closer to the end because, well, I also admire her dignity. As for Fitz, I understand his willingness to stick to past memories and promises but I think he realized the truth a bit too late and the final pages, when the HEA happens, just seem too quick, too easy for all the things that we saw.
Of course, I also think that the drama and intensity weren't well used here! So much promise here for the story to be powerful and amazing and I think it was a missing goal not to have used a bit more angst. It would have been a wonderful story and perfect. The way it is, it's still very good but I kep imagining all the great scenes we could have had...

All things considered, I still loved the experience of reading this book, in fact, I've read it in one day because I couldn't put it down. 
I think the author picks interesting themes and ideas to develop her stories but never in a cliché manner or following the tactics all the others use. I'm not as eager to read the 3rd as I was for this one but I'll eventually get to it.
After everything, though, I was glad Milly found happiness and how amazing it would be all married couples could have their best friend next to them at the same time...
Grade: 7/10

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