Too Wilde to Wed
Book 2 in the Wildes of Lindow Castle series
By Eloisa James
Print Length: 384 pages
Harper Collins | Avon
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Eloisa’s “funny and sexy” Wildes of Lindow Castle (according to The New York Times) continues on May 29, 2018!
Lord Roland Northbridge Wilde, heir to the dukedom of Lindow, returns to England after two years to find his reputation shattered: most of the county thinks North is a dissolute rake. He’s even been labeled as “too wild to wed” by the gossip rags. What’s a man to do, especially if he realizes that the woman who jilted him and caused the scandal, still owns his heart? In Too Wilde to Wed, North battles to win Miss Diana Belgrave’s hand, even if it means risking everything he holds most dear.The handsome, rakish heir to a dukedom, Lord Roland Northbridge Wilde—known to his friends as North—left England two years ago, after being jilted by Miss Diana Belgrave. He returns from war to find that he’s notorious: polite society has ruled him “too wild to wed.”
Diana never meant to tarnish North’s reputation, or his heart, but in her rush to save a helpless child, there was no time to consider the consequences of working as a governess in Lindow Castle. Now everyone has drawn the worst conclusions about the child’s father, and Diana is left with bittersweet regret.
When North makes it clear that he still wants her for his own, scandal or no, Diana has to fight to keep from losing her heart to the man whom she still has no intention of marrying.
Yet North is returning a hardened warrior—and this is one battle he’s determined to win.
He wants Diana, and he’ll risk everything to call her his own.
It is a well-described phenomenon: anticipating one’s vows and in fiction, of course, can often signal the beginning of a tragic loss resulting in a child born on the wrong side of the blanket. One can only feel scorn for family and society completely casting out a young woman whose anticipation of marriage results in a child.
But, no one ever said the Georgian Ton, or a social-climbing, marriage-minded mama would be fair or just. In this case it’s a disaster.
This story is romantic, passionate, amusing in the way of classic British farce, sad, and occasionally frustrating. The ending is a bit foggy, loose and, to my mind, open to interpretation. It is hard to see how we’ll ever get to the HEA.
This Duke has a very open-minded family and the Duchess is practical about what it takes to be a Duchess. Off fighting the colonials in the Revolution, North has become a man rather than the fop he designed himself to be thinking it was what Diana wanted. Diana is not dressy though; her mother pushed her to the heights of fashion to catch North. Diana also doesn’t want the life of a Duchess. When the couple realizes this, however, it doesn’t help them to marry it just makes them fall in love. This is the frustrating part — the couple doesn’t see a way out of the conundrum.
Diana is always saying she can’t see her way to being a “good duchess,” but really, as the the highest rank behind the royals, surely a duke and duchess could have decided how involved in society they’ll be. Her feelings for North and her sense of self-preservation are at odds throughout the novel. It is uncomfortable to feel the characters confusion.
Diana and North feel like a very modern couple. Love wasn’t historically an overriding part of marriage and was often thought undesirable because it could dissipate and cause problems in an institution vital to the functioning of an agrarian society. It is an interesting way to make them accessible to a modern reader, and who knows how couples actually related to each other back then. As a denizen of the period we can look at Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE for some insight: did couples relate as practically as Charlotte does in her acceptance of the odious Mr. Collins’s proposal or as emotionally as the anguished relationship between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth.
I suspect that people behaved like people and only behaved with perfect control and etiquette if that was their personality.
That Diana and North find their way to each other despite their past, her nasty mother, and gossip, is the sweet and romantic part. The sad part, well that’s a big part of the plot and also involves Diana’s mother.
Readers of Historical British Romance will wonder about at least one important point in the book. I sure did. This gave me an even greater reason to read the story.
James’s novels always make lovely stories that work on several levels: societal norms, politics, familial, romance. They are often very steamy and this one is delightfully so. And this book is filled with amusing and intelligent characters who often put me in mind of Oscar Wilde’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. The scandal, in North’s absence, has put him into circulation as cartoons of him and Diana characterize him as a bad actor. The way she writes about them reminds me of work by Thomas Rowlandson and Cruickshank (more in the 19th century).
This one is out in just over 20 days. And, I am putting this up early because James is offering a pre-order bonus ( http://www.eloisajames.com/preorder/ ).
HARPER COLLINS: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062692405/too-wilde-to-wed