Defy Not the Heart
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2004
"Defy Not the Heart" is one of Johanna Lindsey's BEST novels. I cannot even begin to say how great it was, starting at page one. This book was fast-paced, witty, well written, and had some unbelievably unforgettable characters.

Set in medieval times, "Defy" is a story about the mercenary knight Ranulf, who kidnaps Lady Reina to force her to wed a greedy lord, only to be convinced by Reina to marry her himself.

Reina is an awesome heroine. Nicknamed the "Little General" by her new husband, she has a sharp wit, fiery temper, and a penchant for calling her loved ones "lackwits." She even goes to war against a cat.

Ranulf is her gorgeous equal -- part grouch, part giant, with a sad past and the body of a god. I love the fact that he spends most of the book trying to figure out how to pleasure his wife in bed, an area where he was most disappointing at first.

This book is unique among Lindsey's work. She is careful with the narration, using a "medieval" writing style. There are some serious laugh-aloud scenes in this book, mostly because of the cat and Reina's gay chambermaid. And, the story revolves around the two characters getting to know each other after having been thrust into a quite-unexpected marriage (rather than revolving around a bad guy or some other distracting plot line). Altogether, it's a refreshing change!

I heartily recommend this book. It is Johanna Lindsey at her best! Though, please note, it does have a sequel in the recently published "Joining," which is like a deflated balloon compared to the amazing zeppelin of a romance that is "Defy Not the Heart."
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
This has got to be one of my favorite romance novels of all times. I pull it out at least once a year and reread all of those hilarious "good parts".
The book is set in England 1192 where our spunky heroine, Reina, is kidnapped one night by a gorgeous mercenary named Ranulf. Ranulf has been hired to deliver the orphaned heiress into the grasping hands of Lord Rothwell (an elderly geezer who's four previous wives have all died mysteriously). In desperation, Reina offers Ranulf a bargain: marry her instead of handing her over to Lord Rothwell and thereby become the new Lord Clydon. It is a win-win solution for them both. Ranulf will finally get the land and stability he craves, and Reina will get a strong protector to keep her people and her land safe.
This book is truly amazing. Sparks fly from page one and don't end till the last sentence. Reina and Ranulf are the perfect match and it is a joy watching them both "adjust" to married life and to each other. Read this one somewhere where you can laugh out loud, and be prepared to stay up all night to finish it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2005
This book was my second Johanna Lindsey I have read. I liked this book but I didn't (love) this book.Meaning I can easily put this book down not wanting to read chapter per chapter withen the hours of the day. Withen this time period Johanna really takes her time explaining this era in full detail. I had to constantly force myself to read through the first 200 pages. For this time era if you like full detail backround this book is for you. I personally like it when the author concentrates more about the couple rather than the backround..

Reina was very much likable she was such a fiesty little woman with a lot of spunk. Ranulf was really easy on the eyes which Johanna really explained with good detail, but to me he seems kinda blah. The man never shows expression but he shows a bit of arrogance (which is what I like about him).These two seem good I just wished I would've read more about them rather than the backround and the other characters, those parts of the book I just really yawned......
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Lady Reina de Champeney finds herself in a bit of a predicament when, following the death of her betrothed, her father dies as well--leaving Reina without a marriage contract. Reina's home, Clydon, is large enough, grand enough, and rich enough that any number of men would do anything to possess it. That the lady Reina is also a renowned beauty doesn't hurt. After choosing two possible husbands, Reina has sent them both missives requesting their presence at Clydon, when she finds her home under attack by a neighbor who has decided not to wait for Reina's consent and to instead kidnap her to make her his bride. In the midst of the scuffle, Reina's men are reinforced by a group of knights led by the proud and strong Ranulf Fitz Hugh.

Ranulf Fitz Hugh is a man accustomed to fighting for what he wants. Born on the wrong side of the blanket, Ranulf has worked as a mercenary for years to earn enough money that he can buy himself a small fief, that will be his to farm and keep. When the aging Lord Rothwell offers him a small fortune to kidnap Lady Reina, Ranulf finds the offer difficult to refuse. When he arrives at Clydon to find that another man has already had the same idea, he sees that Clydon is indeed worth fighting for, and is eager to get the job done so he can return to his life and the future he's planning. But when the Lady Reina makes him a scandalous proposition--marry her and become Lord of Clydon rather than delivering her to the aged Lord Rothwell--Ranulf realizes that the choice might not be so clear.

The story takes place in 1192, and Ranulf is every inch the powerful warlord of the times. He is a man born to fight, who has had to work for everything he's ever had, has been given nothing, and has learned from years of dishonesty that that you never know who you can trust. It is for these reasons that he's initially reluctant to become Reina's husband--he'd rather have a small fief that he'd earned for himself rather than be saddled with a sassy bride who will become more trouble than she's worth. Reina, likewise, is every inch the lady. She runs her home with an iron fist, but is gentle, kind, and well liked. When she sees the giant come to take her away, she makes a devil's bargain to save Clydon and herself from an even worse fate. She doesn't expect to fall in love with Ranulf, and it's all the more delightful to watch it unfold because of it.

I've read a rash of bad romance novels recently, and when I need to have my faith put back in the genre, I always turn to an older Johanna Lindsey (circa 1985-1993). Her books from this era never disappoint me, and Defy Not the Heart was no exception. This is a great book if you're in the mood to curl up with a story about a strong, protective hero and his feisty, yet gentle bride.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2006
I am a huge JL fan, and I have to say that this one is not nearly as good as her other books. I found the girl, Reina, to be annoying and the guy, Ranulf, to be a stupid brute.

The sudden change in feelings toward each other was also very bizarre. They would be yelling at each other, he would threaten to beat her backside, and then they'd have sex that Reina didn't enjoy. Then, to add a conflict I guess, Ranulf visits the village whore for advice.

I just felt that this book didn't have any of Lindsey's usual delightful humor that grabs my attention. And, I found the battle scenes more enjoyable than the love scenes, which isn't exactly romance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2000
It was nice to read about two main characters that approached things with common sense and mature attitudes. It was delightful reading of how they grew in their knowledge of each other and their growing love. My favorite part was when Ranulf desired to please his wife in bed and sought advice on how to do this. I, also, loved how their love for each othe was finally expressed. Ranulf was a charming character with his size, anger, humor, and gentleness. Reina was fun with her antagonist ability. I liked how they were both straightforward so that there wasn't a lot of misunderstanding between them or assumptions. The story did slow down towards the end. The ending did leave a smile on my face. Lindsey is excellent, she is one of my favorites! I do wish that these romance authors would give a clue as to how to correctly pronounce some of the names of their characters, PLEASE!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2000
This is my ultimate favorite in my Johanna Lindsey collection. I recommend it to all. Ranulf and Reina have a chemistry unlike any other. Reina and her spunky, sweet and practical charachteristics makes a new intriguing match for Ranulf and his rough hesitant personality. She brings out the best (and worst!) in him. An adventure you'll never forget, it'll be your favorite too!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2011
I really liked the heroine in this story. Reina was amazing, determined, confident, caring, intelligent. The hero... Well, I wouldn't mind it if it wasn't mentioned all the time that he was a giant. And he had some TSTL moments - like 'Wives are not supposed to enjoy it'. Sometimes I just wanted to hit him with something, and he really seemed slow at times. Not to mention rude, obnoxious, inconsiderate. it didn't help that the heroine kept calling him names. But what I liked was that he wasn't the perfect lover from the beginning, and that he was always trying to improve himself. The book had its moments, and I really got the feeling that they lived in the middle ages. So if you are looking for a little escape into the middle ages, this is the book for you.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2000
I was not disappointed with this book. I was DEFINITELY one of my favorites. At first Ranulf seem so dangerous and cold, but with Reina help he turns out to be a man any woman can love. I found it very heart warming that he took the time and effort to find a way to give his wife pleasure with his fears getting in the way.
Both Reina and Ranulf were WONDERFUL characters. Reina was soOO sprited and so fun. Ranulf was so caring, understanding,& fair. I love the relationship they have going on. If it wasn't for Reina wit and spunk we wouldn't have seen Ranulf playful, sexual side. I LOVED THIS BOOK AND RECOMMEND ANYBODY TO READ IT. Johnanna Lindsey biggest fan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 1999
This is my favorite book not just from Johanna but in general I have lost count of the times I've read it. This book will make you laugh any day of the week. This is real life relationships not just with Ranuff and Reina but with their friends and family members.I truly miss them every time the book ends. I would love to see all their friends recieve book of thier own!
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