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A Noble Deception Paperback – August 26, 2015
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Judging Covers: As much as I love historical romances, most of the time I avoid them because of the covers. I just cannot bring myself to post a review alongside a cover of some simpering, possibly fainting woman whose clothes are falling off while some dude with pecs the size of Volkswagons fawns over her. So little Miss Mischievous on the cover of this one had my attention immediately.
The Verdict: I’m not sure why I’ve been picking up so many Highlander romances lately. It’s not like I’m sixteen years old and raiding my mom’s stash of bodice-rippers. But I find myself in search of the perfect historical romance, and this one came pretty close.
Moira is not your typical romance novel heroine. She’s the illegitimate daughter of a titled man, and as such she’s seen the judgement and derision that was directed toward her late mother. She knows she’s a constant reminder of the earl’s infidelity and that his wife barely tolerates her, and she doesn’t want to risk her independence or pride the way her mother did. But she’s also not the closet beauty one might expect. She’s pretty, but in some ways plain, and she’s too thin — at least according to nearly every man, including Lachlan. Where most books like this simply put Barbie in plaid and have every man in sight falling over himself for her attention, Moira is just another girl, perhaps even too old (by historical standards) to be considered for a wife.
Lachlan was also not what I expected. He wasn’t thrilled to be roped into a marriage he didn’t want, but he wasn’t a complete jerk about it. He instead came up with a very feasible plan to simply have a marriage in name only, have it annulled when the time came, and make sure Moira was guaranteed a home there for as long as she wanted.
But of course, the more time they spent together in their charade, the more they came to like each other, and that’s where the story bucked another standard. They actually had the marriage annulled and went their separate ways. What?!?! Fortunately, the happy ending was around the corner, and we eventually got there with the best response to a marriage proposal EVER… But through it all, A Noble Deception proved to be anything but just another historical romance. It’s fun, with characters you can’t help but love, none of the usual cliche dangers, and just the right amount of romance. The only thing I didn’t like was that there weren’t ten more chapters for me to dive into.
The heroine is the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman. The man's wife has had to bear the indignity of everyone knowing about her husband's mistress, as well as the knowledge her husband doesn't truly love her. She was barren and this illegitimate daughter is her husband's only child.
As the man's health deteriorates he sends for a relative of his wife's -- a young man with a title but no land or money. The deal is for him to marry the daughter and he will inherit when the man dies. The plan is also to keep the king from taking their property -- a bit of a history lesson if the reader is interested. Frankly I didn't find that particularly interesting and skimmed through it. Sorry Ms. Bale -- I hope there won't be a pop quiz.
The hero is handsome of course while the heroine is no beauty. She has suffered numerous slights over the years and merely appears to have a thick skin. The pair go through with the wedding and plan on an annulment after the father dies. But time brings them together without consumating the marriage, and they fall in love. Only they don't share that information with each other. This is the usual "I love him/her but he/she doesn't feel the same way." That angle is trite and over used. Could we please have characters who are brave enough to say what they feel even if they get rejected?
There is a decent ending and even a hint at the sequel. I will look for it.
I recommend this one.
Illegitimacy aside, Moira was a more average heroine as well. She wasn't make-a-man-stop-in-his-tracks gorgeous. According to many, Lachland included, she was only pretty, if a little on the thin and plain side if she were to be compared to other women. But her looks didn't seem to bother Moira because she was more than physical beauty.
The plan between Lachlan and Moira was simple: marry then seek an annulment. Seemed simple enough, right? Then it wasn't. Because while Moira wasn't the most beautiful woman Lachlan had ever seen, her personality and intellect made her more beautiful than others. The time they spent together under the guise of "oh, this is forever!" afforded them numerous opportunities to really get to know one another, to see behind the fiery spirit and knight's armor.
I liked and enjoyed this story. Moira and Lachlan are unlike any couple I've had the pleasure of reading about, which is awesome for someone who's always looking for a couple worth getting to know. The love that takes root and grows between them is based on more than just lust and physical attraction, thank God. It was rooted in the respect they had for one another and in the friendship they built that gave them a solid foundation for a happily ever after they truly deserved.
Received from My Family's Heart for an honest review