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Scoundrel In My Dreams: The Runaway Brides Mass Market Paperback – September 28, 2010
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“Bradley has done it again: created a memorable Runaway Brides story that fills your heart with joy and laughter, mixed with tears. Even though fans of this series realzie who the adorable Meoldy's father must be, it's still a pleasure to read. Let your spirit fly and savor this wondrous read!” ―RT Book reviews (4 1/2 stars, Top Pick!)
“Gripping and poignant.” ―Reader to Reader Reviews
“Bradley doesn't disappoint with the second in her Runaway Brides trilogy, which is certain to have readers laughing and crying. Her characters leap off the page, especially little three year old Melody, the precocious "heroine," and her three fathers. There's passion, adventure, non-stop action and secrets that make the pages fly by.” ―Romantic Times BOOKreviews (4 1/2 stars, Top Pick!) on ROGUE IN MY ARMS
“When it comes to crafting fairy tale–like, wonderfully escapist historicals, Bradley is unrivaled, and the second addition to her Runaway Brides trilogy cleverly blends madcap adventure and sexy romance.” ―Booklist on ROGUE IN MY ARMS
“From its unconventional prologue to its superb conclusion, every page of the first in Bradley's Runaway Brides series is perfection and joy. Tinged with humor that never overshadows the poignancy and peopled with remarkable characters (especially the precocious Melody) who will steal your heart, this one's a keeper.” ―Romantic Times BOOKreviews on DEVIL IN MY BED
“Laughter, tears, drama, suspense, and a heartily deserved happily-ever-after.” ―All About Romance on DEVIL IN MY BED
From the Back Cover
Meet the third dashing lord who may or may not be the father of a three-year-old orphan in this stunning installment of the Runaway Brides series from New York Times bestselling author Celeste Bradley
SOME MISTAKES ARE WORTH REPEATING
The child is his: Jack, or rather, Lord John Redgrave knows it the instant he glimpses the blue-eyed girl who was abandoned on the steps of his gentleman's club. Her mother came to his room one dark night more than three years ago―and spurned his proposal the very next day. But when Jack visits Amaryllis Clarke to demand an explanation, he receives the shock of his life. For it wasn't proud, worldly Amaryllis with whom he spent that soul-stirring night. It was her infatuated younger sister, Laurel.
OVER AND OVER AGAIN…
Laurel was only seventeen when she gave her innocence to Jack―and paid a steep price. She might be overjoyed about her reunion with little Melody, but Laurel won't surrender to her desires again. Jack, meanwhile, has no wish to give up the daughter he never knew he had. Nor will he part with the sensual woman who makes him feel alive with longing. He intends to use any means possible to convince Laurel to stay. After all, all's fair in matters of seduction―especially to a scoundrel in love…
"Laughter, tears, drama, suspense, and a heartily deserved happily-ever-after." ―All About Romance on Devil in My Bed
Top customer reviews
I've read a few Celeste Bradley novels and I have to say that this is one of my favorites. She's not the best writer you're going to find, even if you limit yourself to the romance genre and there are some problems in her work, but if you're willing to go with it, it can be very enjoyable.
Scoundrel in My Dreams is the final story in the Runaway Brides trilogy. You don't need to read the other two to understand the plot of this one. In it, battle-weary war hero and ship captain Jack comes home to find he has a young daughter named Melody who was abandoned at his club in an earlier book in the series. The moment he sees her he recognizes the features of the woman he shared an incredible night with years earlier before she rejected his proposal of marriage. SPOILER (for very early in the novel): He thought he spent the night with the wrong woman. Instead of claiming the virginity of his intended bride, Amaryllis, he shared a bed with her lovestruck sister Laurel. The plot is reasonably believable at this point. It proceeds to get a bit crazy and overly dramatic.
The story of how Laurel's parents treated her while she was pregnant is a little too horrifying for a romance. As is the tale of what haunts Jack from the war. If you were to look at it too closely, it's difficult to find romance in Jack and Laurel's relationship when he imprisons her in an attic. And the sex is a little graphic. To keep up the sense of a romance novel while the characters are arguing and Jack has IMPRISONED HER, Bradley intersperses dreamed memories of the passionate night when Jack and Laurel conceived Melody. The scenes are pretty explicit and effective if you like that sort of scene but they aren't what I'd call romantic. It's a useful device but the rawness of the scene only serves to highlight what is wrong with the novel as a romance. Jack is seeking solace for the pain and horrors of war in her body. These characters are a little too broken and possibly mentally disturbed for the easy resolution that comes at the end. You're rooting for them because of the tender scenes and moments of introspection that appear from time to time and because there's a child involved but in the end it's just a very awkward attempt to turn a plot that shouldn't be in a romance novel into something romantic and heartfelt. You kind of just wish Bradley had told a straightforward story.
So, why 4 stars? At the level of the scene and the sentence, Bradley is a capable writer. I like her style and I think there are a lot of good scenes in the story. I just let my brain block out the bad choices. With tweaks, Jack and Laurel would easily be a couple to root for. The story just got too dark and unbalanced. All the parts don't make a cohesive whole.
One thing that bothered me is that the characterization and the details aren't always consistent. For example...
On page 98 she writes: "He shook his head slowly. 'It was dark. We didn't...' 'Speak.' She blushed hotly and looked away. 'No.'"
But on page 230 Laurel remembers "Jack, lost and confused in the darkness, gasping out the details of his nightmare that wasn't a nightmare but his own tortured reality."
Once stripped of the superfluous sex scenes, this novel could have been a long novella (or perhaps just a short novel), which I would have preferred, for the story itself was very good and the characters were as wonderful as ever. I just love when an author can create supporting characters (like Wilberforce, Lementeur and Bailiwick) that you fall in love with and enjoy seeing again and again (just as you do the main characters).
This book is definitely a good read, just not all I was hoping it would be.
Kindle formatting was excellent.
If you read Regency romance, you need to expect to have to overlook premise issues, otherwise you will be continually frustrated. The plot was a bit thin, but the main characters, Laurel and Jack were well written and very sympathetic. I loved how Jack came back to himself after the war and how he reached out to Laurel to help make him whole. Lady Melody was wonderful, as were all of the peripheral characters. The dialog was good and Wilberforce made me laugh aloud a couple times.
What I really was unprepared for was how sexy this particular book was. A couple times I thought it was erotica rather than a regular romance. The language got a bit salty and there were quite a few more sex scenes than usual. Like another reviewer, I found myself skipping these parts to get back to the story. I hope that future Bradley offerings are toned down a bit because her previous books are wonderful without the extra spice.