Saturday, October 13, 2012

How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English

How to Tame a Willful Wife
1. Forbid her from riding astride
2. Hide her dueling sword
3. Burn all her breeches and buy her silk drawers
4. Frisk her for hidden daggers
5. Don't get distracted while frisking her for hidden daggers...

Anthony Carrington, Earl of Ravensbrook, expects a biddable bride. A man of fiery passion tempted by the rigors of war into steely self-control, he demands obedience from his troops and his future wife. Regardless of how fetching she looks in breeches.

Promised to the Earl of Plump Pockets by her impoverished father, Caroline Montague is no simpering miss. She rides a war stallion named Hercules, fights with a blade, and can best most men with both bow and rifle. She finds Anthony autocratic, domineering, and...ridiculously handsome.

It's a duel of wit and wills in this charming retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. But the question is...who's taming whom?

How to Tame a Willful Wife left me a bit conflicted. I liked the story and the heroine. The hero, I had a more difficult time with. 

The Taming of the Shrew causes a bit of irritation on my part from the treatment of women. So, reading a book that was influenced by the play was bound to be tricky. It turned out well, if not perfect, but I did enjoy the book.

Caroline was a fantastic heroine. She was tough and didn't let anyone run over her. Whenever Anthony would try to control her, she pushed right back and let him know that he had met his match. My only issue with her was at the end. She gets very angry with Anthony, for good reason. But she ended up shouldering some of the blame and forgiving him easier than what fit her characterization. But, I could kind of understand, so it wasn't that big of a deal. 

Anthony was tricky. On one hand, I hated it when he would act domineering. It drove me as crazy as it drove Caroline. On the other hand, he could be so sweet when he wanted to be. And, if we're being historically correct, his treatment was pretty lax to what the time period dictates. So, I let that offer some consolation. Despite his high-handedness, he was actually accepting of Caroline. He accepted that she fenced and eventually accepted that she rode astride, so long as she took a groom for protection. But, on the other hand, he was a total ass several times, especially in that situation at the end, the one I mentioned Caroline got angry at. If you haven't noticed already, I'm quite conflicted about his character. I liked him, but I didn't love him. When he finally came to his senses at the end, I was appeased and accepted Anthony, flaws and all. He may not be my favorite hero, but I liked him fine.

The relationship between Caroline and Anthony was explosive. They were either screaming at each other or throwing themselves at each other. After their relationship became deeper as they got to know each other better, some sweetness came in. But their relationship was still bursting with passion, whether it came from their time fighting or their time in the bedroom.

The plot was well-done. It moved quickly and, while there weren't any major surprises, the tension between the two main characters will keep you hooked and on the edge of your seat. The ending was satisfying, especially with Anthony coming to his senses so that a happy ending could actually take place. How to Tame a Willful Wife was good, quite lovely. It wasn't perfect, but it is worth a read.


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

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