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Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bound by Your Touch

Meredith Duran
Historical Romance
Published in 2009

H/h - James Darhum, Viscount Sanburne/Lydia Boyce
Setting: London, 1884.

Read in March, 2011.

My rating: 3.5 out of 5

                                                                          [spoiler alert]

I like this book. At least the 1st 3 chapters that I've read so far. I like the heroine Lydia, smart, bookish, a blue-staking, confirmed spinster and pretty with dark hair and amber eyes but not beautiful. The hero, James is a veritable Adonis with blonde hair, gray eyes, a wastrel, drinks a lot, has problems with his father the Earl of Moreland etc etc.

Now, Lydia's father is a notable Egyptologist. He's been there for a long time. Lydia, being the smart and sensible girl, takes care of his affairs in London and of course, this makes her prude and stiff! She has two sisters, Sophie and Ana, but I hate to call those two 'sisters' for I'm yet to meet two more vain, self-centered b*tches such as those, specially Sophie. That b*tch actually betrayed Lydia 4 yrs ago by snatching a man courting her. A man? I don't think so. He's a genuine coward, a loser. You have read to see what happened. I was angry and God, in all of 4 yrs, those two (Sophie and George, the brother-in-law) hadn't changed at all. If only you'd just read their thoughts and words, the way they try to demean Lydia always, you'll wonder how the heck can she manage to stay calm. All sorts of straight or subtle barbs. Lydia isn't TSTL and she is a resilient girl. I'm yet to see how she actually manages that b*tch of a sister. That b*tch is also corrupting the youngest one, who already thinks her eldest sister isn't the one to look up to, when it comes to the matter of the society, fashion and men. She'd also learn to belittle her, though not as strongly as Sophie. God, I wish ... :@

About James, I still do not know much about him but got to meet some of his friends, one I believe, will be the hero of the next book. MD is still setting those characters up. He, I've already mentioned, is a wastrel but has some interest in Egypt. Lydia and he meet at a lecture she was giving in EEF (Egypt Exploration Funds) in the hopes of raising funds for her father's excavation works. James saunters in and ruins her lecture. She was already nervous, James made her angry and they got into a squabble about a stone he recently brought back from Egypt. With that, she manages to attract James's attentions...

So, fingers crossed.

So, it was all going well, I was hooked. Lydia, me likey, check ... James, me still kinda confused, check-awaiting ...

Ok, to the business, Lydia and James have formed a really enjoyable rapport in the past few chapters. Both, obviously are attracted to each other. A smuggle/fake artifact plot is hatching in the moment (remember the fake stone/stela?). Turns out it's from what Lydia's dad send back from Egypt. James didn't brought it back but bought it from a dealer who also handles Lydia's dad's artifacts. James thinks Mr. Boyce (Lydia's dad) is involved. Lydia also gets some hints from the dealer and James but she doesn't believe them, got a blind adoration for her dad. She is worried anyway for her family's reputation and her dad's excavation funding. She gets this message from a woman and decides to confide in James, who is literally stalking her. He's obsessed with her, although he's in denial.

James has problems with his father. He loves to hate him and does everything just about his opposite. There is a family history regarding his sister (quite sad), which invoked it all. He acts like a wastrel, a dilettante, a pretty (very good looking) and indulgent man with a lot of money but he is anything but! James believe he's an 'original', does things in his own way and style, society be damned, which also irritates his dad. It did take time for me to connect with him, so did Lydia when she told him she likes him but since he isn't serious in anything, just can't respect him. But things change in a certain incident. They went to visit that woman who send the message, ended up meeting her sister ... Some incidents follow and James almost choked the woman's husband to death. Lydia is pretty disturbed by this sight. This somewhat strains their budding relationship but then they decide to talk. James tells her about his sister and everything else, why he is like this with his dad, why he likes to fight without any reason etc. It seems physical pain along with liquor numbs his other sorrows/frustrations. This is the point I started liking James quite a bit. There was a scene in the rooftop of that woman's sister's house, I loved it. It showed the level of comfort they can share just by touching each-other.

Now Lydia thinks she can love James but is scared due to her past with her loser of a brother-in-law. She thinks a man like James (she now knows that he isn't at all what he lets others believe about himself) doesn't belong with her. She lacks confidence. But, James finds her beautiful, very sensible, strong and interesting. They do not see each-other for a while and then someone tries to kill James. He is worried for Lydia, goes to a house party she's attending. There, is where I got a little confused. 2 chapters, I really was confused to what was happening and then suddenly, they make love. Don't know if I was sleepy or something, I couldn't guess that they'd do it until the last moment! :/ Think I have to read those chapters again. I loved one line James says afterwards:

"I told you I was no libertine. I would not abandon you."

Willing to see how things turn out, specially for those b*tchy sisters. There are scenes including them too, do not care to dwell on them. Just wanna say, Sophie is a vain, selfish b*tch with brains the size of a peanut. I thank Lydia for leaving her to her own devices (possibly an affair) and let her take the brunt.

I am quite disappointed. Honestly, this book had so many potentials to show much angst and turmoils. But sadly, nothing, at least not like The Duke of Shadows. By that I do not mean this is a bad book. It's not, really. I liked it quite a lot but it didn't give me those anticipations or apprehensions I crave so much in a book. I still love the major characters and the story was amazing for the 1st 10 chaps or so, I was so hooked. Then, don't know if it's just me or what, scenes and chapters didn't quite balance, most specially some of the conversations by Lydia and James. I didn't quite get what they exactly wanted from each-other, it confused me. Yah, there were talks of love and so on but I felt something missing til the end.

Even the ending felt far too abrupt with too many loose ends IMO. Nothing on the sisters' reactions when James's dad came to their house with the marriage proposal, even not anything about Lydia's father, who did betray Lydia by smuggling from Egypt. Lydia was mad so I wanted to see how it all goes; the whole family's reaction about her marriage to James, seeing how the sisters, specially Sophie and her husband George disdained her so. I wasn't particularly impressed by James's sister Stella's revelations but I did love their interaction as brother and sister reunited, the last scene and James's talk and apology to his father.

It certainly could've been a 4.5/5 stars but now giving it a 3.5. I, however, do intend to re-read it in the future and decide again.


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