Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Scoundrel in My Dreams by Celeste Bradley

I had not yet read anything by Celeste Bradley, so when this book arrived in the mail to be read and rated as a 2010 Readers Crown selection, I wasn’t at all sure what to expect. And, because it’s the third book in a trilogy I knew nothing about, I decided that to be fair to the author I’d pick up the first two books, Devil In My Bed and Rogue In My Arms and read them first. As I said, I wasn’t sure what to expect and in the end, truly enjoyed them. And now, having read Scoundrel in my Dreams I can say, without a doubt, that I’ll be reading more by this author.

Words that come to mind as I sit here trying to describe this story are tragic, triumphant, adorable, sensual, funny, sweet, passionate, and very, very sexy. Jack is a tormented man, and his deep, dark secret truly is dark. Because of this I’m able to understand and forgive some of his actions, and my heart broke for the man he was, the man he wanted to be, and the man he ultimately became.

Because of my unabashed love for Jack from the previous books, Laurel could have come across as a bitchy, spoiled, undeserving heroine to me, but I found that I was able to connect with her and see where her anger and sense of betrayal was coming from. I appreciated how the author took the time to make sure I was able to feel that side of Laurel, because without that, I’d never have been able to accept her as the happily ever after that Jack was so in need of.

Their story is such an emotional one, filled with hope and anguish, love and betrayal, sadness and joy and a passion like I’ve seldom seen in a historical romance. Jack now holds a place of honor on my Top Heroes shelf, and I’ll remember him for ages to come.

One of my very favorite things about this trilogy as a whole has turned out to be Melody, not the child, but the woman whose story we see in bits and pieces throughout all three books. Lementeur, affectionately known as Button, a well known London tailor who had created the wedding gowns for the brides in this series, became a very close friend of all three families over the years. Now, as Melody is preparing for her own wedding, Button is there telling her the stories of Uncle Aiden, Uncle Colin and her own parents. In Devil in my Bed, he’s telling her Aiden and Madeleine’s story, in Rogue in my Arms he recounting Colin and Pru’s story and in this book, of course, Jack and Laurel’s story. It was such a touching, unique way of giving us a front row seat to this fun, heartwarming tale.

I can only hope, but I’d love to get Melody’s story, fully told, and watch her own happily ever after as it unfolds.

Just a note - This book could be read as a standalone because the author did a great job of giving us the important details from the previous books. Any reader coming into this story with no previous knowledge of the characters or the plot would have no trouble following along, however, I found that by actually reading Devil In My Bed and Rogue In My Arms and having become so thoroughly invested in those heroes and heroines, Scoundrel In My Dreams was an absolute delight to read and a huge part of that is because in those earlier books we learn how much Aiden and Colin love Jack, and why, so by the time we got to his book, his character had already become someone we cared deeply for. To truly understand Jack’s tormented soul and to get to know the other characters whose hopes and dreams depend on the outcome of this story, I’d strongly encourage you to read the first two books, in order, before beginning this one.

5/5 Stars

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