As You Desire, by Connie Brockway

>> Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Earlier this week I reread As You Desire, by Connie Brockway. I had first read it years and years ago, and I hadn't really enjoyed it much. However, lately I've "rediscovered" Brockway, so I decided to give it another chance.

He galloped across the midnight-shrouded landscape, racing toward her on his pure white steed. Her destiny...In her wildest fantasies Desdemona Carlisle could not have conjured a more dashing savior, and this was real. But an unlikelier hero was hard to find. Harry Braxton was a rogue, a scoundrel, and a born opportunist who had already broken her heart once. How could she ever trust a notorious rake who came with a warning: lover, beware...?

With her bronze-gold hair and quicksilver grace, the sloe-eyed beauty was every man's desire and one man's sole passion. But the secret that had made Harry an exile also made it impossible for him to offer Desdemona more that friendship. Until his aristocratic cousin laid siege to Desdemona's heart and Harry, damning the consequences, vowed to do anything, give anything, to claim her for him own...
It was lovely, an A-. Not my favourite Brockway, by any means, but still wonderful.

First of all, I really liked the setting. This is Amelia Peabody's Egypt, perfectly recognizable, and it was nice to see another perspective of the early days of Egyptology.

I found Harry captivating. A charmer, all fun and good humour, but with hidden depths. I liked how there were almost no scenes from his POV for the first part of the book, so I formed a certain impression, and then when we got into his head I was surprised because he was much more than I imagined. I really don't know if I'd call him a tortured hero. I mean, he had had very big problems, but he refused to wallow in them and let them influence his present actions.

It was a bit hard to understand why not being able to read was treated as such a big deal, but this is from current, "enlightened" perspective. It was interesting to see how dyslexia was seen in a different light in the past.

Desdemona was also a character I enjoyed. She was in some ways a typical romance heroine, but in other ways she was very different. This was a woman who tried to convince herself that she wants certain romantic ideas, but who had too much common sense to allow herself to completely believe them. I liked that about her.

I also enjoyed the actual plot of the book, which was mostly character driven. There was one stock villain, but the rest of the antagonists for the protagonists were very real and well-drawn. Blake wasn't characterized as an eeeevil villain, just a guy with failings. As was Marta, the "other woman" interested in Harry (I'm very happy she got her happy ending, BTW, which might have been a little more developed).

All in all, a very positive experience.

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