I read this for Romance Book Bingo 2017: Fairy tale Retelling square.
I have carried this book with me to countless countries and on countless vacations at this point. I love “Ravished.” I think Amanda Quick was firing on all cylinders for this one. I ended up reading this after another romance book I started was ticking me off so badly I just ran to my shelves and pulled this book down. You have a hero and heroine you can root for, an A and a B plot, and some very cute secondary characters.
Harriet is a typical Quick heroine. She’s not conventionally beautiful, but is very smart. Harriet is interested in archaeology and more to the point with anything dealing with old bones and teeth. Living in Upper Biddleton she calls on Gideon Westbrook, Viscount St. Justin, to come and deal with thieves who have set themselves up in the caves she is exploring.
St. Justin is a recluse from society due to his very large body and the scar that is down one side of his face due to a fencing accident. St. Justin, called the Beast of Blackthorne Hall by the local residents, does come to Upper Biddleton wanting to know what female dared to command him to come and do his duty. Readers find out quickly about St. Justin’s nasty past with many blaming him for the suicide of one of the local young girls who St. Justin was engaged to at one time.
Harriet and Gideon were wonderful together. Honestly. From the very beginning you get to see that Harriet doesn’t let Gideon’s scar or bad temper (justified in this case) get to her at all. She looks past that and sees a man who is very lonely and doesn’t have anyone in the world. She’s also very focused on archaeology and only Gideon is able to divert her from her pursuit of finding out about a tooth she finds that does not seem to belong to any creature that she has heard of.
Gideon is scared to love anyone again after dealing with the fact that the local girl he was engaged to really didn’t love him. He and his father fight every-time they see each other, and he barely speaks to his mother. Gideon hides from them thinking that they would prefer it if he were dead, and his older, more handsome brother were still alive.
I love the fact that Harriet is so protective of Gideon and not once, but twice goes after anyone that calls St. Justin a Beast. There is a scene in a ballroom where she launches herself at someone and I cracked the heck up. And Gideon does his best to provoke Harriet in order to see I think how much she does love him. Good for her for never taking any of his crap and telling him that she loved him all of the time. That was probably tho only failing of Gideon’s that I saw. Due to what has happened to him, he really doesn’t believe or think he can love someone.
The secondary characters in this one are really great. Harriet’s aunt is very stern, while her sister Felicity is hilarious. I once again wish that Quick had spun off some of her characters into other books. Felicity seems to find most of Society hilarious. And honestly one can’t blame her due the hypocrisy of most of the people in this story. St.. Justin’s parents are really good in this too. You get to see how far apart he is from his parents, but the fact that his father realizes he was wrong about St. Justin, and his mother thanks Harriet for bringing her son back to her were tear jerker moments for me while reading. We also see one of St. Justin’s old friends rear his head, and we realize why the two men fell out.
The A plot (thieves in Upper Biddleton) and B plot (a man trying his best to pursue Harriet for his own reasons) tie together nicely in this one. I did love though that when push came to shove in one key scene, we have Harriet saving herself.
The writing was easy to read and the flow was great. No complaints from me at all.
The setting between Uppder Biddleton and a Society that had turned its back on St. Justin was an interesting contrast. Apparently people in the countryside can be just as much jerks as people in London.
The ending was satisfying and the epilogue was too.