Libertine’s Kiss by Judith James
Length: Full Length (384 pgs)
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Wild Plum
Abandoned by his cavalier father at a young age, William de Veres grew up knowing precious little happiness. But William has put the past firmly behind him and as a military hero and noted rake, he rises fast in the ranks of the hedonistic Restoration court. Though not before he is forced to seek shelter from a charming young Puritan woman…
The civil wars have cost the once-high-spirited Elizabeth Walters her best friend and her father, leaving her unprotected and alone. She flees an unwanted marriage, seeking safe haven, but what she finds is something she never expected. When her kindness and her beauty bring her to the attention of William, and then the king, she will have a choice to make. After all, can a notorious libertine really be capable of love?
William's father abandoned him as a young boy, leaving him to grow up without really knowing what happiness is. As a grown man he dutifully puts his past behind him and rises in the ranks of the Restorations court. Along his journey he is forced to seek shelter from a young Puritan woman.
William has no idea what her act of kindness has caused her family. Once Cromwell’s men realize Elizabeth helped one of Charles’ men, they take her family’s estates, then force her into a marriage she doesn’t want, but only for survival does she accept.
Once a widow, Elizabeth seeks Merry Monarch’s court in hopes of restoring her family lands. William, who is now Earl Rivers and the court’s official poet, knows he must do what he can to help her.
I must say that Elizabeth “Lizzy” isn’t a true Puritan at heart, at least that’s not what I got from the story. I also like the fact that Ms. James didn’t make her out to be some naïve woman. She catches on quickly. She realizes there are things expected of her from the King and the court if she is going to get her land and her security back. She also knows that William owes her, because of him, she lost everything. In her mind he owes her dearly. Which causes a stubborn butting of heads or two, especially since she decides not to listen to his advice.
I think these two are a great match, they both realize the truth, neither of them wear rose colored-glasses or decide to look the other way. However, they do go through many emotional stages in their relationship. Their relationship begins as friendship, then quickly enters into pleasure.
This book is full of sharp wit, Ms. James has a refreshing romance voice that I can’t wait to read more of. I think readers will be enthralled by this story. It truly is an unforgettable, classic romance for the ages.