Beautiful, brilliant and headstrong Alexandra Cox-Neville was a thoroughly impossible young lady--with an even more impossible dream of love. If she could not wed Darius Wentworth, heir to the neighboring barony of Blandon, she would have no husband at all.
Thus when Darius took another for his wife, there was but one place for Alexandra to go: London, where a woman could make her living with her pen if she did not fear the censure of society and the scandal of being on her own. Unfortunately, Darius soon followed her to that capital of fashion and folly, and--as Alexandra soon found out --where Darius went, trouble was sure to follow. So it shouldn't have been a shock to a young lady who broke all the rules to find there was no escape from the one man who could break her heart....
I'm having a hard time writing a review of this book. It is definitely my least favourite Brown book so far but there were still some good interesting things in it.
I think my first problem is that Alexandra's love for Darius sounds too much like hero worship, she doesn't really know him, since he spends most of his time at school, and he does see her as a sort of younger sister so while I could understand those feelings in a teenager Alexandra I think she should have grown out of it after he married. But she doesn't.
Darius ends up unhappy in his marriage and when his wife dies in child birth leaving an orphan son everyone believes that he doesn't pay attention to the child because he is heartbroken. I immediately guessed where the author was leading us and I wasn't wrong. Alexandra refuses to wed another and fights with her parents about it. She has always been fond of reading and writing and after secretly publishing a book decides to run away to London to avoid marrying the neighbour her father wanted her to. She first attempted to declare her love for Darius and convince him to marry her but, after a mortifying scene he refuses her.
Alexandra writes powerful novels about women's feelings and passions that first make London's society curious and then leads them to condemn her when her poetry becomes too revealing. It seemed to me that it echoed a bit the reaction the Bronte sisters had when their first published their works that also seemed too passionate and coarse to society. But there the similarity ends because Alex, even after warned that she can be disgraced in the eyes of the world, persists in publishing the damaging poetry. This sets in motion a turn of events that could lead to hers and Darius destruction.
But the fact is that Darius never seemed worthy of such love and devotion, and for most of the book he just isn’t interested. And Alex proved to be immature by not measuring the consequences of her actions and in not accepting salvation when it was offered just because of her pride. Where previous books like The Emerald Necklace or St Martin's Summer had poignant moments where the character's misery really touched the reader, here such moments where merely humiliating and miserable for them.
I did feel the story had potential, the idea of a writer heroine was really good, but that the way it was developed wasn't the best one. Not to mention that Alexandra's father was a tyrant and in the end we are supposed to reach the conclusion that he was right after all. Too weird... But I do like Brown's writing, a lot, and I will definitely continue reading her books and see if the rest of her backlist proves to be winners like all the previous ones I read, or so so reads like this one.