I love this kind of set up in a romance. The misunderstandings, the nonsensical pride, the passion, the angst... Oh boy, I think I need to re-read this one.
Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: June 28, 2016
The first wedding night that Lady Juliana St. Albans spent with the dark and daring Rhys Vaughan was intoxicating, the heady culmination of her new husband’s driving hunger and her own awakened sensuality. When he mysteriously disappeared the next morning, she waited for him in hope and desperation. And when he was finally proclaimed dead in a shipwreck, she bitterly mourned the loss of her love.
The second wedding night that Juliana spent with Rhys Vaughan was six years later, after he returned to claim her just as she was about to wed another. This Rhys was different—bolder, harder, and convinced that she’d betrayed him. Only their blazing passion remains from their years apart. But is it enough to light their way through the maze of mystery, menace, and mistrust—to the love they once shared and would have to find again?
Lady Juliana St. Albans had only been married for one day before her husband mysteriously vanished and was later declared dead. She spent years loving and mourning him before making the difficult decision to move on. Only to have her husband storm in on the day she was going to get engaged. Bitter, angry, and convinced that Juliana betrayed him, Rhys Vaughan forces her home with him, intent on making her pay for the years he spent imprisoned. But Juliana is convinced that underneath all the hate is the kind, passionate, loving man she fell in love with.
Stormswept felt familiar but at the same time it felt like something new and exciting. Written under the pen name Deborah Martin in 1995, this new edition is revised, and the cover redone beautifully. The end result was passionate romance filled with lust, love, betrayal, and heartache that was done just right for my tastes.
For me what helped set the mood for Rhys and Juliana’s second chance romance was the care and attention that was given to the beginning of their romance. Their first meeting (At a political rally of sorts), first impressions, first kisses, and that impulse decision to marry after quickly falling in love, followed by the disastrous events that lead to them being parted not 24 hours after they married. All of that really sold me on the heartache and angst that was to come six years later.
Definitely more conflict ridden than what most Jeffries’ fans might be used to, Stormswept was an uphill battle for Juliana because Rhys was just so darn stubborn and blinded by his hurt and anger that he refused to see that Juliana had suffered too. I love that neither of them was completely innocent in their actions, but neither was a villain either. Some might argue that Rhys was horrible to Juliana for most of the book and I’ll agree but only to some extent.
Because Rhys was a Welshman and Juliana English, they already had a big obstacle in their way. Add in the bad blood between Rhys and Juliana’s family and well, it was just a matter of time before he started wondering if his wife was any different from her family. Especially after what had been done to him in the time they were apart. He needed to lash out at someone and Juliana was a handy target. Yet, she didn’t take his crap either. She acknowledged that she messed up (Which Rhys didn’t acknowledge his own mistakes until way later) but she had such complete faith throughout the story that the man she fell in love with was still inside the bitter beast that dragged her home with him that she persisted and fought back not with equal hatred and anger but with love and patience mixed with a bit of sass and logic.
I liked the tension between them too. I felt it pushed both characters to face up to their mistakes and the choices they made. Rhys and Juliana had both changed a lot since they last saw each other so it wasn’t just tension from the situation, it was sexual tension, and the tension caused when two people with different personalities are forced to live together. All of it just pushed both characters to their limits and showed their weaknesses and their strengths. Everything combined made me keep turning the pages just to see where Rhys and Juliana were headed next. I do love an angst ridden romance and Stormswept delivered without overwhelming other elements of the story.
Juliana’s brothers were interesting supporting characters as well. Darcy and Overton were both villains and victims in my eyes, with Darcy suffering because of his high handedness. I felt sympathy for him in the end and I would have liked for them to get their own stories.
Final Verdict: Rhys and Juliana’s years apart following their quickie marriage could have been a disaster in the making but Sabrina Jeffries handled their second chance romance with care, consideration, and charm. I definitely loved these two characters enough to do a re-read very soon.
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