Book 5 in the Pennyroyal Green Series
Oh my. *fans self* Lord Alex Moncrieffe, Duke of Falconbridge, has bumped some poor unfortunate, insignificant hero off my favorite heroes list and has taken his place in second behind Dain (Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels). He is a beautifully dark, enigmatic character, and Long crafts him so carefully with his hard exterior and soft, sweet, sensual, loving interior. Despite the large age difference between our heroine Genevieve Eversea and Alex, the story was not creepy but delightful. He needed her innocent youth to realize the beauty of love, and she needed his maturity to see that she could only be happy someone who loved her for all of her.
Alex finds a man in bed with his fiancée, Abagail, which is how the book starts. He coolly dismisses the man (Ian Eversea) and his fiancée, and we see the extremely thick armor he wears to protect his beautiful, sensitive heart. We see how completely misunderstood he is. How lonely he must be, and how strong he is despite that. We admire his strength of character, his wit, and his perverse charm. He is amused by playing havoc with those around him because it keeps him separate from others - and if he is separate, no one can get close enough to touch his heart and possibly break it. He is a man overflowing with love – so full of it that he locks it inside for fear of its power. He is afraid to let it go.
He begins on a quest to ruin Genevieve Eversea, Ian’s sister, with the intention of revenge. She, being extraordinarily clever and perceptive, catches him in his game, and he is resigned to getting his revenge on Ian in other ways – which is very, very humorous. Meanwhile, Alex begins to pursue Genevieve, already deep in love with her though he doesn’t quite know it. Genevieve, however, is “in love” with Harry, her friend who clearly doesn’t get it and who she believes is going to propose to their best friend, Millicent. She is heartbroken over this, and Alex is the one to bring her out of the funk.
The only thing that really irked me about Genevieve is how naïve she is. Alex understands who she really is (as the flowers are evident) and Harry doesn’t. And still she doesn’t realize Alex loves her, and still she doesn’t realize that Harry isn’t the one for her because even after knowing her for three years, he doesn’t know the true her. Alex sees the intense, passionate Genevieve locked beneath her quiet exterior, and he goes about wooing her in a quiet, careful way, so afraid of getting hurt and so enamored with her anyway.
Alex is amazing. He is caring and thoughtful, even while hiding behind his cruel and indifferent façade (which is hysterical at times). We, the readers, can see right through it and it warms our heart. We see a tough man with a hard, bitter exterior – and the sweetest self hidden inside that’s its almost impossible to bear watching him struggle to be brave enough to bring it to light. Genevieve is lucky to have his love, because it is powerful, deep, and true. *sniff* The ending, when he lets her go, throwing in the estate and the painting... oh, he's so sweet.
“I find that art moves me.” (Alex)
She examined him. “I suspect it moves you in the opposite direction.” (Genevieve)
“My third button is so often a wallflower during balls I doubt it will mind your conversation overmuch.” (Alex)
“Sexy”ness rating: Devastatingly hot
Overall Rating: A+
Bottom Line: A little lacking when Alex first meets Genevieve, however the Duke of Falconbridge is such an enigma, such a deep, lusciously dark man that he more than makes up for it. The wit and the humor on the part of both the hero and the heroine (poor Ian Eversea!) made the story all the more delicious!
Published: February 2, 2011