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by Madeline Hunter

A New York Times Bestseller

Fleeing Naples in disguise, the Countess of Glasbury arrived at his room in the dead of night, never feeling more helpless or in need. As she desperately seeks freedom from a cruel marriage, who could be a better ally than the darkly handsome and discreet solicitor who'd kept all her secrets? He had always been her defender, her knight in shining armor. But one moment of reckless passion changes everything.

Download The Romantic epub
ISBN: 1587249227
ISBN13: 978-1587249228
Category: Romance
Subcategory: Historical
Author: Madeline Hunter
Language: English
Publisher: Wheeler Publishing; 1 edition (April 7, 2005)
Pages: 504 pages
ePUB size: 1436 kb
FB2 size: 1418 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 929
Other Formats: lit azw doc docx

I must confess to being a little captivated by Julian Hampton's character since reading the first book in this series - The Seducer: A Novel (Get Connected Romances) - based on the manner in which he took charge at certain times even when there were others around of much higher social standing. His cool head seemed to prevail when others didn't and it was obvious he had some place in the life of Penelope, the Countess of Glasbury, beyond that of being her solicitor.

In this book, we finally learn about Julian's earlier years, growing up with the Duclairc siblings and his lifelong love for Penelope Duclairc. Although his social standing as a solicitor doesn't seem to match up with his closest friends - all part of the "dueling club" which apparently binds them together - he is certainly a well-respected man who also holds many of their closest secrets.

When Penelope returns from France where she has retreated from her villain of a husband, the Earl of Glasbury, she does so at the risk of her well-being. We knew the Earl was a creep, but the dark side of how Penelope suffered as a young wife and other filthy behaviors of the Earl are explained within this story and further clarifies exactly why she separated from him with the help of Julian Hampton. So, if you dislike reading about dark creepiness, this book probably isn't for you. I'm not even sure it's for me, but once you get caught up in this series, it's easy to become fascinated with all the characters, so I've been sucked into the maelstrom and am now on my fifth book.

One caution: Although the author touts this series of books as standalone books, you feel as though you're missing out if you don't read them in order. And, since I opted to read them out of order based on the characters who interested me the most, I found myself regretting I had not read them in order. If you're going to read them, I highly recommend reading them in the order in which they were written.

Julian's and Penelope's book is a very sweet love story. For awhile, I didn't get the title because Julian doesn't come across as much of a romantic, rather a stiff, serious, non-talkative individual. But, the reasons for his being considered a romantic will be obvious to anyone who actually reads the book. It seems the stodgy, serious bachelor has the soul of a poet in many ways. His protectiveness toward Penelope and the measures he takes to ensure her safety are over the top.
I love everything by Madeline Hunter, but she absolutely outdid herself. I was hesitant after reading some of the reviews, which complained about everyone protecting each other and implied that there needed to be more conversation and action and less dissembling. However, I didn't see that at all. Julian Hamper is easily the most romantic hero I think I've ever read (and since I read romance voraciously, that's saying something). Everything he does is for Penelope, and what's more, everything he does is absolutely heroic. He is a fabulous lover and does not hesitate to show her physically how he feels once it is permitted. I usually hate any hint of adultery, but poor Pen has wanted - needed - to be free of the monster she married for years, and Julian would never have touched her if it hadn't been helpful to her to try and divorce the disgusting pervert. There is more sensuality in this book than in the others of this series, I think, just because Julian kept his feelings hidden for so long. I read this series in order, and I think it helps you love and understand both the Countess and Julian better if you do so. I would give this one ten stars if they allowed it!
Golden Lama
This book tackles a very sobering premise, that of a badly abused wife separated from her vile and perverted husband. He decides it is time for her to return home and give him an heir. Her lack of protection from him necessitates that she seek assistance from her solicitor, who is our H, Julian. It seems she is running out of options, and because she is the villain’s wife, she is his property to do with as he pleases. It is not a pretty picture. I appreciate that the author was able to paint this picture fairly realistically, and illustrated the h’s dire straits by not sparing the details, but without being voyeuristic. I enjoyed the author’s use of prose –it was truly very beautifully written. She uses lush descriptions which were not overly done. The h’s story is truly frightening at times, and the villain is the vilest.



……..I found myself perplexed many times during this book when events transpired that really made no sense. Without spilling the beans on too many plot spoilers, there were just too many conveniences that would not have happened. For example, at one point the villain has our h by the arm, trying to drag her back to his carriage to take her home. Our H points a gun at him, and the villain lets her go. Keep in mind, this villain is extremely manipulative, and has no care for the lives of others. And yet, he does not pull her in front of him as a human shield? He would have been within his rights as a husband (unfortunately). Maybe I’ve watched too much TV, but I thought it certainly would have been more in character for him.

Our H, Julian, is a true and honorable gentleman, but as a solicitor, I thought he was not that bright. Julian was instrumental in writing the initial separation agreement between the h and her husband/villain, and in doing so, made the villain aware that Julian knew his perverse proclivities and was not afraid to expose him. So when the h’s whereabouts are discovered by her husband’s henchman, Julian’s first suggestion to help her (he’s in love with her, of course) is to hide her out on his property by the sea. And the husband wouldn’t think to look on any of Julian’s properties, all of which were a matter of public record? I am not a solicitor, but even I had that one figured out almost immediately. In fact, I was thinking, as I read, “Julian, don’t! He’ll find her there, you idiot!” And he did, of course.

There’s more – the sex scenes also left me scratching my head…..particularly for a woman whose only previous sexual encounters were with a very abusive, domineering and perverted partner. She certainly was comfortable taking the lead – that’s all I’ll say.

Anyway, this left a sea of inconsistencies for me that left me very disappointed. Too bad, because this was potentially a very interesting plot, and not one that I see done well very often. I’d give it one star, but I finished it, and the writing – taken by itself – is lovely, so I gave it another star. But I think that’s pretty generous.
Both the H and the h deserved a better story. They were both interesting charachters from the previous volumes in the series, but they just came off as stiff and boring. The story started well, then never quite seemed to take off for me. None of the people were quite compelling enough. Even the villain was just without power or intrigue . So far the first and fourth books in the series are the best.