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Synopsis: On the night before the final battle against Napoleon, Lady Delphine St. James finds herself dancing with the one man she has always wanted, Major Lord Stephen Ives. He makes it clear he has no time for a lady he sees as flirtatious and silly, but as the call to arms sounds, she bids him farewell with a kiss that stirs them both. When he returns gravely injured, she is intent on caring for him, even if his surly behavior tests her patience.
After the battle, Stephen is not only wounded and blind, but falsely accused of cowardice and theft. The only light in his dark world is Delphine, the one woman he never imagined he could desire. But she deserves more than he can give her.
As their feelings deepen and hidden enemies conspire to force them to part forever, can their love survive the cruelest test of all?
I admit that the only reason I wanted to read Lecia Cornwall’s What a Lady Most Desires was mostly due to the cover! I mean it’s drool worthy and made me want to just pet the cover while saying, “my precious.” When given the opportunity to participate in the blog tour, I couldn’t pass up the chance since it meant spending more time drooling over the cover!
We have good character development. Delphine St. James is beautiful and charming, but it’s all a façade. When she’s out in society, she plays the part as expected, but she’s tired of it. I liked Delphine because she’s not afraid to sit around and wait for things to happen. She’s interested in taking an active role and finds a purpose after the Battle of Waterloo: helping to care for wounded soldiers. Stephen Ives has worked hard for the military career he has and he’s known to be a brave and dedicated solider. He catches Delphine’s eye, but Stephen isn’t interested in a society miss, but strangely finds comfort in her arms. Stephen also has a secret, he loved someone named Julia and it’s my understanding their story is in The Secret Life of Lady Julia. Of course in order to have Delphine and Stephen together, we know it must not have worked out with Julia, but the real question at hand is: does Stephen still love Julia? Did he even truly love her? We have a few secondary characters that play a vital role, but it’s Alan Browning who steals the show! Alan is an illiterate solider who is assigned to be Stephen’s eyes and becomes his caretaker. I just adored Alan’s resolve and the steps he takes to give Stephen a gift of a lifetime. Then there’s our villain Lord Peter Rothdale. Trust me on this one-he’s a slimy guy and you can’t wait for him to get what’s due to him. You’ll cheer his downfall.
What I really liked about Cornwall’s What a Lady Most Desires are the roles Delphine and Stephen are forced to take on. Stephen isn’t used to having his valor questioned and he has a hard time coming to terms that everything he’s work hard for may be taken away. While I enjoyed this aspect Cornwall gives us, I do wish he had taken a more active role in clearing his name, but at the same time if he had, a lot of the interaction between Delphine and him wouldn’t have occurred. As for Delphine, I appreciated the fact she never gave up on Stephen. Even when he was at his worst (and trust me at times you’ll want to personally slap him), she never gave up on him and in the end he needed a champion.
The only thing that really annoyed me was Stephen’s comrades questioning his character. Men he served with on highly dangerous missions all of sudden had second thoughts about him. One of the men helping Stephen clear his name, Nicholas, the Duke of Temberlay practically has Stephen under house arrest. Don’t get me wrong, it provides a perfect excuse for Temberlay to have both Delphine and Stephen under his roof and without that I doubt we could have seen them together. I also understand the possibility of questioning someone’s character. How many times have people found out something shocking about someone they’ve known for x number of years?
If you’re a fan of historical romance, I recommend Lecia Cornwall’s What a Lady Most Desires. If you haven’t read the books in the Temberlay series, it’s not necessary to do so in order to enjoy What a Lady Most Desires. I can’t wait to go back to read the first two in the series.
(click on the banner for the full tour scheduled organized by Tasty Book Tours)