Desired by Nicola Cornick

By Nicola Cornick
Publisher: Harlequin
Pub Date: November 29, 2011
ISBN: 9780373775903

Tess Darent’s world is unravelling. Danger threatens her stepchildren and she is about to be unmasked as a radical political cartoonist and thrown into gaol. The only thing that can save her is a respectable marriage. But when it comes to tying the knot Tess requires a very special husband – one who has neither the desire nor the ability to consummate their marriage.
Owen Purchase, Viscount Rothbury cannot resist Tess when she asks for the protection of his name. But he has no intention of making a marriage in name only. Will the handsome sea captain be able to persuade the notorious widow to give her heart as well as her reputation into his safekeeping?

My thoughts:

Like a true romance, Tess and Owen are two of the most unlikely souls imaginable who turn out to be the most perfect of mates. Alone, the hero and heroine are incomplete – they both hide behind shame of their past. Together, they are complete - they fit together like the proverbial pieces of a puzzle. Of course, both need to face and deal with their issues to reach their ultimate destination - and it is that very journey that I love. Well Done!!

Tess has been married and widowed three times. Her first marriage was to her best friend, a man who fought for reforming politics; she continued on with his cause to fight to alleviate violence, poverty and misery. Her second marriage left her with a tainted past and a fear of any thought of intimacy. Her third marriage, left her with stepchildren, for a woman branded as selfish, manipulative and a bad influence, it was a selfless act on her part to give up those children so she didn’t damage their future. When those she loves are threatened, is she willing to risk another marriage to put them out of harm’s way?

Owen, is the best kind of hero, he is one that helps her face the past and helps her break through the fears of intimacy. He was patient and caring, he didn’t pressure her and made her set the pace. While doing that, she helps him deal with his own past demons. Owen has been haunted for years about an incident buried deep.

I found it refreshing that almost every page had the two leading characters interacting, sometimes you find an author tends to keep them separated for so much of the book, building the drama up, and that writing leaves me disconnected and wanting more. Their attraction was instance and seeing their relationship blossom was touching. Trusting for Tess was difficult, but as soon as Tess trusted Owen, she knew it was time to stop running.

“I enjoy your company too much to waste the day spending it without you.”

“I love you,” she said. “I love you so much. You made me whole again.”

There were secondary characters which infuriated me. I especially didn’t like Joanna in this book, she came across spoiled and vindictive. I wanted to slap her and tell her to grow up, she has the man of her dreams, Alex. Why would she be so petty and have Tess doubt Owen’s feelings? I am so glad Owen and Tess cleared this up before it came a wedge between them. I didn’t really understand the need for Emma, it was like she was put in there to fill some space. Her character was one dimensional; I wish there were more mentioned of the relationship between her and Tom, that may have helped. If these characters were in the last book, it would have been helpful to add a snippet of their past so new readers understood. The last I knew of Tom was in Mistress at Midnight, so there is a big gap for me.

The least favorite part was the ending, I won’t give you the details but I will say when I got to the last part of the book which was building up to HEA, a unexpected curve was thrown in, which came across as being put together hastily.

There were some other parts of the book which I wished were tidied up:
What happened with her stepchildren?
Why did they never play a part after Owen took care of Corwen?
There was no further mention of Justin, what happened with him?

Other than a few of the issues I described above, I enjoyed Tess and Owen’s love story. I enjoy Nicola Cornick’s writing style and consider her an author that will always be on my TBR list. I would recommend this book for those true die hard romance fans, who believes in HEA.

My Rating:

USA Today bestselling author Nicola Cornick writes passionate Regency historicals for HQN Books and MIRA. She studied History at London and Oxford and was awarded a distinction for her dissertation on historical heroes. It was a tough study but someone had to do it. Nicola has a “double life” as a writer and guide at the stunning 17th century hunting lodge, Ashdown House.

Romantic Times has described her writing as emotional and sexually charged and Publishers Weekly have called her a rising star. She is a double nominee for both the RWA RITA Award and the RNA Love Story of the Year.

Nicola lives near Oxford and loves reading, writing, history, music, wildlife, travel and walking her dog. She also loves hearing from her readers and chatting to them on her blog at She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter @NicolaCornick.

This six book Regency series, The Scandalous Women of the Ton debuted in October 2010. Each of the books is a standalone story in itself . Prior to my reading Desired, the only book in the series I have read was Mistress of Midnight. While, I agree that the books can be standalone, now having read Desired, I think having more of a background of Owen's relationship with Joanna, Whisper of Scandal, would have been helpful.

DesiredNotoriousMistress by MidnightOne Wicked SinWhisper of Scandal


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