When Persephone Lancaster receives a marriage proposal from the ill-tempered Duke of Kielder, she refuses, and then reconsiders. The obscene sum of money he’s offering Persephone would save her family from ruin. With her characteristic optimism, she travels to the far reaches of Northumberland to wed a greatly feared stranger.
Lodged deep in a thick forest infested with wild dogs, the Duke’s castle is as cold and forbidding as the Duke himself, a man with terrible scars on his body and his soul. But the Duke’s steely determination to protect his heart at all costs is challenged by his growing attachment to his lovely and gentle bride. With caring persistence, Persephone attempts to pierce the Duke’s armor and reach the man beneath. Yet he cannot tolerate such exposure, and his repeated rejections take their toll. But when grave danger arises, the Duke realizes he must face the risk of revealing his true feelings or lose the woman he cannot live without. (Goodreads)
Book 28 of this year’s Goodreads challenge was Seeking Persephone by Sarah M. Eden.
Seeking Persephone is a clean Regency romance aspiring to have allusions to the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone and Beauty and the Beast – minus dancing candelabras. I forget exactly where I heard about this book but I liked the premise and thought it was worth giving a shot so I sent away for a copy from Salt Lake City Public Library.
The Duke of Kielder needs a wife, and fast, so he makes an offer of marriage to Persephone Lancaster, a pleasant, optimistic sort of young woman whose family desperately needs the money attached to the proposal. When Persephone marries the Duke and comes to live at the isolated castle in the forest, she finds herself more alone than she’s ever been before. If she can pierce through her husband’s cold demeanor, she may yet find happiness. If not, she’s in for a long, unhappy marriage.
When the book first arrived, internally I winced. It’s a small press (associated with the LDS — why didn’t I guess that?) but I have less of a problem with small presses than with a poorly designed cover. It’s an istockphoto with a model design layered in front (see cover above). I really love the purple trim on the model’s costume but her face is looking off towards the spine, not towards the manor or the bulk of the book. It just looks slightly off. And that was what warned me first that this might be a mistake.
Eden’s book is heavy on the dialogue with period references to slang which is called cant, and some appropriate references to the Ton and the London season. Outside of these references, the language is not dissimilar from contemporary speech and I found myself looking for more of a Regency flavor.
I wish that there had been more development as to which enemies the Duke of Kielder makes and who would want to harm the family later on. One minor character is introduced and his plot thread really goes nowhere.
A major character, Harry, gets plenty of page time (and dialogue) to rib his friend but we know very little of his character. Apparently he’s getting his own book next in Courting Miss Lancaster, so maybe we’ll see a more three-dimensional character there.
In the author’s favor, I did actually finish the book, which is more than I can say for some other books I’ve read recently… It’s not terribly long in length and I wanted to make sure that Persephone ends up (finally) happy with Adam, Duke of Kielder. So, she got me to care (on some level) about the main characters of the book. Not everyone can do that well.
April 2014 Status
Total Abandoned Titles:
(1) A Talent For Trouble by Jen Turano (226pp read)
Total Books Finished: 11
Total Page Count: 2,599