Her First Desire by Cathy Maxwell
Barbara’s rating: 3 of 5 stars
Series: A Logical Man’s Guide to Dangerous Women #2
Publication Date: 4/27/21
Number of Pages: 384
Widowed Gemma Estep has absolutely had it with men! She’s never met one she could trust and rely on – even her father who loved her left his fortune to her worthless husband rather than to her. When her husband died in a duel over another man’s wife, his brother inherited the fortune and ‘allowed’ her to live with his family – basically as a servant. Her final straw was when she discovered a letter in her brother-in-law’s desk. That letter – addressed to her – was months old – and it was the news that her beloved uncle, her only relative, had died. After a loud confrontation with her brother-in-law, she decided to leave because she had a letter that made her believe that her uncle had left her his establishment, The Garland. OMGoodness, the mess she found when she arrived to make her claim! That mess included the state of disrepair in which she found the Garland – and the animosity of the male population of the village – many of whom belonged to the Logical Men’s Society.
Doctor Ned Thurlowe is a well-respected physician and member of the village. He is of a scientific nature and really pays little attention to what is actually going on around him. People talk to him, but he pays almost no attention to what they are actually saying. He’s always thinking of something else entirely. He’s betrothed, but it is a pity betrothal that he was sort of shamed into. He is totally indifferent to the woman and has been putting off the wedding for over two years. He knows he’ll marry her someday – but not today. Then, that wicked, flame-haired harridan came to town, and he found he might actually have feelings. Who knew? Of course, they could never be friends because she is claiming the Garland – and worse yet – she plans to turn it into a tea garden where the Logical Men’s Society will not be allowed to meet! The nerve of her.
Ned’s character seems to be a caricature rather than a real person. He certainly needed to have a grand epiphany because he was not a particularly likable character for most of the book. Because of his background, he had a very insecure nature and wasn’t one for trusting – especially women.
I don’t care for infidelity in any book I read – and – while many of you will disagree with me – this book has infidelity in it. Ned is betrothed to a lovely young woman. He asked her to marry and she agreed – and then he never made any effort to get to know her or care about her – and then he has a relationship with Gemma. He should have dealt with the betrothal before he ever embarked on the relationship with Gemma. I’m not a believer in those ‘uncontrollable’ urges. I believe you always have a choice – even if you don’t like the available options.
I liked the IDEA of this story much better than I liked the execution. I thought it would be a bright, funny, entertaining romance, and for me personally, it just wasn’t. I have begun to wonder if all authors hate men or if it is just a wide swath of the Historical Romance authors. I’ve read several books within the last month whose common theme was that every female in the story was constantly referring to men as idiots, wastrels, untrustworthy, rakes, etc. To me, that sort of equates to thinking all blondes are dumb as in all of the blonde jokes. It isn’t true and it is insulting to my intelligence to try to make me think it is.
While I wouldn’t read this book a second time, I hope you’ll enjoy it if you choose to read it. I also think I’ll skip any remaining books in the series.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.