I have to admit, I wasn’t all that taken with In My Wildest Fantasies. In fact, I pretty much disliked it. However, I really, really liked this one. I was concerned at first that we were only going to get the story from Cassandra’s POV, and what MacLean really excels at is giving us a window into the hero’s mindset, and making us sympathize with him, making us truly root for him, and changing him from villain to hero right before our very eyes.
What did I like? I really liked both the hero and the heroine. An unusual situation for me. Cassandra was someone who, when we meet her, was enjoying her sensuality, having a fling – a one night stand, and loving every second of it. That’s not something we see too much of in historicals. Through flashback (nobody does them as well as MacLean, IMO), we learn that Vincent was just as taken with Cassandra, if not moreso, during that one night stand. Yet, he was unwilling to give up his freedom and give his heart to another only to have it squashed once again.
MacLean for the most part rightly keeps the story focused on the hero and heroine. I really enjoyed in this book what was so glaringly missing in the first; watching the relationship form between these two people. Yes, they had a one night stand that resulted in a child. But, they then began a friendship that enabled them to learn about one another, and open up with each other. In that respect, I was reminded of The Seduction, by Nicole Jordan, another book I absolutely adored for much the same reason. Only then did they become lovers again, and admit their love for one another.
What didn’t I like? A quite one-dimensional villain in Letitia, and surprisingly, I didn’t care all that much for Devon, the hero from In My Wildest Fantasies (he was really the only thing I liked about that book). He seemed quite one-dimensional as well. Granted, he is a secondary character here, but given that he is someone the reader theoretically knows and cares about, I felt a bit cheated, even given the rift between him and Vincent for the majority of the book.
Overall, a much better book than In My Wildest Fantasies. I felt like I was reading Julianne MacLean again. The next book, When a Stranger Loves Me is due out in February 09.