In this book, tall, red haired Connie ends up married to the son of her father s archenemy Aaron.
They enter the marriage in less than amicable terms, she ruined and he about to get financially ruined.
The romance grows slowly, they get to know each other and to see what lays within I love how she cared for his father and was concerned for him and also that he is honorable and sweet.
Some misunderstandings just took too long to be clarified, but overall a nice and sweet read.
I will surely be reading from Mrs Heath.
An Unexpected End To The Wincanton Stuart Feud Scandal Broke Last Night When Lady Constance Stuart Was Discovered In The Arms Of Aaron Wincanton, The Son Of Her Family S Greatest Enemy But Now We Can Reveal An Even Shocking Development Our Sources Say A Special License Was Obtained And The Two Were Married Before Sunrise It S Been Confirmed That Aaron Has Stolen His New Bride Away To The Country To Begin Their Unexpected Marriage We Ll Be Watching Closely To See Exactly What Happens When A Gentleman Invites His Enemy Into His Bed 3.
5 stars rounded upVery satisfying traditional HR HEatA takes well worn plot devices the forced marriage, feuding families, PTSD and makes something fresh and delightful out of them Connie and Aaron actually talk to each other each notices the other s virtues slowly, to be sure and their coming together feels both hard worn and satisfying I d read this again, and I ll certainly look for others by Virginia Heath.
It was fine I feel like the hero is patient than I would be with a heroine who constantly bemoans how hideous she is, even though she is actually quite attractive Aaron s financially foolhardy and outspokenly crude dad is my favorite character, and he spends half the book view spoiler dying hide spoiler Well, after a dodgy beginning, I grew to really like this book At first, the heroine was driving me nuts such low self esteem and apparently tall, gangly and unattractive Her father was just awful and she was simply a bundle of neuroses.
Then we meet the hero, who is clearly suffering from PTSD and carries a massive guilt complex over something that happened in a war What a combination blind leading the blind, you would think.
But it develops into a lovely story of how they manage to break through each other s walls and help each other start to heal Their pride and stubbornness causes problems with communication and creates misunderstandings, but they come through all their difficulties with flying colours.
He is a caring, sensitive man, she is actually an attractive, magnificent woman a sweet, enjoyable read They deserved their HEA As always beautifully written I completely adored this book, characters to love and yes some I would love to slap silly and quite rightly so being the ones I would slap are bullies Thank you for another amazing read xxxx Virginia Heath has recently come on my radar and I ve been making a point of reading all her books so I can catch up with her new releases This is my third book by her, and I can tell you, Heath is brilliant at character development.
I will admit, this plot line is not my favorite I don t usually enjoy marriage of convenience stories where the characters start out hating each other Since I so enjoyed Heath s other stories, I thought I d still give this one a try I wasn t disappointed Once again, she created a story filled with layers, which she reveals in perfect time to keep me turning pages.
Constance and Aaron are the children of families that have been involved in a long running feud The feud has gone on for so long, no one is quite sure what started it, but the families are neighbors and determined to ruin each other Except Aaron is tired of the feud and Constance is determined to take care of her tenants While Aaron and Constance shouldn t be attracted to each other, circumstances come together in a way that causes them to be caught in a compromising situation and are forced to marry.
During the first few chapters, things are uncomfortable The characters are hurt and feel betrayed by their families and each other Nasty things are said, but personal reflections reveal that both are tired of the constant animosity and want to make the best of things This critical desire to connect is what kept me reading.
I will admit, I liked Aaron better than I liked Constance Aaron is noble and well meaning and only loses his temper when he is pushed beyond his limits He wants to make things right for Constance, even at great cost to himself and as I learned and about what burdens he was carrying, I really moved onto his side Constance had many good qualities and was often very perceptive and was a good match for Aaron, but she was also often quick to anger and would become so wrapped up in her own problems that she would miss how destructive she was being despite her ability to read others when she tried In this novel, I felt like her own insecurities dragged on a little long and caused Aaron pain than he deserved, but that was my only quibble with this book Otherwise, I thought this was well paced, had the right amount of drama, and had a believable romance that developed out of adversity.
I ve given this a B at AAR.
This is the second book from new to me author Virginia Heath, whose d but for Mills and Boon That Despicable Rogue was published in May this year, and which I somehow missed but definitely intend to go back to Her Enemy at the Altar is a simple but well written enemies to lovers story inspired, she says in her author s note, by the time her daughter came home from school upset because her handprints footprints were bigger than those of all her classmates.
Lady Constance Stuart, daughter of the Earl of Redbridge, is too tall, her hair is too red, her figure is too straight, her tongue is too sharp and her mind too apt to form opinions of its own Cruelly nicknamed the ginger ian in her first season, she is still unmarried five years later and is widely regarded as a bit of a joke throughout the ton Even her own father thinks she is useless if he can t marry her off for his own gain Over the years, Constance has developed a defence mechanism to cover her insecurities and the continual hurt and humiliation she suffers, with the result that most in society now gives her a wide berth, fearing to come within striking distance of her withering sarcasm and haughty demeanour.
The only man who doesn t seem to care about earning her censure is Aaron Wincanton, son and heir to Viscount Ardleigh, whose estate borders that of the earl The Wincantons and the Stuarts despise each other and have been at each other s throats for the past three hundred years and the viscount and the earl are continually attempting to best each other in whatever way they can Recently returned from the war in Spain, Aaron realises his father s estate is not being well run and knows that before long, they are going to be bankrupt He is courting an heiress whose dowry will go a long way towards solving the family s financial problems, but Aaron knows that if things are to improve, he must find a way of ending the enmity between his family and the Stuarts, as his father is only too ready to throw money away if he thinks it will gain him the upper hand.
Constance s father has recently engineered her betrothal to a handsome, impoverished, marquess and while she knows he doesn t love her, she can t help hoping that perhaps, one day, that will change But when he wastes no time in making clear to her that all he wants from her is money, Constance is hurt at his bluntness even though, she tells herself, it s not surprising that he doesn t want her what man would, with her horribly vibrant hair and gangly, unfashionably tall body Aaron and Constance don t like each other, although Aaron can t deny that he likes teasing her and watching her temper fire up But when he finds her, alone, desolate and hiding away during a ball, it s not temper that fires up between them What begins as an attempt at consolation explodes into an almost uncontrollable passion that lands them both into hot water when they are discovered in an extremely compromising position.
Aaron is left with little alternative but to offer for Connie s hand, but just to make life extra uncomfortable because he is a Wincanton her father withholds her dowry and makes it clear that Connie is no longer welcome in his house She tries to refuse the match, but the earl gives her an incredibly cruel ultimatum threatening her mother and younger brother and she has no alternative but to agree.
Ms Heath does a very good job of describing the uncomfortable relationship between these two people whose families have been at loggerheads for years Aaron thinks he might as well make the best of things he s attracted to Connie and wants to see if he can rouse her to than passionate kisses and tries to make his new wife comfortable and to show her courtesy and consideration, but it is all thrown back in his face So, with bigger problems concerning the estate to occupy him, Aaron distances himself, leaving his bride to ponder a future with a man she despises and who despises her, and without the comfort and support of her family She and Aaron agree to seek an annulment, but even then, Connie will not be able to return home the best she can hope for is to change her name, go far away and try to find employment to support herself.
As time passes, Aaron and Connie begin to thaw a little towards each other Having previously had no interest in estate management and then been away in the army, Aaron is struggling to work out how to turn things around, and is surprised and impressed at the way his wife is able to understand the salient details and work with numbers And Connie realises that she has been so wrapped up in her own thoughts and negative emotions that she has failed to realise how much strain Aaron is under not only because of his financial problems, but also because of his father s failing health.
Their gradual rapprochement is well done, the growing physical attraction between them being complemented by their increasing understanding of each other There s strong chemistry between them from the start, and Ms Heath keeps it bubbling nicely beneath the surface, building it skilfully so that when the couple finally consummates their marriage, it feels like the natural culmination of everything they ve been through rather than just a casually dropped in sex scene because it s time for one.
The author s presentation of Connie s low self esteem and the methods of self protection she has adopted are spot on Anyone who has been called names will know that the development of a thick skin is absolutely necessary, and then you show the bullies that you don t care and develop ways of getting your own back But deep down, it hurts and it sticks and that aspect of Connie s character rings completely true I was also grateful that Ms Heath didn t fall into the trap of having the characters believe that non consummation of a marriage was grounds for an annulment, a common mistake in many historical romances.
There are a couple of small sub plots which work well within the context of the larger story, and Ms Heath writes with warmth, humour and intelligence, putting her own stamp on a couple of well used tropes I spotted a few incorrect word choices and the odd turn of phrase that wasn t quite right, but overall Her Enemy at the Altar is an enjoyable romance and one I d certainly suggest is worth your consideration if you re looking to try an author new to the genre.
I really enjoyed this enemies to lovers story by new to me author, Virginia Heath It combines an engaging and well written story, interesting characters and an emotionally satisfying romance.
The Stuarts and Wincantons have been mortal enemies for the past three hundred years and Lady Constance Connie Stuart has every reason to loathe Aaron Wincanton with a vengeance After he scathingly nicknamed her Ginger ian during her come out six years ago, Connie endured hurtful and humiliating jokes about her unruly red hair, tall, unimpressive figure and long legs In her second year, she decided that, if she is going to be compared to a mythical warrior, she will act like one A haughty air and a razor sharp tongue become her chosen weapons of defence even her dresses are a statement of defiance They were no longer merely gowns now each dress was a statement of defiance She might well be an ugly wallflower, but that did not mean that she had to be a shrinking violet.
Having always been self conscious of the bump on my nose, I found it was easy to relate to Connie and sympathise with her insecurities and understand how much she was hurt and humiliated by the constant cruel barbs I so admired her courage in facing her tormentors with defiance.
Connie is now engaged to the Marquis of Deal and, although it is an arranged marriage, she hopes to find a measure of happiness, until she discovers his true motives Feeling hurt and dejected, she finds comfort in the unlikely arms of Aaron Wincanton but, when they are caught in a compromising situation, Connie finds herself married to her sworn enemy.
To everyone, Aaron appears a charming, flirtatious rogue, but this is a mask he wears because the war had left an indelible mark on him He had seen too much death to remain the carefree young man he once was The new Aaron Wincanton found no joy in balls or parties, nor did he find it in intimate gatherings or quiet solitary contemplation either He did not deserve to feel joy any Most of the time he felt burdened The rest of the time, if he was lucky, he just felt numb.
He has personal demons to fight, ones that conjure up terrifying, tortuous nightmares, night and day, convincing him that he is slowly going mad He is a desperate to find peace but unable to, believing himself unworthy of love or forgiveness.
Aaron is shocked to find that the Wincanton estate has been brought to the brink of bankruptcy by his father s mismanagement All his father s decisions have been motivated by one thing only revenge against the Stuarts without thought for the consequences All Aaron wants to do is put an end to the pointless and costly feud and restore the family fortunes by marrying a wealthy heiress But his plans go awry when he is caught in a compromising situation with Lady Constance Wincanton and his strong sense of honour compels him to marry her Everything about this marriage was wrong At best they were strangers, at worst sworn enemies.
I appreciated how Ms Heath takes the time to build the romantic relationship between Connie and Aaron At first, there are a lot of angry words spoken but gradually, they begin to discover about each otherConnie has always thought of Aaron as confident and charming as though he tiptoed through life largely unscathed but realises that he has hidden depths and feels things as deeply as she does While Connie was feeling sorry for herself, she never realised the sacrifices Aaron made by marrying her.
While society regards Connie as a social oddity, Aaron sees her as striking, intelligent and witty and finds he enjoys her company Recognising that she has many conflicting and contrasting elements to her personality, I like how Aaron compares her to a rainbow At one end of the spectrum she was indomitable, sharp tongued and aloof He had been on the receiving end of that with alarming frequency and they had only been together for such a short time But then she was kind hearted Finally, buried beneath all of that, was a seam of vulnerability that she worked hard to hide but he knew that it was there.
Connie s kindness, gentleness and compassion shines through in her care for Aaron s dying father, and her desire to do everything she can to comfort Aaron and convince him that he has no reason to feel any guilt for his actions during the war.
I adore Aaron for realising the extent of Connie s grief and sadness at the loss of her family and for arranging a secret meeting with her mother and brother His throat felt tight with emotion For the first time he truly saw all of her grief and sadness at the loss of her family until she had realised that they had come to see her, then the relief and desperation on her lovely face had moved him and he was glad that he had been able to do this one tiny thing for her.
Whether it is standing up to Aaron s irascible father or Aaron himself, Connie is definitely a force to be reckoned withPerhaps I did not make myself clear When I said that I wanted to help I meant that I am going to help you, whether you like it or not I am not some ornamental woman and I will not let you treat me like one The sexual tension builds up deliciously so that their falling in love feels genuine and when they finally make love, it just seems right Ms Heath writes such lovely, romantic scenes and I love this one where just a touch of a hand conveys so much Sometimes, I find it far romantic than an overtly explicit scene When his eyes slowly drifted down to her lips and lingered there, Connie s heart began to race His palm was still cupping her cheek, making her skin prickle with an awareness that was both quite alien and intoxicating at the same time.
I also like how Ms Heath includes lovely touches of humour, and this is one of my favourites because it conjured up such a comical picture in my mind The door edged open slowly to reveal him standing there with the handkerchief of surrender in one hand while the other hand held a bucket over his head like a helmet He surveyed the room with exaggerated wariness before he gingerly stepped inside, still holding his bucket armour about his head and looking, much to her utter consternation, quite delightful I come in peace, Connie Put down your weapons The Earl of Redbridge, Connie s father, is a truly despicable man Not only does he threaten to put Connie and her mother out on the streets if she Connie refuses to marry Aaron, but he selfishly pursues his feud with Aaron s father to the detriment of his daughter s happiness A thoroughly dislikeable character whom I m pleased to say gets everything he deserves.
I was disappointed in the lack of an Epilogue because but I love seeing the hero and heroine enjoying their well deserved Happy Ever After.
MY VERDICT This was a lovely introduction to Ms Heath s books and I will definitely be readingI received a complimentary copy from the author in return for an honest reviewThis review was first posted on my Rakes and Rascals blog