Book Review

‘Dreams Of Desire’ by Cheryl Holt

dod chSTORY: Every instinct is telling Lily Lambert to run from Penworth Hall as fast as she can, but there is something about handsome, daunting John Middleton, Earl of Penworth, that keeps her in his employ. It certainly isn’t his twin wards, evil little vixens who will do anything in their power to have Lily fired as their chaperone.

And the love potion isn’t helping.

Lily bought it in desperation, hoping to marry so she could escape her lot in life as governess and companion to the spoiled offspring of the nobility. On a voyage to John’s Scottish estate, Lily sips the potion while gazing at the ship’s captain, only to come face-to-face with John, who seems to be instantly smitten. Now, in the locked rooms and dark alcoves of his Scottish castle, John traps Lily in moment of impropriety, bringing a flush to her fair cheeks and igniting an indecent longing in her body. Only time will tell if the potion’s impossible promise will ruin Lily — or set her free…

REVIEW: I’m perplexed as to where to start with my review of DREAMS OF DESIRE. I was stunned that I liked it. There was no ‘history’ in this historical; what I did feel was chemistry between all the players. Secondary players and sexual tension abound in this tale of passion and love, sprinkled with a dose of magic. I laughed, I yelled, and the ending brought me to tears.

Our heroine is Lily Lambert, an orphaned spinster that has dreams and expectations like any other woman of her time. She wants a steady home, someone to love, and children to rear. But Lily is also a very astute and realistic female of her time. She comes to accept the fact that Prince Charming is just not in the cards for her. Working for a living is something she is meant to do for the rest of her life, so she takes a position of companion to eighteen-year-old twins, who are the wards of John Middleton, the Earl of Penworth.

Our hero is John Middleton, the Earl of Penworth, a man who was abandoned by his mother at the age of two and brought up by his stepmother. He is always cool, calm, and collected, and by most the word ‘boor’ would describe him best. His father brought him up to respect his position in life and to adhere to its principles and protocols. There was no room for play or laughter in his life, let alone love. Attending to his duties is all he knows about, and one of those is to make sure he chooses a suitable bride. Lady Violet Howard, a Duke’s daughter of eighteen years of age, is the best candidate John picked himself, thinking she’d suite him best.

Then we have Phillip Dubois, or Phillip Dudley, our Gypsy extraordinaire, who apparently is the glue to all three books. He’s a restless young man that’s been traveling all his life with his sister throughout rural England, selling his remedies and potions, and that’s something our heroine, smart as she is, practical as she is, ends up buying—hoping against hope that maybe, just maybe, it might work and bring her love.

As much as our hero was arrogant and selfish at times, I came to like his charm and wit. I enjoyed his interaction with everyone, especially with Lily, who was strong, clever, and quick with her retorts. Her common sense and wit come in handy when she has to deal with not just her employee, but  also with his crazy stepmother and her spoiled son Edward, the twins from Hell, Melanie and Miranda, and his ‘meek’ and suitable fiancée. The only sane person in this menagerie was his real mother, Barbara, who ‘infiltrates’ the group and makes the ‘bedlamites’ squirm.

In order for you to like this story, you need to accept it for what it is and not for what you expected it to be. This is a lighthearted, fast-paced, silly romantic comedy, and I, for one, was ready for it. It was kind of refreshing to read something like it after so many romances that pulled at my heartstrings.

So, if you want your funny bone tickled and your passions stirred, head to the nearest bookstore and get yourself all three ‘Spinster’s Curse Regency’ novels. TASTE OF TEMPTATION and PROMISE OF PLEASURE just joined my TBR shelf.

Melanie for RRAH

I reviewed this novel for Romance Reader At Heart website


1 thought on “‘Dreams Of Desire’ by Cheryl Holt”

  1. Mel, I remember reading Cheryl Holt’s books many years ago but they were more erotic than funny. This sounds like my sort of book, a combination of humour and passion. I think I’ll be renewing my acquaintance with Ms Holt’s books and adding this to my TBR list.

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