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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jessica Trapp - Defiant

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Zebra (December 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1420100955

ISBN-13: 978-1420100952
Genre: Historical Romance
Main Characters: Jared St. John & Gwyneth of Windrose

Buy at: The Book Depository


Three years ago Jared St. John was imprisoned, wrongly, for the murder of his own brother. Now, finally free, he wishes only to live in peace, hoping to heal the darkness that plagues his soul. But his self-inflicted isolation is destroyed when he is drugged, spirited away to a church, and forced to marry a brazen enchantress against his will...Lady Gwyneth of Windrose knows something of false imprisonment, but that doesn't stop her from abducting a stranger when it's her only hope of gaining her liberty. Yet the moment she's alone in her unwilling new husband's powerful presence, everything Gwyneth thought she knew of men - and of seduction - falls by the wayside. For the first time in her life, it's not freedom Gwyneth craves...but to give herself over to unyielding passion...

Requested Review 

If you are a fan of classic historical romances like the ones Johanna Lindsey wrote in the 80’s and early 90’s you will most certainly love Jessica Trapp’s Defiant. But even if you are not into historical romances you can enjoy this smooth written story for its plot delves much deeper than just a simple love story between a fierce hero and a feisty heroine.

Lady Gwyneth of Windrose is known for her great beauty and many men have asked for her hand in marriage, yet Gwyneth has always evaded the shackles of marriage. Gwyneth has no intention to be the property of a man who can show her off whenever he feels like it. All she wants is her freedom. Fate brings her together with Irma, a whore. They share a secret and it is Irma who shows Gwyneth how she can use her beauty to her advantage to help other women. Now Gwyneth is a woman on a mission, she wants to save as many women from prison as she can so they won’t be sold into slavery.

But Gwyneth cannot escape marriage forever and her family forces her to marry some fop. This will endanger her mission so she and Irma come up with a plan. They abduct a stranger; Gwyneth marries him and pays him off so he disappears. This is Gwyneth’s only hope to gain her liberty and continue her mission, but they picked the wrong stranger to mess with for Jared St. John will not disappear. He is here to stay and for the first time in her life Gwyneth cannot seduce a man to do things her way, for the first time in her life she wants to surrender to her passion… passion for her husband.

Jared St. John is the illegitimate child of a lady, she never cared for him. He is a falconer and shares a special bond with his bird Aeliana. Three years ago he was falsely accused of murdering his own brother, now he has escaped. He only wishes to live in peace and clear his name by finding his brother’s real killer. Living in peace is no longer an option when Gwyneth enters his life and forces him to marry her, but marriage to Gwyneth has its advantages so he exercises his rights as her husband while he tries to clear his name. But it is hard not to fall under the spell of such a beauty.

Though Defiant is a classic historical romance, fluently written and fast-paced to read, it also has a high level of girl power and it is a character-driven story. The changes both Jared and Gwyneth undergo during this story add even more layers and depth to them. They come from very different backgrounds, have absolutely nothing in common with one another yet they are very much the same in many ways. They both have a strong sense of justice and this is what eventually leads them to one another.

Gwyneth is a great heroine, as a lady she could have resigned herself to her role as a wife and live an easy life, instead she tries to take control of her own life as much as she can and help other women. She is an idealist trying to improve the position of women in a men’s world. She is persistent, a little stubborn, smart and emphatitic; she puts other people’s needs for her own. Life has taught her that men don’t listen to women very well and if she wants something she has to do it herself. She depends very much on herself and Irma and does not trust men. When Jared stays in her life she must adapt quickly and find new ways to continue her mission, not once does she give up. She is a very strong, compassionate lady and I like her attitude and her assertiveness very much.

Looking from Gwyneth’s point of view Jared sounds like a bastard, but he really isn’t. I must admit when he forced Gwyneth to wear a brank for a day he did not score any points with me, but she really pushed him too far and Jared needed to show that he could handle his wife, after all this story plays out in the middle ages. Being hurt by women all his life makes Jared very cautious of Gwyneth, he is emotionally closed off yet vulnerable at the same time. He does not trust people, especially women easily. Jared only relies on himself and his bird Aeliana. Yet he is very patient and gentle with Gwyneth, he teaches her how to read and shows her that she can trust him and that he has honor. All he wants is to clear his name and live in peace.

There are not many secondary characters in this story; the only important one is Irma. Irma is Gwyneth’s best friend and she is a whore. She lives a harsh life yet tries to make the best of things and is always to help other women. I liked Irma, she is so practical and she made me laugh. She and Gwyneth are an odd pair, together with Jared they are the pivot of Defiant. Still, Jessica Trapp has done a great job at making you feel a connection to this three characters as they try to live their lives on their terms and reach their goals.

I really loved the plotline of this story, there are many little details in the lives of Jared, Gwyneth and Irma that look trivial, yet it turns out that they are very important for the development of the story. These details also show how tangled up their lives really are without them knowing it. All these little details and loose ends come together with a bang at the end of the story.

Defiant was a pleasant surprise for me, I loved it. The well-rounded characters, the undeniable attraction between Jared and Gwyneth, the fluent and profound plotline and the high level of girl power. The solutions Irma and Gwyneth come up with for their problems were hilarious. Yet at the same time Defiant keeps that authentic medieval vibe. Therefore Defiant is a mesmerizing read from start to finish.


Leontine said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this one, great review Mariss! I wish I had more time for my first genre love; historical romance *sigh*

Blodeuedd said...

I am a sucker for a man with a sword, don't ask em why, lol.

Nice review

Aurian said...

Great review Marissa, I really would like to read this book!

The extended posse

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Calendar October:

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1 star: Too many flaws and not worthy of your time.

2 stars: An average story with no surprises.

3 stars: An interesting and entertaining story.

4 stars: A riveting and gripping reading experience.

5 stars: A story that is the ultimate reader's high and very addictive.

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