Review: Return of the Viscount by Gayle Callen


Return of the Viscount by Gayle Callen
2012-07-31 (Avon)

Rating: C+
Heat: Warm

Heroine: Cecilia Mallory – Lady, Orphan
Hero: Michael Blackthorne – Viscount, Soldier
Setting: England



It all starts with a letter. Cecilia Mallory receives a letter from Sergeant Blackthorne with condolences on the loss of her father—who was Blackthorne's fellow comrade-at-arms and mentor. From there they spend nearly two years corresponding, sharing their lives with each other. Then, after a few months of no letters from Cecilia, Michael finally hears from her. That letter changes both of their lives.

Cecilia needs access to her inheritance, for the money itself and for the freedom from a guardian. She see's Michael as the solution. A marriage of convenience, performed by proxy, with a man she will never meet in person. And it may have played out that way, if Michael had not been injured and sent home to recover.

And Cecilia does not deal with his arrival very well. At all. Throughout the story, she is headstrong and stubborn in regards to anything that has to do with her husband. To an unreasonable degree. I can appreciate her independence and her strength in managing her family's estate...

But as the story progressed, Cecilia became continually less likable. Almost to the point of coldness or cruelty. I can understand guarding one's heart, but it really went on too long and to too great of lengths.

She nodded, hoping that making the offer would help her feel better about what she owed him and his family. And also, she almost hoped the whole conversation would put him in a bad mood.

Michael does nothing to deserve such thoughts. Such treatment. From the very first, he is protective and considerate with Cecilia. He gives her time and patience and space. Though he is guilt-ridden about her father, and decisions made or not made on the battlefield, even though he is injured and often in pain... He consistently put Cecilia first.

While Cecilia puts everyone but Michael first. Most notably her brother, who I can only classify as exasperating. He had his moments, but for the most part was simply immature and detached. Even once his issues were revealed, I couldn't be made sympathetic. I don't care that he felt guilt and remorse... It isn't a redeemable act.

I believe this is a strong case of simply not caring, at all, for the characters (except for Michael). By 60% in, I was at my limit with Cecilia and her brother. It took way too long for their characters to grow. Cecilia in particular didn't change till nearly the end of the book... and by the last few pages became nearly unrecognizable to the character portrayed most of the book.

I enjoyed Miz Callen's writing, the talent behind it, and her way with words. I enjoyed the first half quite a lot... but the second half left much to be desired and, unfortunately, dragged the book down.

Favorite Quote:

“It doesn’t mean you’ve decided anything about our marriage,” he continued. “But how will you know what we can share if you don’t try the occassional kiss?”
“Share?” She almost choked on a laugh.
“That sounds…too gentle for”—she gestured toward him with a fluttering hand—“that.”


Thoughts While Reading:

23.0% - "Enjoying the idea behind this story. Marriage by proxy is intriguing."
54.0% - "I have a guess as to who might be trying to 'harm' Cecilia. Might be waaay off."
80.0% - "Okay, heroine is starting to rub me the wrong way."


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