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review 2018-02-25 21:37
The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran
Sins of Lord Lockwood (Rules for the Reckless) - Meredith Duran
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Thinking they both wanted a marriage in name only, Liam and Anna start to find themselves more than attracted to one another by the time their marriage actually happens. 
Thinking Liam is just another person abandoning her, Anna finally believes that his disappearance on their wedding night was all according to his plan. However, Liam was kidnapped and taken to a penal colony in Australia where his journey back to England is going to take more than physical distance traveled. 
He was the fifth Earl of Lockwood. He had been abducted onto a prison hulk. He was chained and bound for the Australian colonies.
Sixth in the Rules for the Reckless series, there are characters that connect it to it but the book you'd most want to read before this one is The Duke of Shadows. The mystery and villains of what, why, who, and where are more comprehensively explained and dealt with there. I would have liked the main villain for Liam to have had more screen time here with more of a threaded in mystery plot than at the end condescended version we got. What we do get a lot of is the emotional turmoil and weight Liam lives with, Anna's thoughts, feelings, and how they swirl around and interact with Liam, and how these two fell in love initially and how they can find themselves back to one another. 
Do not look at me. Or, more accurately: do not see me. 
Stripped down to the frame, this is a story of a hero horribly done wrong, fighting his way back towards sanity, revenge, and a heroine working through her own hurts and trying to reach the hero. It is a tried and true formula but the author's writing ability infuses it with tragic and beautiful emotion; there are lines that will send tingles down your spine and ache to your heart. Liam's love for Anna is always evident, whether it’s shown through his marvel in the beginning, wall he puts up between them in the middle, or the eventual painful desire given into towards the end. I would have liked more of Anna's character flushed out a bit more through interactions with her cousin Moira (who gets a bit ignored at the end) or her people of the island, I felt like a depth of her character was missing because of the lack of friendships. Liam too could have stood to have more scenes with his household friends, imagine the light but incredible heavy scenes those moments could have produced. This was much focused on Anna and Liam's relationship, which I know some readers will love. 
Unspeakable things had no reply. But he had survived them. So he could speak them. 
There is a lot of anger, hurt, and love in this story, which as I mentioned, makes it a highly emotional read. I would have liked a little more outside of Liam and Anna's relationship influences but they could definitely carry the show. Flashback segments are used to show how Anna and Liam fall in love and except for, what I felt, was a too late placed one, I thought the character development was better for it. It has been a bit of wait to see why Lord Lockwood and his wife had such tension between them in The Duke of Shadows but it was worth it.


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review 2018-02-25 16:53
The Sins of Lord Lockwood (Rules for the Reckless) by Meredith Duran
Sins of Lord Lockwood (Rules for the Reckless) - Meredith Duran


How can it be possible to like and loathe a character at the same time? Meredith Duran makes it possible. The Sins of Lord Lockwood proves how underrated of an author Duran truly is. My heart broke for the lovebirds who never got the chance to be happy. Fate played a cruel joke on two unsuspecting souls. They offered their hearts and instead received heartache. Liam lost his soul to a darkness intent on breaking his spirit. Anna lost her hopes and dreams to a cruelty she fails to understand. Just as easily as hope was snatched away, it suddenly reappears. A vengeful Lord, an emotional whirlwind and a mesmerizing race to a second chance, wage a courageous battle against fate, despair and heartbreak. An epic tale of hearts and faith is at the center of an awe inspiring romance.



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review 2018-02-24 05:45
Another Incredible Meredith Duran romance
Sins of Lord Lockwood (Rules for the Reckless) - Meredith Duran

First and foremost, I'd like to thank the many fans who apparently asked for this book. I can't believe it wasn't all part of the plan. Since I have only been reading Meredith Duran and historical romance for a very short time, I'm so thankful she listened to your pleas!


I was absolutely riveted by Lockwood from the first introduction in The Duke of Shadows.  A strange, dark charm...I actually didn't realize till late in the book that her new release was to be about him, and I was so happy to hear it. 


Now onto the review of this book....


It's almost not fair. What kind of brilliance does it take for an author to understand the human condition, make us understand and empathize with both characters nearly in equal measure, hurt and hope with them, and fall in love with them? A Meredith Duran level of brilliance. I know I haven't been reading romance long, but having read #1, #5,#6 from this series I unreservedly say that she is the one of the best that romance has to offer. Her books are instant classics with their meaty plots, incredible but not miraculous character development, and beautiful words. (Which I'll share upon a second reading).



I am realizing my reviews of her books are far less than adequate. I intend to reread and more heavily review this rich examples of romance. I can tell you in so many ways this book pushes you to the edges of your capacity to understand and creates a little fissure that eventually becomes something you can identify with. Though I still favor Duke of Shadows, this is equally poignant. She's taken flawed characters and made us love them more for it. 


I shall stop with the gushing...well through writing, I still have a lot going on my up in my brain over this stunner of a book.


Thanks to Netgalley/publisher for the advanced copy of this book. 

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review 2018-02-08 00:00
A Lady's Code of Misconduct
A Lady's Code of Misconduct - Meredith Duran Let me be your villain

Do you think that's swoony? Well it is. Meredith Duran once again writes a subtly crafted, beautiful, lush, and complicated romance. I'm going to ATTEMPT not to read her backlog like I sometimes binge on broccoli. I say broccoli, and not something bad for you because these books have a hell of a lot of substance. In addition, I'm really appreciating the Lockwood story arc and now I cannot wait for February 27.

The self-discovery, becoming a person worthy of another you admire, and all of that made this an incredibly finely crafted romance. It is somehow this crazy plot line and manages to be understated. Lovely!

Oh, and I know I just recently created a heroes to lick shelf, and now there's a common theme of sexy hairpins. To the shelf it goes.
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review 2018-01-27 00:00
The Duke of Shadows
The Duke of Shadows - Meredith Duran There are a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head. First, I caught this book as a BR - I was having trouble bringing myself to read it otherwise for some reason so it was just the push I needed.

I'll probably recycle some thoughts from that forum as well as borrow upon others as a result. Also, spoilering for sake of that...

So, when I went to bed after reading this late into the night last night, shadows and depth were two things that stuck with me from this book. Obviously that one is right there in the title, but as motifs, I thought they were masterful. Both characters are dealing with these 'shadows' and being so different and set apart. And both characters have unseen depths by others-and likely each other...and really the two go together so brilliantly and heartbreakingly in this book. Because this book did break my heart.

Julian noticed Emma in a garden and she looks bored, unwell, and miserable. Neither of the characters seems to fit in their relative place, and Duran shows how the lack of fit when all appearances indicate you should fit can be a bit awkwardly painful and make one feel more alone. Julian is between world in a heartbreaking situation. And in each other, they find a match. Emma is, by her own declaration, fierce. Julian is sensitive and empathetic and sweet. The book is filled with lovely dialogue that would feel out of place in other books, but fits so well here. Duran delicately demonstrates the heartbreak each character has had to endure that led them to this place, to their vulnerabilities and ultimately connection with one another.

I'm at risk of rambling on, and I just might eventually. I still have a lot of processing to do. Because if the first half of the book was in tone delicate and brutal, yet hopeful somehow, the second half was gut-wrenching.

Normally if a character felt or did what Emma did in the second half of this book, I'd be so annoyed. In this case, you understand. You understand her brutal loneliness, her heartbreak, and the ultimate conclusion that she'll never be over it. Meanwhile, Julian thinks her dead with good reason and I really was cringing before their first reunion. As I was reading it, I was thinking "there are so many ways this could go that I won't like. I will be angry at one or the other of them" and guess what? I wasn't. His approach to her was flawless. His utter disregard for others; her reaction was equally realistic. After all, by their own admission, (don't get me started on the globe: ("You want my whole itinerary? I won't give it! I have given you enough!") he looked for her everywhere but in London. And that doesn't make things easier. At this point, of course Julian is completely devoted even if 'she won't have him.' He tries different tactics, confuses her, we get some great insight into Lockwood. In the process, we can feel his pain too. She seems cold, resigned to her loneliness.

Emma struggles to both deny and accept him. She's still so heartbroken and afraid since she's faced so many terrors, and was so incredibly let down by him. And her fear is completely understandable. So here, instead of veering into "God, get over it already" it stayed very much in the "Yep, I get it" territory.

Anyway, as I still process, I feel I'm only doing a plot recap & reaction of what I felt was an incredibly effective, heartbreaking, beautiful romance. It felt so very unlikely yet so very real. I haven't mentioned how masterfully Meredith Duran says things like
"I am not blind. Words are not the only way we communicate. They never were."
And things like "You are not the only one who took that journey."

Or "Water under the bridge" "Then a very stagnant river"

I am just so impressed at how I could feel their heartbreak and their tenderness. Simply beautiful, elegant, and brutal.
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