Saturday, May 18, 2024

Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran


It's been ages since I read anything by Meredith Duran and I forgot what a fantastic writer she is. Nobody turns a phrase like she does, and I honestly think that she's right up there with Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn in the costume fiction pantheon. BOUND BY THE HEART was a particularly exciting one for me to read because one of my favorite romance pairings is the rake and the bluestocking.

Lydia is the daughter of an Egyptologist who is hyperfixated on his studies, to the point that he often neglects his three daughters. The book opens with a heartbreaking scene in which Lydia, who has been courted by a man for weeks, finds out that he's been after her sister all along, and the two of them have basically been laughing behind her back.

In the present day, she has thrown herself entirely into her studies, and is giving a talk on the subject when a rakehell named James Sanburne barges into the lecture waving a stela-- which she identifies, publicly, and to his disgrace-- in front of his father no less-- as a fake.

He gets very angry with her and the book takes a delicious hellbent-on-revenge approach, which I loved. The enemies to lovers was GIVING and I was eating it up on a silver spoon. For a while, it felt like this might even verge into dark romance territory but then it turns out that James is, gasp, nice... and misunderstood. Which makes this a very different sort of romance than I was expecting, but I was still kind of into it (although RIP hate-sex).

Where this book fell flat to me was that it had a little bit of a pacing problem in the middle. I felt like the mystery about the forgery dragged a little, and the stakes and the danger could have been higher. I say this with my reading of DUKE OF SHADOWS fresh in my mind, because that book was basically the gold ring of dark romance with nice hero who could turn hellhound if he wanted to. This book flirted with that line a little, but it was mostly a redemption arc for a man who really didn't need to be redeemed so much as he needed to be saved from himself.

Cast of side characters was great, as always. Loved Mrs. Chudderly (can't wait to get to HER book), and thought Phin was an equally great and damaged BFF for James. I HATED Sophia and wanted to pump my fist when Lydia finally told her off as she deserved. (Still kind of hoped that she'd get punched in the face by the end but this book was way too nice for that lol.) 

Overall, this was another solid addition to the Meredith Duran canon and I'm glad I read it.

3 out of 5 stars

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