I have read so many great historical romances this year that have broken the mold. One author who amazes me with her writing is Meredith Duran. Her first book Duke of Shadows was one of my favorite books from last year and one of my new favorite new authors to read. When an author has such a hit with their first book, there are some reservations on whether they can do the same with their sophomore release. Meredith doesn’t have to worry. She is definitely not a one hit wonder author. Bound by Your Touch is a rich story in its description and the characters. Just as in Duke of Shadows, Meredith’s characters grow into better people by the time their tale ends. We, the reader, see them one way and watch as they evolve and learn. So is the case of Lydia Boyce and James Durham. Lydia is a learned, stiff upper lip spinster who releases a button or two from her bodice and turns into a butterfly just by knowing James. James becomes a better man because of Lydia. These two dance around each other to the point they have no choice but to meet in the middle. And when they come to the conclusion they are perfect for one another, it is a very nice thing indeed.
Lydia Boyce is a spinster who is firmly on the shelf at twenty-six, not that she minds all that much. She loved a man once, but he played with her heart and ended up marrying her sister instead. With Lydia’s father in Egypt finding priceless artifacts, she is the matriarch of her family. She wishes she could be in Egypt with her father, but has a great deal of responsibility in England. Lydia must find funding for the Egypt Exploration Fund which will enable her father to continue his excavations. But things go badly when her father is accused of trading fraudulent pieces.
James Durham, the Viscount of Sanburne loves to shock people, especially his father. He loves to bet on horses, engage in boxing matches and is friends with some very undesirable people. He is a rogue and rake, but one who enjoys his reputation and seems to revile in it. He has a new target on his list and that is Lydia. He rudely interrupts her important talk at the Archaeological Institute where he wants to show his father a priceless artifact. Lydia knows it is a fake and after that James sets his sights on her. He is the tiger and she is the poor defenseless creature he will devour. He thinks his father and Lydia are in cahoots together to make him look like a fool. But then he finds out that her father may be a fraud. Lydia cannot believe her precious papa would do such a thing. She will get to the bottom of this. And because James enjoys annoying Lydia, he will join her in her search for the one responsible in discrediting her father.
There is no point in Lydia trying to investigate on her own. James won’t let her out of his sight. Soon these two team up together. James can’t help but show his appreciation toward Lydia, which confounds her greatly. She doesn’t understand her appeal and why James wants to show her all the intimacies she has been missing out on. She won’t allow herself to fall in love with James. James is the type of man who enjoys the hunt and he will try and make Lydia his willing prey because she will be his salvation
Bound by Your Touch is an intelligent and witty romance that needs to be in your must read pile of the year. The dialogue is crisp and lively and her characters are in a word, lovely.
James is like a naughty little boy who enjoys getting in trouble. Lydia is the complete opposite. When these two come together, it is too good for words. Talk about opposites attracting! The banter and interactions between James and Lydia brings this story alive.
Why not an example of this wonderful banter?
Lydia visits James wearing a veil:
“I do not seek to entertain you,” She said.
Yes, that much he’d guessed. He ran an eye down her figure. That spine of hers held her more rigidly upright than a backboard. What a queer, fierce duck she was! Her black hair was escaping its chignon; her gray skirts were muddied at the hem. Another woman might have armed herself before entering the lion's den- applied a bit of blush, or at least had a footman brush down her skirts. Then again, from what he’d seen of Miss Boyce, she did not stand in need of such commonplace armor. He took the seat opposite her. “Come to seduce me, then? I confess I’m hardly prepared for it. Barely combed my hair this morning.”
She eyed him with dispassionate thoroughness. “You look well enough.”
He was startled into a grin. “Do not flirt with me, Miss Boyce. I can’t bear it.”
… “A springer spaniel.” He said.
“I beg your pardon?”
“That’s the sort of puppy I’d peg you for.”
… “You are likening me to a dog?” She asked.
“I rather like dogs. And as dogs go, it’s certainly a charming breed,”
That one scene shows how charming James is and even though the description of Lydia may seem a bit insulting, it is actually the opposite. James has come to the conclusion that with Lydia, what you see is not what you get.
And as you turn each page you will come to see how they both find something special with one another that no one else can see. Another scene, which is my favorite in this whole book, is when Lydia and James are stuck up on a roof together. It leads to a very intimate and wonderful interaction between these two characters.
Bound by Your Touch exceeded all my expectations and more. I bow down to Meredith Duran and her expertise at writing a book that makes me want to read it all over again. (June 30, Pocket)
Final Grade: A-