Those of you who know me on Goodreads are already aware of my passion for Judith McNaught’s novels. Yes, I’m a huge fan. I discovered her books last year thanks to an Amazon.com recommendation and to my friend @chriserlyn who encouraged me to read them. Well, I soon became addicted to her stories and what stories they are!
“A Kingdom of dreams” is the kind of book you want to read over and over again. When I really love a book I find myself not being able to let it go. I just can’t put it on the bookshelf and leave it there. I wear its pages out due to the many re-reads, I add notes and highlights to the point of craziness. But I guess, this is what a good book does to us readers. To be a good book means to leave a mark on the reader , to make him think about it over and over again and “A Kingdom of dreams” is one of them.
“A Kingdom of dreams” is the kind of book you want to read over and over again. When I really love a book I find myself not being able to let it go. I just can’t put it on the bookshelf and leave it there. I wear its pages out due to the many re-reads, I add notes and highlights to the point of craziness. But I guess, this is what a good book does to us readers. To be a good book means to leave a mark on the reader , to make them think about it over and over again and “A Kingdom of dreams” is one of them.
This book is the first of the Westmoreland series ( there are 5 books in total, the 5th to be released in 2014) and it’s an historical romance set in the 15th century. The author takes us on a tumultuous but full of surprises journey with Jennifer and Royce. They are both two very proud people, belonging to clans which are enemies with each other and sparks don’t fly immediately. They meet in a rather ill-fated way ( Royce kidnaps Jennifer in the middle of the war between Scotland and England and decides to hold her captive) and they start a complex relationship which made me hold my breath throughout the novel.
Royce is a handsome man and a courageous and deadly warrior. He has all the right attributes required to be put among the book boyfriends 😉 He’s tall, dark-haired and broad-shouldered and possesses prominent love-making skills. I must confess his initial rude and aggressive behavior towards Jennifer ticked me a bit off. But then he proved to be one of the most honorable and compassionate male characters I’ve read about. It’s very difficult not to fall under his spell while reading about him. Can we have more men like him, please?
Jennifer seems to be a bit of a tough cookie at the beginning. Defiant and very proud, she’s not used to yield in front of anyone( except her father) . Royce describes her as an “indomitable spirit” and, indeed, she’s a stubborn girl, who’s not afraid of confronting even the most intimidating English soldier. Sometimes I wanted to shake her and make her fall in Royce’s arms already , otherwise I would have done so( yes, I tend to get carried away while reading 😉 ) There are scenes, which I loved, where Royce and Jennifer confront each other violently, not wanting to humble themselves in front of the other. But then the pull they feel towards each other is so strong that they end up making passionate love so…yeah. Soon, though, Jennifer gets to really know Royce, and when she does she transforms from the stubborn girl into a passionate woman, capable of loving fully and unreservedly and able to fight courageously for the man she belongs to.
There are also plenty of light-hearted moments that made me laugh out loud , especially thanks to two secondary characters, Jennifer’s old aunt Elinor and the reserved English soldier Arik. They will make you giggle in a lot of scenes with their hilarious banter.
What I also liked about this book is that the characters have to overcome some struggles and issues in their lives in order to grow into the mature people they are at the end of the novel. I tend to avoid books that are just fluff and little angst. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just that I need to see the characters really earning their happily ever after , growing and going through some changes throughout the story and “A Kingdom of dreams” didn’t disappoint me on that matter. I really cheered for Royce and Jennifer and rooted for them till the last page. And there’s a scene in the book, the very last scene that’s so sweet and tender that still tugs at my heart whenever I think about it. But you have to read the book to find out what I’m talking about 😉
Judith McNaught is an exceptional storyteller, in my opinion. I love her witty and descriptive writing and this book made me appreciate her stories even more than I did before. She’s able to capture the reader into the novel and hold his attention throughout. She’s also skilled at writing really good love-making scenes, with the right amount of detail, without being vulgar or irksome to read. You’ll find yourselves fanning your warm faces multiple times ( in a good way 😉 ) I never tired of the plot, while reading. On the contrary, I only wanted to go on and on, turning page after page to see where the story was heading. And when an author is able to hold my interest till the end, I know he/she is to be put in the list of my top-notch favorite authors.
I give this book 4/5 hearts
OMG! I loved it. You need this book NOW!
And now some of my favorite passages from “A Kingdom of dreams”:
“Jenny’s huge, feared-widened eyes were riveted to his face. “Please,” she whispered, mistaking his silence for refusal. “I’ll do anything. I’ll kneel to you. Please, you have only to tell me what you want.”
He finally spoke and Jenny tensed with hope, too overwrought to notice the odd meaningful note in his voice as he said, “Anything?”
She nodded, vigorously. “Anything-I’ll have this castle set to rights and ready to receive a king within a few weeks, I’ll say prayers for each of you-”
” ‘Tis not prayers I want,” he interrupted.
Desperate to reach an agreement before he changes his mind, she said, “Then, tell me what it is what you want?”
Implacably he stated, “You.”
Jennifer’s hand fell away from his tunic as he continued without emotion, “I do not want you on your knees, I want you in my bed. Willingly.” .”
“Why is it when you yield, I feel like the one who has been conquered?”
“The shy, passionate response he’d awakened in her two nights ago owed nothing to fear; it had been born of tenderness and then desire. Knowing all the rumors about him as she obviously did, she had still offered herself up to his caresses with innocent sweetness. And that was why he couldn’t drag her from his mind.”
“Clutching him to her, her face buried against his corded neck, Jenny felt as if her body were on fire, melting and flowing, and a sob of startled pleasure escaped her. Just when she thought she would surely explode from the feelings building inside her, Royce’s knee parted her thighs and he moved into position over her. Jenny opened her eyes and saw him poised above her-the warrior whose name made men tremble, the same man who had touched and kissed her with such violent tenderness. His face was hard and dark with passion and a pulse was throbbing in his temple as he fought to hold himself back”
“The Scots, even the lowlanders who lived by feudal laws more than clan laws, were a fiercely loyal lot. And whether her clan called Jennifer’s father “earl” or “the Merrick” he, and all his family, would still command clan Merrick’s complete devotion and loyalty. They would not look upon Jennifer and find her wanting, and she would undoubtedly be loved by those whom she loved-ergo, she should not dream a kingdom of her own. “You’re a brave and beautiful young woman,” he said finally, “and a countess in your own right. Your clan undoubtedly feels about you as you would wish them to feel – and probably more so. ”
“Royce gasped as her tongue darted sweetly into his mouth. He was not dead. Angels surely did not kiss like that. His free arm came up around her shoulders pulling her down, but just when he would have kissed her, another thought occurred to him and he frowned: ‘If I’m not dead, why don’t I hurt?’ “
Yeah 😉 Go read it!