Thursday, April 1, 2010

DIK Challenge Review: Bound by Your Touch

Bound by Your Touch
Meredith Duran
Historical Romance/London/1884

Pocket Books/June 2009


From the back cover ~

Silver-tongued Viscount Sanburne is London’s favorite scapegrace. Alas, Lydia Boyce has no interest in being charmed. When his latest escapade exposes a plot to ruin her family, she vows to handle it herself. Certainly she requires no help from a too-handsome dilettante whose main achievement is being scandalous.

But Sanburne’s golden charisma masks a sharper mind and darker history than she realizes. He shocks Lydia by breaking past her prim facade to the woman beneath . . . and the hidden fire no man has ever recognized. But as she follows him into a world of intrigue, she will learn that the greatest danger lies within—in the shadowy, secret motives of his heart.

Better late then never, I say. :) I've finally reading a Meredith Duran novel. This one comes from CJ's list on the island. It isn't Duran's first book, The Duke of Shadows, but I'm sure I'll get to that one eventually. This is Ms. Duran's second novel which I found quite entertaining.

It's 1884, and James Durham, Viscount Sanburne is not himself. He's under the influence. Of what, he's not sure. Something his friend Phin created. James doesn't seem to care what's causing the high, only that he can escape reality. The words that came to mind when I first met James were "frat boy". He drinks, stays out all night and in general doesn't seem to give a damn about anything. But there is so much more to James. His dissolution with life comes from what he feels was his inability to keep his sister safe. He blames himself for not getting her out of a dangerous situation. James is also suffering from a broken relationship with his father, Earl of Moreland. James takes distinct pleasure in embarrassing his father in society. Yes, James is determined to cultivate that bad boy image.

Lydia Boyce is nothing like James. She is the eldest of three daughters of Henry Boyce, an archaeologist of some renowned. She is well read and manages her father's affairs while he spends most of his time on digs in Africa. I really liked Lydia from the start. I did feel sorry for when she finds herself in a very upsetting situation early on. Being the eldest Lydia is a natural leader and feels responsible for her sisters. Ana, her youngest sister, is sweet and innocent. Her sister Sophie is a real bitch. Yep, I've got it right here in my notes, "Sophie is a bitch". Lydia put up with a lot of BS when it came to Sophie. I really wish she had shown her backbone regarding Sophie a bit sooner than she did. On the other hand, she had no problem standing up to Viscount Sanburne.

When Lydia meets James the impression he gives is not a good one. ~

But then something went wrong. His laugh started out softly, but he did not seem able to stop it. As his mirth rose in volume, it assumed a lunatic quality. Lydia dimly sensed people scattering back to their seats, but she could not look away from the young lord's face. It was more than morbid curiosity that arrested her. She'd never seen someone lose his mind before, but Sanburne managed it beautifully. The sight tightened her throat, and only this prevented her impulse to - page 23

James is unconventional and Lydia can't help but be fascinated by him. Like a train wreck, she can't seem to look away. And they go on to have another encounter of the bizarre at the home of James' father. Lydia is there for a dinner party when James makes his entrance. Their banter shows off their intelligence and wit. With James teasing and leading Lydia to where he thinks her wants her to go. But Lydia is smart and not one to easily be lead around.

Lydia and James are brought together because of their mutual interest in antiquities, specifically from Egypt. Lydia handles the items her father ships back to England but now the legitimacy of those items has come into question. Lydia is determine her father is innocent of any wrong. James is just as determined to find out what exactly is going on with the forgeries. Their relationship most of the time is at odds with their goals. They begin with a keen dislike of each other based on those goals. They then move to attraction, of course, then a shared goal. Duran plays out the suspense of the story well, giving the reader enough back story to fill in the various characters and their roles.

I did like how James came to appreciate Lydia's intellect. He didn't continue to assume he was the more intelligent one simply because he was the man but came to value her as a person. He still maintained his alpha-ness and tried to protect her but Lydia was a force to be reckoned with. And Lydia learned to look beyond James' playboy facade' to the real man behind the mask. What she found was a man that loved his sister, cared about his friends and society as a whole. He simply didn't know what to do with those emotions. In this way Lydia helped him work out and face his feelings regarding his sister and his father.

Any problems I had with the book were minor. There were times when I felt the narration was a bit too heavy and could have been broken up with more dialogue. Overall I thought that Duran did a good job developing not only the characters but the plot, flavoring it with the costumes and and the workings of the society of that period. The secondary character of Phin caught my interest and fortunately his book, Written on Your Skin, is next in the line up.

Rating: A-


  1. Okay Leslie... so Sophie is a bitch and James is under the influence... most of the time? Some of time? LOL! I haven't read Duran. *g* Is the suspense a big part of the story? Glad you enjoyed it. :)

  2. Hils ~ LOL I wanted to smack Sophie. She had her warped logic for the things she did but still... bitch.

    The suspense is a big part of the story but Lydia and James are at the heart of it. So their story isn't overshadowed by it.

  3. Hmmm, I didn't like this one much. Yeah, Sophie was a bitch, but Lydia was... not uptight, but too full of herself (might not be the best description). It annoyed me that she assumed stuff, always thought the worst. I understand that she's loyal to her father, but still. Blind loyalty is useless. Nobody deserves to be played for a fool, but seriously, Sophie wasn't "evil/malicious" either. Why would sisters go against each other?

    Anyway, didn't feel the buzz on this one.

    By the way, do you want The Duke of Shadows? I have it, but I'm pretty sure I won't read it. Also, Hils, if you want Bound by Your Touch, just let me know :P

  4. nath ~ If you're talking about Lydia assuming the worst of James, I think she was basing it on the image he presented to society. Sophie did go against Lydia, she went behind her back regarding George.

    Thanks for the offer but I have Duke of Shadows around here somewhere. :)

  5. Oh, I know that Sophie went against Lydia and okay, Sophie is not all kindness and good personality. However, she's not totally evil. I meant to say, there's a reason Sophie went against Lydia and it probably has to do with Lydia's personality. I'm just saying, I don't think Sophie is the only one who is in the wrong... or perhaps I'm just reading into it too much.

  6. I think Sophie was jealous of Lydia's relationship with their father. I don't think she was evil, just not a lot of sisterly love going on there.

  7. Better late than never indeed. :)

    I adored this book and loved Sanburne.

  8. I loved this book, too... but still not as much as I loved The Duke of Shadows. That one's still my favorite Duran novel -- I love the angst and passion.

    I'm looking forward to Duran's upcoming release!

  9. Tracy ~ There were times when I just wanted to give Sandburne a hug. :)

    Christine ~ I still need to read Duke of Shadows. I'll read it when I'm in the mood for lots of angst. :D