Duncan’s Bride by Linda Howard

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OK, this is a modern romance written by Linda Howard. Typical of her male characters, Reese is a physically handsome (at least I imagined so), emotionally hard,bitter and cynical person. He’s been betrayed by his ex-wife April, who managed to get hold of half (if I’m not wrong) of his ranch when she divorced him, and he’s been struggling to rebuild his ranch to its glorious standards since. After eight years, he’s still struggling and refusing to let an investor invest in his ranch, because he wants total control. He advertised for a bride, and city girl Maddie answered the advertisement. Maddie is ‘casually stylish’, has long legs, and is the total opposite of Reese’s ex-wife, who cheated on him and loved the glamorous city life instead of life on a ranch.

I like Maddie. She’s a strong woman who throughout the book, had the courage and determination to help Reese on the ranch, even risking her life in doing so, and also stood up to Reese when he stubbornly believed she was another April trying to take away his Ranch when she paid off his debts behind his back using her own money. Although being a rich city girl, she didn’t mind hard physical work. Although practically I wondered, how many girls actually worked really hard on a ranch, still managed to eat ‘small bites of food’, and still had long legs instead of looking beefy from the muscles, and still managed to look ‘casually cool’. Does such a person truly exist? (Sigh..I’m day-dreaming again)…

I also love Reese. Despite being a stubborn mule, he has tender moments…

There was a thick knot in his throat; he had to swallow before he could speak again.’ Do you…do you mind if I check up on you everyday or so? Just to make sure you’re feeling okay. And I’d like to go with you when you have a doctor’s appointment, if you don’t mind.’

For such an arrogant and self-possessed person, this is such an uncertain and endearing side of him.

At the end of the story, we learnt of April’s death and she willed everything she’s taken from Reese back to him. It showed Reese another side to her; all he’s ever thought in his bitterness was she cheated on him, hated life on the ranch and was such a shallow and greedy woman she tried to destroy him by taking his ranch away. But in the end, he learnt all the bitterness he had for her through the years which destroyed his relationships with other people, and especially causing his troubles with Maddie was for naught. April was only jealous of Reese’ devotion and love for his ranch, and she grew bitter of it— she’s rather he had a mistress as she could never compete with a piece of land he loves. Thus to punish him she tried to take his ranch away from him, but this marriage and ultimate divorce from Reese actually caused her life to be so empty, and she eventually drank herself to death. Would definitely re-read this book again (and had done so:P )

Rating: 4/5

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