Lover Be Mine by Nicole Jordan

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Blurb:

As the wickedly seductive Wilde cousins seek true love by taking a page from history’s legendary love stories, Lord Jack Wilde plays a determined Romeo courting an enchanting Juliet

The last thing Sophie Fortin expects at a masquerade ball is a dazzling kiss from a pirate. Her desire quickly falters when she learns that her masked gentleman is devilishly scandalous Lord Jack, a member of the captivating Wilde clan — and a man she’s forbidden to acknowledge. But when Jack begins a breathtaking seduction, Sophie can barely resist.

Jack never imagined that the daughter of his family’s mortal enemy would awaken such fierce passion within him—until one unforgettable kiss changes his mind forever. Soon, Jack is hell-bent on winning Sophie’s hand, going so far as to abduct her to save her from marrying a rival nobleman. Determined to woo Sophie and her unyielding parents, Jack is faced with the one decision he’d sworn never to make. The secret heir to a prince, Jack has spurned his royal heritage for years . . . but for Sophie he’ll risk all to turn a legacy of heartbreak into love ever after

Publisher and Release Date: Ballantine Books, 2013
RHL Classifications:

Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre:  Historical Romance
Heat Level:  2
Reviewer Rating:  4 stars

Review by Susan

Lover Be Mine, the second book in Nicole Jordan’s Legendary Lovers series is based on the saga of Romeo and Juliet, incorporating family drama, masquerades, and a fairytale romance that breaks with the tradition of marrying for convenience.  Lord Jack Wilde has a reputation as a rogue, indulging his lustful needs and evading commitment to one woman.   Lady Sophie, however, is a dutiful daughter to her parents who had lost their barony several generations ago at the hands of the Wilde family.  The families are set up to mirror the Montagues and Capulets from Shakespeare’s tragic romance.  Like Romeo and Juliet, it is up to Jack and Sophie to break from tradition, admit their love and marry based on their affection for one another.

Ms. Jordan sets up the story in the opening pages.  Sophie’s parents have arranged for the wealthy Duke of Dunmore, who is twice her age, to marry her and guarantee her parents’ financial security.  Jack’s cousins have persuaded him to sneak into the masquerade ball hosted by Sophie’s aunt in order to catch a glimpse of Sophie.  The scene clearly mirrors the masquerade ball in Shakespeare’s play when Romeo catches a glimpse of Juliet and admits to himself that she is the most captivating women he has ever set his eyes on and that he will not accept a substitute.  Though Jack does not climb a balcony to speak to Sophie in her bedchamber, he does fight her parents for her with his innate Wilde charm and persuasive arguments.

The action is well written and the dialogue reels the reader into the plot, but the family’s animosity feels contrived and the struggles to keep Sophie and Jack apart seem artificial.  The story takes a sharp turn when the reader learns that Jack is the illegitimate son of a European prince, and had been adopted by his aunt and uncle after his mother, a Wilde, died.  There is a variety of characters in the cast, and the main characters’ emotions affect the reader strongly.  Sophie is a steely lady who will sacrifice her happiness to ensure her parents’ happiness. Jack is a sweet rogue, protective of family and friends, devoted to the people his loves, and he shares his vulnerabilities with Sophie openly.  Their passion for one another builds up into sensual love scenes and tender moments that throw caution to the wind as Jack claims his royal heritage to please his bride’s family.

Lover Be Mine is a familiar romance given a new spin as the story begins with Jack fighting for Sophie but by the ending, Sophie is fighting for Jack without rebuffing her parents’ wishes.  The book follows the first installment in the series, Princess Charming based on the story of Cinderella.  The Queen of Courtship, Nicole Jordan is an effective storyteller drawing readers into her characters’ plight and having us cheering for their happiness.

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