Ravished- Amanda Quick
Release Date: June 1, 1992 Reissued: December 23, 2009
Rating (Our of 5):
Synopsis:From the cozy confines of a tiny seaside village to the glittering crush of the a fashionable London soiree comes an enthralling tale of a thoroughly mismatched couple . . . poised to discover the rapture of love.
There was no doubt about it. What Miss Harriet Pomeroy needed was a man. Someone powerful and clever who could help her rout the unscrupulous thieves who were using her beloved caves to hide their loot. But when Harriet summoned Gideon Westbrook, Viscount St. Justin, to her aid, she could not know that she was summoning the devil himself. . . .
Dubbed the Beast of Blackthorne Hall for his scarred face and lecherous past, Gideon was strong and fierce and notoriously menacing. Yet Harriet could not find it in her heart to fear him. For in his tawny gaze she sensed a savage pain she longed to soothe . . . and a searing passion she yearned to answer. Now, caught up in the Beast’s clutches, Harriet must find a way to win his heart–and evade the deadly trap of a scheming villain who would see them parted for all time.
One of Quick's older books, Ravished was reissued a few years ago and is still very much worth the read- despite the rather dramatic synopsis it's been given. It's the story of Harrier Pomeroy, an avid fossil collector who discovers that the caves she's been fossil hunting in are being used to store stolen goods. Deciding it's the landholder's job to clear up the problem she summons Gideon Westbrook, Viscount St. Justin, to deal with it. Gideon hasn't been back to his lands in Upper Biddleton in six years- not since his fiancé killed herself and he was blamed for it. Harriet, new to the area, hasn't heard the story and after meeting Gideon, doesn't believe it. Gideon is as surprised in her trust as he is that she isn't trying to trick him for money or his title. But discovering that Harriet is exactly who she says she is doesn't help when the two of them are trapped in a compromising position and marriage is the only way out. Now the question is- can they get to the alter before the thieves (and Gideon's own enemies) kill them?
Ravished contains the classic wry humor of all Amanda Quick's books. Gideon especially, a man who no-one would expect to have a sense of humor, often gets some of the best lines- like the first time he sees Harriet's workroom with fossilized bones everywhere and thinks of it as "the cheerful little ante-room of hell". He is a man who is beyond jaded. Everyone, including his own parents, believe he raped and then abandoned his fiancé six years ago and since no one was interested in listening to his side of things, he stopped explaining. Over time he stopped explaining anything and helped others to believe the absolute worst of him. He cut himself off from family, Society, and as much of life as he could get away with and still manage his estates. Harriet comes as a complete surprise to him: she isn't overawed by his rank, appalled by his facial scars, or afraid of his reputation. She sees a man with a sense of honor, who can be trusted to do the right thing by people and his lands, and Gideon finds himself trying not to disappoint her.
Harriet is a wonderful, strong, and intelligent woman who is sure of herself and not afraid to assert her independence. While at first she and Gideon seem like polar opposites, the more we get to know them the easier it is to see that they are perfect for each other. They almost instantly respect each other and (usually) treat each other as equals. The only real times that changes are when they are trying to protect each other- whether from thieves and smugglers or Society's harsh criticism.
At its center, Ravished is a story about how sometimes finding out that another person believes the best in us allows us to see it in ourselves. But it's also a story of how everyone, no matter how independent, needs other people. And that other people- friends, and family, not just lovers, can make us stronger, and happier, than by standing alone.