Saturday, November 29, 2014

Joan Johnston -- Captive

Joan Johnston -- Captive

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {4.15}
Action: ♠♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥♥.♥ / Sensuous: ♦♦ / Suspense: ♠♠
Action: 2.0 / Emotion: 3.0 / Romance: 4.5 / Sensuous: 2.0 / Suspense: 2.0  //  Historical Flavor: 4.0 // Laughter: 1 / Giggle: 1 // Tears: 1 / Teary: 0

Setting:       London, England / Sussex, England
Era:             1814
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Since Joan Johnston is a favorite author it comes as no surprise that upon reading Captive, the first book in The Captive Hearts Quartet, for the third time, it was to find it an enjoyable, entertaining, simplistic read.   Johnson is quite talented at telling a story that grabs the reader's immediate interest and keeps it throughout the story.

When the book opened with a prologue that introduced our hero, Lionel "Lion" Morgan, the Earl of Denbigh, being left at the altar in front of the entire ton, any romantic reader will feel great compassion for him.   A bit of mystery is inserted into the story when Lion, who was so in love with Lady Alice Porter, his runaway fiancé, that he followed after her and then read the unburned portion of the note Alice threw into the fireplace in her room at the Duck and Goose inn before swallowing enough laudanum to take her life.   Naturally, it becomes imperative to keep reading to find out what kind of heroine will inveigle her way into the heart of such a wounded man.
He turned on his booted heel and left the room, his tears dried in streaks upon his cheeks, his heart no longer a thing of flesh and blood, but cast forever in stone.   (Lion, page 14)
If there is one thing negative about Captive, it is the heroine that was created to melt Lion's heart of stone.   Lion's ward, Charlotte "Charlie" Edgerton, who arrived at Denbigh Castle, Lion's country home in Sussex, four months ago, was introduced to reveal her as a rip-roaring, 'I'll do things my own way, no matter what anybody else thinks,' uncultured American.   But the most irritating thing about Charlie was that she was only seventeen years old.   Yes, it is a common practice that seventeen year old young ladies were introduced into the marriage market back in 1814.   But come on, we all know that most seventeen year olds act immature.   And Charlie was not an exception to the rule.   Since this story is make-believe, what could it have hurt to have aged the heroine a couple of years, so the modern reader would not cringe upon reading that the heroine was so young.

Sure, there were many qualities about Charlie that made her a wonderful heroine, but that immaturity kept cropping up and destroying her positive image.   The most wonderful thing about Charlie was her ability to treat everyone as not only her friend, but as her equal.   Naturally, Charlie's unwillingness to bow to the dictates of a class-conscious guardian made for several entertaining incidents.
"I say there, Charlie --"
Denbigh glanced up to see one of his footman starting toward the girl.   He was appalled to hear the chit addressed by that impossible nickname -- and by one of his servants!
The footman, Galbraith, recognized his mistake immediately and said, "Begging your pardon, milord, but Char -- lady Charlotte is --" he cut himself off again and shifted from foot to foot.
"What Timothy is trying to say is that we're friends, and he's worried about me," the chit said.   (page 26-27)
The greatest portion of Lion and Charlie's story was taken up with their efforts to remake one another, while at the same time clinging to their own uniquenesses.
"But before you leave this house again, you will dress and act and talk like a lady."   (Lion, page 30)

She would dress and act and talk just as she always had and be damned to him!   (Charlotte, page 33)

The Earl of Denbigh finally met his match.   It was time he learned to treat his family better.   His servants, too, for that matter.   And he could use a little instruction in the proper care and consideration of a ward.   Oh, yes, Charlotte Edgerton had a few lessons to teach the arrogant earl.   (Charlotte, page 37)

He was the one in control.   He gave the orders in this house.   It was her duty to obey them.   (Lion, page 43)

"You can be a kind man," she pointed out to him.   "If you would only try a little harder."   (Charlotte, page 61)
Even though Lion was arrogant, autocratic, and set in his ways, it was easier to identify with him rather than with Charlotte simply because he was painted with the typical handsome, über-masculine Regency-era lord brush.
Charlotte had discounted all the stories she had heard about the earl since she had arrived at Denbigh Castle.   How he had killed a man simply because he didn't like the way he tied his neck cloth.   That he was so dangerous with his fists that no one would go into the ring with him at Gentleman Jackson's salon.   That his fencing bouts at Angelo's had resulted in serious injury to at least three young bucks of the ton who had wanted to try their hand at besting him.   And that he was an unbeatable whip, risked life and limb to race his cattle, and always won.   (Charlotte, page 36)

His eyes were startling to behold, such a light, silvery gray they had made her breath catch in her throat the first time he looked at her.   He had an aristocratic nose and angular cheekbones.   His mouth was wide and generous, though he kept it pressed flat most of the time in a grim line.   Even more impressive was the man himself.   His tightly fitted jacket emphasized his broad shoulders, while his flat stomach and strong thighs were shown to advantage in skintight buckskins.   Oh, he was attractive, all right.   (Charlotte, page 36-37)
Since this is Lion's and Charlotte's fairy tale, it should come as no surprise that they were attracted to one another in spite of their differences.   Johnston is quite skilled at keeping the sensuality and awareness between Lion and Charlotte always at the forefront of their story, even while they are at loggerheads.
He did not have the same values as she did, or embrace the same ideals.   She would be better off choosing a husband of her own.   (Charlotte, page 77)

"You make a man want to keep you safe from the evils of the world, to kiss you and touch you and hold you close."   (Lion, page 91)

Unless he wanted to end up buckled to her for the rest of his life, he had better find her another husband.   (Lion, page 149)

"I no longer care whether you believe in Lady Alice's fidelity or not.   You may wallow in self-pity and bitterness for the rest of your life, if you want to.   I'm not going to waste any more of my time trying to heal your heart.   Because I know now it would make no difference.   You will never be able to accept me for who I am."   (Charlotte, page 291)

It was easier to criticize Charlotte than it was to take the blame for something stupid he had done.   (Lion, page 294)

She had ended his desolation, filled up his barren days, challenged him to reach out and grab for life, rather that let it pass him by.   (Lion, page 295)
But to be honest, the more interesting love story in the book was the one that took the back seat.   While it was easy to get tired of Charlie's dramatics, she was instrumental in helping Lady Olivia "Livy" Morgan, Lion's spinster sister to find hope again.   Olivia was painted with a brush that was coated with unattractiveness.
Lion stared down at the pixielike urchin standing across from him who had convinced his sister -- who had taken such a terrible spill during a hunt eight years ago that it had left her with an awkward limp -- to get back on a horse.   (Lion, page 34)  

Lady Olivia, the earl's sister, was eight years her elder, already five and twenty.   But she was as timid as a mouse -- and looked a great deal like one, too, with her plain brown hair and large hazel eyes.   (Charlotte, page 34)
It was Olivia's heartbreak and her efforts to find her happily-ever-after that made this book that much more readable.   Lion was adamantly opposed to the attention that Reeve Somers, the Duke of Braddock showed Olivia.   Not because Reeve was another rich, handsome, charming, rakehell, but because Reeve was out to destroy Lion for killing his twenty-one year old brother, James Somers, in a duel.   This story would have been so much more interesting if Johnston had only let us have a bit more Reeve and Olivia time.

You could just imagine Olivia's heart singing when she ended up dancing the waltz with one of the most handsome men of the ton when Charlie sent Braddock to ask Oliva to dance when Lion refused to let Braddock dance with Charlotte.
"I assure you, my lady, from the indecently close way I am holding you, we are already setting tongues to wagging.   And I must say, I am not suffering at all from the experience.   Beneath that dreadfully unstylish frock you are wearing, I believe I am holding quite a handful of woman."   (Braddock, page 93)
Olivia's story was particularly heart-rending as she revealed why she was willing to ignore all of Lion's demands and valid reasons for staying far away from Braddock.   Charlie, on the other hand, told Olivia to pursue her dreams.
He put his hands on her shoulders.   They felt more oppressive than comforting.   She knew he loved her.   She knew he only wanted the best for her.   But he had not lived the isolated life she had.   He had not had his dreams dashed by a riding accident at the age when other girls were enjoying their first season in London.   He had not wished and hoped and yearned for the impossible.
How could she turn away from Braddock?   How could she give up even a frail hope of becoming a wife and mother?
"I'm willing to take the risk, Lion.   I'm willing to give Braddock a chance."   (Oliva, page 134)

But all the pent up emotions she had stuffed down inside her for so many years cascaded over her like the rush of water over a broken dam.   She moaned as she opened her mouth to him, a grating, carnal sound so foreign to her ears that she would have been mortified if she had been capable of rational thought at all.   (Olivia, page 165)

If he touched her, she would give herself to him.   She was that weak.   She was that needy.   (Olivia, page 238)

Please understand, Lion.   I love him.   I had no choice about whom I loved.   Any more than you did.   He is the other half of me.   (Olivia, page 273)
The only confusing part of Reeve and Olivia's story was why Reeve fell for Olivia.   Because her character was developed to emphasize her unattractiveness, her limp and her shyness, it was difficult to understand what motivated the very powerful Duke of Braddock to fall for such a poorly dressed, shy miss, who would barely even look at him.
For the length of a heartbeat, he thought Lady Olivia was actually going to raise her eyes and look at him.   He quickly wiped the calculating look from his face.   Her lids rose slightly, then lowered again, along with her chin, and he was saved from her scrutiny.
. . .
His intentions toward her were not, in fact, honorable.   But he was a duke, and she was an ape-leader with no realistic hope of finding a husband.   She could not really be refusing him!   (Braddock, page 130)
By fall he did.
He had not counted on her loving him.   Or on falling a little in love with her.   (Reeve, page 336)
Johnston did a great job of adding sensuality, passion and heat to the seduction scenes between Lion and Charlotte.   However, it was thanks to the romance that developed between Reeve and Olivia that the reader was entertained with the sizzle and spice in a well-written lovemaking scene.

In most of Johnston's books, she introduces very interesting and well-developed secondary characters that really aid in the telling of the story.   In Captive, however, the additional secondary characters that added to the book (beside Reeve and Olivia, of course) played marginal roles in the telling of Lion's and Charlotte's story.

At first, it seemed that Lion's best friend and Alice's brother, Percival "Percy" Porter, Viscount Burton, was going to play a large role in the book, but Percy showed up rarely in the story and his only call to fame seemed to be his abominable sense of fashion.

Lion's grandfather and grandmother showed up at Denbigh Castle to add a little flavor and history to the story.   Arthur and Lizzie Morgan, the Duke and Duchess of Trent had always embarrassed Lion because they did not act remote and haughty like peers of the realm, but instead were open and friendly and forever breaking the rules -- much like Charlotte.   In fact the Duchess of Trent had a heart to heart talk with Charlotte telling her to give her love for Lion a chance because she knew what is was to lose one's soul mate to stubbornness.

Basically, Captive, the first book in The Captive Heart Quartet, by Joan Johnston is another entertaining, enjoyable book.   Johnston gave readers two heros and heroines as she wove two wonderful tales into one book.   The aspects of the book that make it a worthy read include: {1} the main hero, Lionel "Lion" Morgan, Earl of Denbigh, a typical rake from the Regency-era, who had his heart broken; {2} the main heroine, Charlotte "Charlie" Edgerton, a young, opinionated, daring, attractive American who became Lion's ward and the woman who would soften his heart; {3} the secondary hero, Reeve Somers, the sixth Duke of Braddock, a rich, bold, driven aristocrat who was seeking retribution; {4} the secondary heroine, Lady Olivia "Livy" Morgan, an unattractive spinster who had buried her dreams of having a husband and children when she suffered a riding injury eight long years ago; {5} some action sequences to add entertainment value to the tale; {6} an emotional connection developed between the characters and the reader to bring forth a few laughs and a few tears; {7} a strong undercurrent of romance permeated the entire book; {8} a slight aura of suspense invaded the story: {a} why did Alice kill herself, and {b} was Reeve going to use Olivia to force Lion into a duel; {9} sensuality, sizzle, spice, passion and emotion were prevalent in the seduction and lovemaking scenes; {10} the descriptions of the clothing, actions, and attitudes of the characters added a strong historical flavor to the book; and {11} the addition of several minor, but interesting secondary characters added more depth to the story.   Any fan of Regency romance books should enjoy this quick, easy read.
--Vonda M. Reid (Saturday, October 25, 2014 : 11:57 p.m.)     [345]

Books In The Series: "The Captive Heart Quartet"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.05-1996CaptiveLionel "Lion" Morgan, Earl of DenbighMiss Charlotte "Charlie" Edgerton
  secondary:Reeve Somers, sixth Duke of BraddockLady Olivia "Livy" Morgan
02.02-1997After The KissCaptain Lord Marcus Wharton, "The Beau"Elizabeth "Eliza" Sheringham
03.03-1998The BodyguardAlastair "Alex" Wharton, sixth Duke of Blackthorne Katherine "Kitt" MacKinnon
04.02-1999The BridegroomClay Giles Bannister, Earl of CarlisleLady Regina "Reggie" Allison Wharton
  secondary:Michael "Mick" O'Malley / Michael Delaford, Earl of StalbridgeRebecca "Becky" Wharton Hastings, Lady Penrith

Characters Found In "Captive"
Character Description
Lionel "Lion" Morgan, Earl of Denbigh, Viscount Leighton[Hero] private man (3) stormy gray eyes (5) silvery eyes (17) 29-y-o (21) dangerous with fists; unbeatable whip; startling light silver gray eyes (36) aristocratic nose; angular cheekbones; wide generous mouth; broad shoulders; flat stomach; strong thighs; attractive (37) dark curls cut in a Brutus (40) took on responsibilities for title at young age; great deal of freedom to do as he pleased (41) rich as Croesus; much in demand despite his rakish behavior (67) black hair; silvery gray eyes (83) wide-spaced eyes; black brows; aquiline nose; square jaw; mobile mouth that hardly ever smiled (89) become earl when 18 (95) too rigidly set in his ways; authoritarian (112) a confident Corinthian; a man of the world; a pink of the ton (143) followed the rules (148) high-handed; arrogant; arbitrary; overbearing; domineering (151)
Charlotte "Charlie" Edgerton[Heroine] Lion's new American ward; refused to be bound by convention; upsetting the neighbors by her outlandish behavior (15) 17-y-o (16) husky voice; wearing tight-fitting breeches (18) thin lawn shirt; rode astride; small nose freckled; golden hair; feminine, heart-shaped face; green cat's eyes; open, honest curiosity; square chin (19) arrived at Denbigh Castle 4-mo-a; pixielike urchin (20) delightfully frank; guileless, enchanting smile (21) moved with strength and grace (22) had a temper and wasn't afraid to display it (24) didn't recognize classes (27) unrepentant; undeterred (30) charming; disarming; disturbing; delightful (32) small; surprisingly sturdy (47) lively girl; doesn't think before she acts (54) no badness in her; 'has a huge heart, and it is open to everyone' (55) beautiful (88) freckles; smiles more than usual miss; eyes are striking green color that are never downcast; chin is continually outthrust as though she is out to fight the world (107) wonderfully vivid imagination (196) waist-length hair cut short (198) unpredictable; unmanageable (217)
. . .. . .
Reeve Somers, Duke of Braddock[Secondary Hero] blonde Adonis; lines webbed his piercing blue eyes and creased his sharp-bone cheeks; broad shoulders; lean hips; altogether and admirable male specimen (79) 37/38-y-o (80) infamous rake (82) Lion's mortal enemy (83) handsome; striking contrast with blond hair and blue eyes (83) sworn to ruin Lion; a confirmed bachelor (87) one of the richest men in the kingdom (109) sixth Duke of Braddock; Earl of Comarty, Viscount Greenwich, Baron Hardy and several other lessor titles (123)
Lady Olivia "Livy" Morgan[Secondary Heroine] Lion's sister (15) a terrible spill during a hunt 8-y-a left her with an awkward limp (20) 25-y-o; timid as a mouse; plain brown hair; large hazel eyes (34) broken leg had not healed properly, and one leg was slightly longer than the other (53) kind; thoughtful (65) played the piano (68) not pretty; shy; retiring; will not speak at all if you do not prompt her (109) plain; ordinary; forthright (114) brown hair took on red highlights; hazel eyes looked warm and rich as sherry; against the peach fabric her skin looked vibrantly alive (116)
. . .. . .
Bailey[One Appearance] Braddock's driver (275)
Lord Bottomly[One Appearance] nearly bumped into Lion and Charlotte on dance floor (85)
Viscount Canby[One Appearance] one of Charlotte's possible suitors; said to be in trade; made and lost a dozen fortunes (218)
Clementine[One Appearance] maid of all work (316)
Earl of Devon[One Appearance] one of Charlotte's possible suitors; had 4 children by his mistress of 10 years; Charlotte wouldn't tolerate that (218)
Lord Montgomery "Monty" Edgerton[No Appearance] Charlotte's father; moved to New Orleans (22)
Lord Fairchild[One Appearance] danced with Charlotte at Almack's (84)
Sir Fenton[One Appearance] one of Charlotte's possible suitors; rake of forty; too old for Charlotte (218)
Lady Claudia Frockman[One Appearance] Lion's mistress for the past 4 months; widow (17)
Timothy Galbraith[Rare Appearances] Denbigh Castle footman; Charlotte's friend; young; handsome (26)
Grimes[One Appearance] Somersville Manor butler; bushy eyebrows (351)
Lord Harrellson[One Appearance] one of Charlotte's possible suitors; tended to corpulence; probably wouldn't live to old age (218)
Henry[One Appearance] Lion's coachman (24)
Lady Hornby[One Appearance] notorious gossip; witness to Lion being left at the altar (3)
Jeremy[No Appearance] Denbigh Castle hostler; took Lion's favorite hunter into the village to get loose shoe replaced (43)
Jerrold[One Appearance] one of the gentlemen fawning over Charlotte (172)
Mrs. Killington[No Appearance] the squire's wife; Lion's neighbor; wrote him letters begging him to take charge of his new ward (15)
Mephistopheles[Animal] Charlie's gorgeous black stallion; doesn't like to lose (18)
Arthur [Morgan], Duke of Trent[Brief Appearances] Lion's grandfather; ill for years; housebound on estate in Kent (41) leaving heavily on gnarled hickory cane; foot swathed in an immense bandage; gout; few gray hairs atop his head (144) chilblained hands (145) did not act remote and haughty like a duke, instead open and friendly; forever breaking the rules (148)
Lizzie [Morgan], Duchess of Trent[Secondary Character] Lion's grandmother (41) very tall; called Long Meg in her youth; pure white hair in a braid across top of her head that looked like a crown; moved with regal grace (144) almost married Charlotte's father (147) did not act remote and haughty like a duchess, instead open and friendly; forever breaking the rules (148) same silvery eyes as Lion, faded with age (264) bluestocking (309) strong headed chit; determined to do things her own way (311)
Marchioness of Peterborough[One Appearance] Percival and Alice's mother (3)
Marquis of Peterborough[One Appearance] Percival and Alice's father (2)
Lady Alice Porter[One Appearance] Lion's bride (1) guinea-gold curls stacked high atop her head; petite stature; dewy blue eyes (7) long black lashes (8)
Percival "Percy" Porter, Viscount Burton[Occasional Appearances] Lion's best friend; Alice's elder brother (1) blond hair (4) substantial girth; execrable sense of fashion; deplored exercise; had been nowhere near the top of his class at Eton or Oxford; no vices; a staunch and steadfast friend (102) always in a cheerful mood; did not seem to care that his clothing choices were unfortunate (267)
Mr. Rowland[One Appearance] the doctor that attended Lion (55)
Rufus[No Appearance] footman in Braddock's household; walking out with Sally (316)
Sally[Occasional Appearances] Alice's maid; brown eyes (8) lady's maid that Charlotte hired when she was begging scraps at the back door; in the family way (149)
Samuels[Brief Appearances] Denbigh Castle butler (25)
Lord James Somers[No Appearance] Duke of Braddock's younger brother; Lion killed him in a duel a year ago (83) 21-y-o when died in duel (124)
Harvey StilesDuke of Trent's elderly butler; Charlotte procured him a better set of false teeth (157)
Theobald[Brief Appearances] Lion's valet; prided himself on keeping his master looking top-of-the-trees (49) dressing Lion since he was a boy; at times still treated him like a boy (51)
Mrs. Tinsworthy[Rare Appearances] Denbigh Castle housekeeper (25)
Lord Webster[One Appearance] one of Charlotte's possible suitors; large man; broader shoulders than Lion; taller than Lion; without an ounce of fat on him; not given to excesses; lived most of the year on his country estate (218) lost 2 wives to childbirth (219)
Mrs. Wilson[One Appearance] Somersville Manor housekeeper (352)

Locations, Organizations Found In "Captive"
Location / Organization Description
Angelo'swhere Lion had injured 3 young bucks during fencing matches (36)
Boar and Houndtavern; sat at the crossroads of the New Road leading out of London; where Lion asked Percy to meet him (6)
Brightonwhere the Marquis of Peterborough had a summer home (4) in Sussex (5)
Covent Gardenwhere Olivia, Braddock, Lion, Charlotte went to attend the theater (151)
Denbigh CastleLion's country home (16) description (17) in Sussex (23)
Duck and Goosesmall inn at a crossroad running east and west; where Alice took lodging when her carriage broke a wheel (7)
Gentleman Jackson'sno one wanted to enter the ring with Lion (36)
Kentwhere Duke of Trent lived (41)
Peterborough Manorsummer home of the Marquis of Peterborough; in Sussex near Brighton (5)
St. George'sin London; where Lion was waiting for his bride to show (1)
Slaughtered Sheepinn in Kent near Somersville; where Lion would be staying (302)
Somersvillein Kent, where Braddock was born and raised (302)

"Captive" Quotations
54"Because you have the right does not mean it is right" (Olivia)
165all the pent up emotions she had stuffed down inside her for so many years cascaded over her like the rush of water over a broken dam.   (Olivia)
193"We bird-witted females seldom have a useful thought in our heads."   (Charlotte)
196her heart had settled on someone incapable of loving her in return.   (Charlotte)
196Denbigh was so far from perfect, he had a long way to go.   (Charlotte)
240"All I want from you is you."   (Braddock)
249"It is the way of the world.   There are those who give orders and those who take them."   (Stiles)
256"your heart is not whole.   When it is . . . if it ever is . . . I would like to have it."   (Charlotte)
312"I have been content, my dear.   I have been happy.   But there is an empty place inside me that was never filled."   (Lizzie)
313Lion was the other half of her.   But she could not give up the essence of herself, even to be with him.   If he made her into someone else, the two halves that should have fit together, his and hers, no longer would.   (Charlotte)
339"Revenge is an empty, hollow thing, Reeve.   I won't aid you in seeking it.   You can have me or vengeance.   You cannot have both."   (Olivia)

"Joan Johnston -- Captive" Review and Information Links
Rated Posted Site Notes, Comments, Etc.
----Joan Johnston's WebsiteAuthor
----Joan Johnston's FacebookAuthor
. . . . . . . . .. . .
B / Warm05-01-1996All About Romance"The author's talent brings everything to vivid life."
4.06 average{16 reviews}Amazonas of: November 29, 2014
4.20 average{5 ratings}Barnes & Nobleas of: November 29, 2014
----Fantastic FictionList of Joan Johnston's Books
----Fict FactList of Books In The "Captive Hearts" Quartet
----Fiction DBList of Joan Johnston's Books
3.77 average{275 ratings}Good Readsas of: November 29, 2014
3.54 average{14 ratings}Library Thingas of: November 29, 2014
----Order of BooksList of Joan Johnston's Books
3.70 average{91 ratings}Paperback Swapas of: November 29, 2014
4.50 average{4 ratings}Shelfarias of: November 29, 2014
4.1511-29-2014Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Fiction DB, Good Reads, Library Thing, Shelfari

♥   Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥   Very Subjective Rating

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