Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shackles of Honor by Marcia Lynn McClure

Cassidy Shea’s life was nothing if not serene. Loving parents and a doting brother provided happiness and innocent hope in dreaming as life’s experience. Yes, life was blissful at her beloved home of Terrill. Still, for all its beauty and tranquility…ever there was something intangible and evasive lurking in the shadows. And though Cassidy wasted little worry on it…still she sensed its existence, looming as a menacing fate bent on ruin. And when one day a dark stranger appeared, Cassidy could no longer ignore the ominous whispers of the secrets surrounding her. Mason Carlisle, an angry, unpredictable man materialized…and seemingly with Cassidy's black fate at his heels. Instantly Cassidy found herself thrust into a world completely unknown to her, wandering in a labyrinth of mystery and concealments. Serenity was vanquished…and with it, her dreams. Or were all the secrets so guardedly kept from Cassidy...were they indeed the cloth, the very flax from which her dreams were spun? From which eternal bliss would be woven?</
This was my third time reading this book. I was in the mood for a little romance and McClure books are filled with romance. I like the setting for this, it has a regency feel to it and I’m always a sucker for an arranged marriage storyline. She is surprised one day to find her parents have arranged a marriage for her to a complete stranger. Mason comes across very gruff when they first meet and Cassidy immediately feels like he doesn’t want her. It takes her the whole book to realize differently. Mason is also full of insecurities and feels that Cassidy resents him taking away her freedom. The story moves along well and if you turn off your brain while reading it is a pleasant read. Mason and Cassidy have good chemistry and they have some fun moments together, some scenes are worth rereading. As much as I enjoy the story, there were a few things that bugged me. I didn’t like how Mason handled the situation with Gabrielle (his childhood sweetheart). He knows how insecure Cassidy is and still does nothing to prove his loyalty. He expects her to trust him, but I think actions speak louder than words. He can say he will never cheat, but if he then turns around and spends time with Gabrielle and continues to allow Gabrielle to flirt with him then I have a hard time believing him. I don’t blame Cassidy for feeling insecure and I think Mason did a poor job of reassuring her. I think the majority of their problems came from Mason not being clear about his feelings for Gabrielle and for not separating himself from her, at least until Cassidy was more secure in his feelings and her new position. As good as their chemistry was, their communication skills need some definite work. I was also confused about why they had to wait so long to marry. They had been betrothed to each other since she was a baby so it wasn’t like a big surprise. They both agreed to the marriage so I don’t get the delay. That was probably part of their problem as well. Overall, a fun read. I again loved the plot and there are some memorable scenes. Content: Clean. Some passionate kissing, but nothing more.

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