BLOG REVIEW: The Spaniard's Defiant Virgin by Jennie Lucas

23y.o. cosmetics heiress is known as England's "it" girl, 
seen in the arms of various famous men.
As of last month, her full life is cut short when she accepted the marriage proposal to the sheikh's unappealing nephew. Suspected of beating his first wife to death.
She's not sure how she feels about being abducted by 32y.o. venture-capitalist Hero on her way to her wedding.
She, however, doesn't back down.
And, when that doesn't work in getting him to let her go back to her fiance, she changes tactics.
Which works a little too well,
quickly firing up their attraction towards each other.
Finding her gone from his well-guarded castle the next day fills him with rage and disappointment for making him lower his guard for once.
Filling him with even more determination to keep her from marrying her fiance.
Going as far as proposing marriage to her,
a proposal that's more enticing than the sheikh's nephew's, since she's falling for Hero.
He, however, is intent on seeking revenge for his past.
How can heroine compete with his past? What is he willing to sacrifice?

This was a decent read. It had a marriage of convenience (MOC) due to revenge and danger theme. Hero and heroine had different motives for accepting a MOC. For Hero, it was avenging his past.

     ---------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details---------------

When Hero was age 12, he left his family without telling them in order to pay a visit to heroine's older half-brother. He planned on confronting her half-brother on stealing his father's anti-aging cream invention with the help of the sheikh's nephew.  The theft resulted in his father's losing his small company & their personal assets & going into a depression.  On their way to look for him, his parents and 10y.o. brother died in a car accident on a London highway. Hero blamed heroine's half-brother and the sheikh's nephew for their deaths. He vowed never to go back to London and to avenge his family's death. For 20 years, Hero shaped his life so he can destroy the men involved in his family's death. He'd been secretly ensnaring them in his trap the last few years so now they've become financially and socially vulnerable. And he's kidnapping heroine before her wedding to the sheikh's nephew was part of his ultimate revenge.

     --------------------------------------------------END SPOILERS--------------------------------------------------

He had controlled everything in his life for 20 years to set his revenge scheme in motion. Hero was a very determined man and successful in what he set his mind to. His vengeful determination was apparent throughout the book. It was something he held on to with desperation and was the big obstacle that held him back from fully going forward with heroine. He held on to his revenge because looking past it meant something much more painful. Blaming others meant not blaming himself. Yet he was doing it subconsciously. His beliefs about having his own kids and loving others showed his self-castigation. His rejection of heroine's love was out of his view of himself as unworthy because of his self-blame for the past. Hero's battle with himself gave the book some poignancy. 

For heroine, her sole reason for accepting an arranged marriage with the sheikh's nephew and later with Hero was her 10y.o. half-sister. She was worried about her half-sister's safety and well-being, after finding her in a state of hunger and neglect in the hands of her half-brother and his wife. She had no clue that her half-sister was being neglected and her trust fund being misused by her half-brother and his wife since she'd lived away from home for years for boarding school and college and entrusted their sister's care to them. In order for her to get custody of her half-sister, she had to agree to her half-brother's demand to marry the sheikh's nephew because it was the only way the sheikh will secure the business contract her half-brother needed to save their dwindling cosmetic company. Heroine's only desire was to keep her half-sister safe and secure. And this was part of the problem I had with the book. Why couldn't heroine take part custody of her sister? Even if that wasn't possible, why not request for her sister to live with her? Full-time or part-time. Or why not she hire a nanny/caregiver for her sister? If heroine had the money to live a glamorous lifestyle, surely she had enough money in her trust fund to pay for her sister's nanny.  And, if her trust fund wasn't enough or ran out, then get a job that will at least pay for her sister's nanny care. Heroine was portrayed as desperate in ensuring her sister's safety so why not find a job (or 2 or 3) to have the money to at least take care that her sister has the right caregiver. Or find a way to live with or near her sister so she can look out for her personally. I didn't get the sense that heroine had explored all her options for her sister's care. It seemed like a MOC with the sheikh's nephew or Hero was the only option she'd considered. As smart as she sometimes was portrayed to be (i.e., she later took charge of her family's cosmetic company), she didn't seem to think things through. Maybe she'll learn to do so from Hero.

I found heroine to be a little wishy-washy. She was strong and assertive at times. I liked that she wasn't easily cowed by Hero's dogged determination or the sheikh's or the sheikh's nephew's scary tactics. When Hero had rejected her, she didn't let him go. Not all the time anyway. She was on and off with her decisions. She was going to fight for her love for Hero at times. Then, at other times, she got weepy and acted helpless and hopeless, seemingly defeated by his vengeful attitude. She approached and retracted, pushed on and held back. She appeared to be unstable in her decision-making and seemed to go with her impulses. She wasn't really impulsive per se. She just seemed like it in the inconsistency of her actions, words, and decisions. I found her harder to engage with than Hero. Overall, she was likeable but just inconsistent.

Their romance was believable, although it developed quickly. As in a total span of about 2 weeks. I don't really know what the rush was for. Their feelings were at first based on a strong sexual attraction that mingled and was overcome by feelings of love and care for each other. Their romance hinged on Hero's final choice. Heroine fought for their relationship, even when Hero had already given up. She made him see what he was going to sacrifice and where he'd likely end up if he continued the way he was going. I liked that about her and it did help him wise up. The ending with her half-brother and his wife was a little too easy and didn't make a whole lot of sense, given their previous actions and characterization. I thought the heroine forgave too easily without giving the wrongdoers the responsibility they needed to take for their previous wrongdoing. Her half-sister's neglect and the financial misuse of her and her half-sister's trust funds were pushed aside too easily by heroine for the sake of harmony. It made heroine look like a pushover for her half-brother. So, she was confrontational with Hero but enabling with her half-brother. Hero made some hard choices and it helped develop his character, making him even more appealing to me. I wished heroine's character was developed as well.

I moderately recommend this book.
3.5-star

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