Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Conquest (Peregrine #2) By Jude Deveraux

Lovely Zared Peregrine was the pride of her family, a treasure her rough-hewn brothers would strive at any cost to protect from their ancient enemies, the Howards. The Peregrines had suffered loss enough. Thus Zared's brothers trained her in the arts of war, and dressed her in boy's clothing. Beyond the castle walls, none knew that the youngest Peregrine was a girl.... Yet when the magnificent Knight Tearle Howard returned from a lengthy sojourn in France, it took him but one glance to discover that Zared was most definitely female, and beautiful. Now, as the enmity between their families raged on, Tearle would mount a bold campaign to win the ravishing spitfire's heart -- and save her from his brother's dark and deadly obsession!

Type: Historical Romance
Heat: 2 out of 5
Rating: 2 out of 5

The Conquest arrived at my house in a "mystery box" of books earlier this year. I'd never read Deveraux but the timing was perfect since I needed a Deveraux book for a group reading challenge. Two families battling a deeply ingrained and decades old hatred set in 1447 Medieval England. A heroine and hero on opposite sides finding one another, dealing with the fallout, hatred and their families trying to kill each other.  While not the most original concept I did like the way the story played out with Zared, her brother and Tearle all attending a jousting competition. Tearle pretending to be a servant for the family so he could be close to Zared. 

Zared Peregrine, the heroine, was a bit frustrating to me. She lashes out, doesn't trust, is always confused about her feelings. I had to keep reminding myself that she was very young and raised by men who were filled with hate and raised her as a boy for her safety. She'd basically been brainwashed into accepting the war between the families and that the Howard's were the devil's span and could never be anything else. She's very inexperienced about life outside of the family feud including what it's like to be a girl. What I got tired of most of all was her continued anger and how just plain mean she was to our hero Tearle Howard. Tearle (love that name!) is a good man and very honorable. He's not been part of the family feud and just recently returned home. The man is patient beyond belief. He falls for Zared as soon as he saves her from his brothers men, knowing right away she is indeed a woman and not a boy. I loved that he didn't just go along with the feud and set out to be near Zared regardless of the family drama. Willing to do anything to be with her even if it put him in horribly uncomfortable and frustrating situations. I couldn't believe how long he stuck it out when so many people on her side of the battle were hateful towards him, when Zared refused to trust him no matter what he did or said. How easily she doubted and turned her back on him. Thinking the worst of his character even though he'd done nothing to ever make her thing poorly of him. By the end of the story I really wasn't all that sure I wanted Zared to have her happily ever after. Tearle deserved a better woman and one who treated him decently. Grrr. Frustrating feeling to have with regards to your hero and heroine. I will admit though there were some funny moments when she was calling his manhood into question, thinking him week and not all that manly not knowing that he'd been faking weakness so she'd care for him. His reactions were fantastic.

One thing about Deveraux's writing style was that she switches point of view a LOT. I'm used to stories that flip back and forth between the heroine and hero but this went a bit further. I stopped counting after ending up in the 8th person's head. I actually didn't mind this. It flows nicely but you do have to keep paying attention or you can easily get confused suddenly being in another person's head. There's also a surprise bit of paranormal towards the end that I actually kind of liked. I'm not sure I'll pick up another Deaveraux book. While I liked the style and the hero the women in this book, the heroine and secondary female characters,  were very unlikable. There's a big difference between a bit of snark and just being plain old mean spirited. If this is how her typical heroines behave I don't think I'd enjoy reading their stories. 

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