This is the kind of book that makes me love the historical romance genre. Lorraine Heath has been a favorite writer of mine for some time, and she confirmed her status with Waking Up With the Duke. This is one of my favorite historical romances. The plot was unique and I loved both the hero (Ainsley) and heroine (Jayne). I thought Ms. Heath did a brilliant job of setting up the interaction between the H/H. It was obvious that, although Jayne professed (especially to herself) to hate Ainsley, she was attracted to him. The very first time they interact after she knows of her husband’s idea for Jayne to get pregnant by Ainsley, Jayne’s nostrils are filled with Ainsley’s “rich, tangy scent of bergamot and clove” — not a sickening scent, obviously, but rather one that is beguiling, and one that she has enjoyed before. She thinks to herself what a handsome devil he is — too beautiful, really (this is her criticism of him:-). Are these the thoughts of a woman who truly hates a man? No. They, and the other thoughts Jayne has from the get-go, are the thoughts of a woman who must blame someone besides her husband for the accident that has ruined their lives and chooses the only other person possible.
Ainsley has always been in love with Jayne, which is the way I would want the hero to feel in a book such as this. Ms. Heath also set up the fact that Jayne’s marriage had never been a happy one. Comfortable, yes, and Jayne had been fine with living that sort of life — taking care of her house, her husband, children. But there was no great passion between Jayne and her husband, and the reader quickly realizes the fault lies with her selfish husband. He could have been intimate in many other ways with his wife after his accident, but he was too selfish to even kiss her or hold her. I doubt that he would have kissed her or held her under any conditions except to get her pregnant with his heir. Ainsley, on the other hand, thinks always of Jayne’s pleasure. He puts her desires first, even when he doesn’t agree with what she wants.
This book was marvelous. It’s on my keeper shelf because in a couple of years, I plan to read it again.