Tada! Here we go ahead, the last Warren book from the threesome I bought.
First to note is the story is similar in ways to The Haunted Heiress of Wyndcliffe Manor. Both involve a young girl who doesn't know which family she belongs to. In The Haunted Heiress of Wyndcliffe Manor, Jennifer has amnesia since she was eleven (don't you just hate that?) and here Eden is an orphan abandoned as a baby.
Both girls ended up on the streets with abuse abundant. Here the violence is raised a bit, with attempted rapes not once, not twice, not even three times, but four times - each with a different man. This is if you don't include the later forced kisses from a fifth. Life was rough for pretty women on the streets in the eighteenth century, wasn't it? Tsk, tsk. How this woman will experience a healthy sex life is beyond me. Anyway, the heroine handles herself well in every situation, with the classic strength but sweetness characteristic to most women in Warren novels. The only flaws I find is that she does some stupid thinking later on. I just can't see how she cannot grasp a logical 'source' for her getting sick. Come on, do she need to be hit in the head with a 2x4 to get it??
Both women ultimately end up in rich families with class. In The Haunted Heiress of Wyndcliffe Manor, Eden finds she is the granddaughter/heir of a wealthy family. Here though, the girl finds out a lot of it is a lie as she's forced into an odd family but grand inheritance. In The Bride of Hatfield castle, is likely the darkest book of the three. I won't spoil details, but I only wish we could have seen more of Uncle Simon get what he deserves later on.
The leading man, Garth, isn't as handsome as the others - this one instead walks with a limp and is cursed with a scarred face and hooded eye. Villagers state at him with fear while joking behind his back, unable to deny at the same time he has a dark temptation about him. As before in other books, Eden noticed him as a kid and looked toward him as a rescuer eventually. Formulaic but fun. I like how he's not the traditional powerfully dominant, gorgeous man that every woman fawns over. There's something to be said about the outcasts too! Alright, he's wealthy, and that's common, but still....Sadly Warren doesn't feed my sexual fantasies again, just chaste kisses, but oh well.
The family members in the house are also similar to the other novels - the greedy selfish aunt, the spoiled aggressive son, and the whipped father. They were OK though and I'm not tired of seeing this type yet. I do hold qualms with the villains reasoning, as it just seems too shallow and contrived. (!!!)
It's an icky book sometimes, especially with Mr. Hatfield - yech. Pretty graphic, hideous stuff. Besides it being a darker book, it's a bit grosser as well, not just the mentioned scene, but also some of the stuff she's forced to endure on the streets.
The romantic part of the book was more than fine, although I wished at times she would get angry and just chew the man out. I like sweet women but I like ones with tempers too. :) They mixed well and the ending was as heartwarming as always, even if my heart did thus a bit when he spoke of her inherited companies on the last pages.
Atmosphere is of course gothic and confusing, another great piece from Warren. It's hard to know how to rate this one, as I didn't enjoy it as much as the previous two. There wasn't as much magic and mystery here, and the reasoning of the villains (as mentioned before) weren't as rewarding. In the end it's being slapped with a 3.5, but a hearty recommendation still.