Saturday, November 24, 2012

Book Review: How to Tame a Willful Wife

How to Tame a Willful Wife (Shakespeare in Love Series #1)
How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English
November 6, 2012
Sourcebooks Casablanca
352 pages
Source: borrowed from NetGalley
From Goodreads:
How To Tame A Willful Wife:

1. Forbid her from riding astride
2. Hide her dueling sword
3. Burn all her breeches and buy her silk drawers
4. Frisk her for hidden daggers
5. Don't get distracted while frisking her for hidden daggers...

Anthony Carrington, Earl of Ravensbrook, expects a biddable bride. A man of fiery passion tempered by the rigors of war into steely self-control, he demands obedience from his troops and his future wife. Regardless of how fetching she looks in breeches.

Promised to the Earl of Plump Pockets by her impoverished father, Caroline Montague is no simpering miss. She rides a war stallion named Hercules, fights with a blade, and can best most men with both bow and rifle. She finds Anthony autocratic, domineering, and...ridiculously gorgeous.

It's a duel of wit and wills in this charming retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. But the question is...who's taming whom?
My Review:

It's been a while since I read any historical fiction. I wouldn't tie this down in the historical fiction department, but it did play into a certain time era. Plus, the integrating of The Taming of the Shrew gave this book a historical and unique feel with the combining of the two. It took an adjustment to enjoy the verbage and style of the book, than I found that I really enjoyed the flow and workings of the story and setting.

The characters in their environments and with each other are really what make the book. Caroline is not your typical heroine. She has been raised to be somewhat independent, to protect herself, and to speak her mind. But now she must marry a man within two days of meeting him as a business transaction to payoff her father's debt. You can see this isn't going to go well.

Anthony is the domineering, controlling husband we would expect with those times. First, he is nearly twice Caroline's age, and second, he has been living a wealthy, bachelor lifestyle for many years, including having a longtime mistress prior to his marriage. To say he will accept a wife who challenges him and does not "obey" immediately is an understatement.

What I appreciate about this book is that it didn't downplay the difficulties of this time. Yes, women were treated as property. No, not all marriages were love matches. Many were not. Yes, husbands frequently had mistresses. Yes, there was a double standard. Women had to be "pure" and men did not. Women could be easily cast aside for their inappropriateness.

To say Anthony and Caroline had a tumultuous relationship would be an understatement. Did Anthony bother me with his arrogance and secrecy and domineering attitude? Yes! But if I'm being honest, he really worked through so much of his character throughout the book because essentially he had to rethink all his old learning because of his new feelings for Caroline. Was he a bit of a possessive bully? Well, sure. But did he redeem himself eventually? Thank goodness he did.

As for Caroline, she doesn't get off scot-free either. Would it have killed her to listen once in a while and not be so stubbornly independent? No, perhaps she would have seen the lurking dangers if she weren't being so obtuse. But with an obstacle like Anthony in the way, that easily distracted her from the real dangers about her. But I loved Caroline's spirit and fire. She was the perfect match for Anthony.

I loved the passion between Caroline and Anthony. I didn't expect them to fall madly in love after knowing each other two days. But I appreciated that they at least had a real physical attraction to each other, which helped propel them toward becoming more emotionally intimate as well. They had many steamy moments in the bedroom, as well as many heated arguments, furthering their passions for one another. But in spite of their stubbornness, you could see their hearts for each other gradually change (and hopefully not change too late).

Overall, I really enjoyed this read. I was uncomfortable with some of the historical situations (like mistresses and pervy men, yuck). But I was very satisfied with the flow of the story and the resolution and ending. I would be interested in reading more books in this series.


  1. I love a good historical romance, especially one that examines the difficulties of the historical period, so I'm happy to hear you enjoyed this one! And of course, chemistry is a must. :D Love your review!

    1. Thanks! Hope you get a chance to read it :)

  2. Thanks Jenny! I am so happy you liked it. I am fascinated by the problems of the past...even women with money had so many obstacles to overcome. Eden, if you get a chance to read it, I hope you love the book. :)


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