I couldn't remember the last time I picked up a Jo Beverly book and when I read the book description of The Dragon's Bride , I thought it interesting enough to read. On another note, I HATE giving a bad review so I'll try to make this short.
Con and Susan met when they were 15 years old and shared a memorable two weeks when Con was visiting relatives in the Devon coast where Susan lived. They shared personal intimacies and made love, the first time for both of them, ONCE in those lovely two weeks. Then Susan, in some fit of insanity, dumped him. Ten years later, Con comes back to claim an earldom but not intending to stay in Crag Wyvern, his inherited estate. Susan, in his absence, has become Crag Wyvern's housekeeper despite her genteel background. For the rest of the book, which only happens inside a week, they obsess about how it would be again to be with each other in the biblical sense. Of course, other stuff happens - mainly consisting of a smuggling operation on the coast in which the local townsfolk rely on for most of their living.
My main grievance about this book is that it has way too much convenient… stuff. Events become contrived and unbelievable and corny. Furthermore, the way the couple also obsessed about having sex with each other after 10 years of being apart becomes annoying after about a third of the way into the book. Here's a spoiler: the sex scenes ain't nothing to write home about.
In terms of writing, Beverly is obviously talented. However, her use of the characters' introspection to reveal the past in between present events becomes too distracting to the story. At one point, it grows to be exasperating - Con and Susan cannot see or think about each other without some sort of reference, in their thoughts most of the time, to the past. The ending is way too convenient and therefore, unsatisfying.
If this book was easy to put down, which I did several times, it obviously wasn't interesting enough to rate it higher that what was given.