by Danelle Harmon

November 1998
ISBN: 0-380-79263-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Danelle Harmon's The Beloved One is the second book in the de Montforte brothers' series. It's a lackluster read since the characters and their circumstances are quite serious and the romance between Charles and Amy is a bit restrained. In most cases, a full-length novel that is also a part of a series can be read singly. However, since this book is not one of them, let the reader beware that there are spoiler parts to the first story, The Wild One, in this review.

In the previous novel, Charles had been reported dead in the beginning of the story but as a cliffhanger to the next book, Charles has been resurrected so to speak; which is why Charles and Amy's relationship has been understandably restrained in The Beloved One. While readers of The Wild One are aware that Juliet, Charles' fiancée, and Gareth, Charles' brother, are happily married in the first book, it's still a bit disturbing that Charles has a romance of his own since he still believes he is affianced to Juliet.

Amy is a Cinderella-like character - sweet and abused by her stepsisters, it is easy to feel sorry for her. And Charles, being the English gentleman that he is, steps forward to defend Amy against her stepsisters and neglectful but loving father. Amy, having never been defended by anyone against her abusive family, easily falls in love with Charles. The question was why Charles had fallen in love with Amy.

Charles, in the course of an ambush by colonials, has been rendered unconscious and severely injured - so severe, that he loses his sight. In his dire circumstance of blindness and lack of faith in his friends and family to help him in his time of need, he easily responds to Amy's touch and kindness. He pictured her beautiful by voice and action alone, and Ms. Harmon tries to convince this reader to fall in love with Amy as well, through Charles' blind view. But Amy comes up short - she is sweet but a push over and the impression is made that she is gullible as well. Not much to admire except how she bears her obnoxious family. Amy is typical for a seventeen-year-old who is severely lacking in confidence - which is why it's hard to understand how Charles could have fallen in love with her so easily. He seems much more mature than her, in addition to the fact that he's blind to her beauty.

However, Charles' maturity also comes up short. He blindly lusts for Amy and justifies this attraction by a self-revelation that he never really loved Juliet, that he was lonely when they met and had asked Juliet to marry him because he got her in trouble. Though his actions towards Juliet were honorable and responsible, it was pretty easy to not like Charles after that point.

Though the whole story comes up short, once again Harmon's writing is commendable. She supports every action and characters in every scene so that they are consistent and never wavering in their motivations. It is because of Harmon's writing ability that I will willingly read the third and the fourth book in this series, sure that one of the stories - if not both - will surely be better than the first two. Despite her talent however, the story of Charles and Amy is not compelling enough to recommend this book highly.

Reviewed in August 2001 by Veronica.

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