Jill Barnett was such a treat the first time around I decided to go straight to her next book Dreaming. This one is the sequel of Bewitching, telling the story of Bellmore's friends Richard and Neil. Actually, it mostly tells the story of Richard and the infamous Letty Hornsby.
We first met Richard Lennox in Bewitching where he was the drunkard friend of Alex who was constantly getting himself injured with each encounter he had with a particular young lady called Leticia Hornsby. He had his collar dislocated, his foot injured, his buttocks bitten by a dog and last we heard he had his eye blackened. It seemed that the poor man just could not catch a break and that the Hornsby chit was jinxed. This book confirmed it.
It has been two years since the events in Bewitching and the Earl of Downes has returned to his ancestry home. He would have preferred to avoid the need to go back to a home haunted with memories of his father and older brother but it was unavoidable. The first night of his return he goes up to the cliffs near his property which are commonly used by smugglers. It being a dark night, he actually sees a smugglers ship making it's pickup. He doesn't think much about it but when life throws Letty Hornsby at him he finds himself captured by the smugglers and held captive in the ship bound to god knows where. The worse part of it all is that his traveling companion turns out to be the Hornsby chit and her faithful blood hound.
Letty really doesn't mean to cause problems but it seems as if bad luck follows her everywhere. Her first season ended when she returned home humiliated after all the mishaps with Richard took place. No one would get near her and mid season she returned home to let the tongues die down. As neighbor to the Downes, she had a been waiting for Richard to return home for two years and when she finally heard he was back she sneaked out of the house and followed him to the cliffs where her faithful dog (who hates Richard by the way) caused such a ruckus the smugglers discovered them and took them captive. Since Letty has loved Richard since she was a child, the captivity is not much of a sacrifice, but the bad luck that she brings onto the ship has the crew considering if they should just throw her overboard.
Now, I looooved Barnett's voice in Bewitching but the constant stupidity that came out of Letty's mouth was just too much. I never really encountered a TRUE heroine that I could say was TSTL (too Stupid to Love) but I finally I have found her. Letty was a floor mat to Richard, she humiliates herself time after time in the name of love. She was like a dog that kept getting kicked but kept coming back for more, most dogs eventually get a clue and eventually bite back but Letty never does. She kept forgiving Richard even after he has told her over and over again that he does not love her. In one scene, Richard asks her if she has no pride? I wondered the same thing. I really was going to give the book a very low score but Barnett caught me unaware at the very end and because of the growth seen in Richard and because of HIS healing, I could not kill it.
I said the book also included the HEA of Neil, Viscount Seymour, who was the superstitious friend of Alec in Bewitching. Seymour's story is very small and is related in just a few paragraphs here and there so don't expect much on that end but it was nice to see him get a few lines in the book.
On a side note, there is more on Alec and Joy. We find out how Alec ended up naming all his daughters Mary even though he swore that would never happen and we also see his reaction on breaking the tradition of having the first born be a Male.
If you are thinking about reading this one, you should go in with proper expectations. This book is not of the same caliber as the first in the series and really could be skipped if need be.