4.3 7
by Joan Johnston

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She was a gorgeous rebel.Defying all the rules, daring to speak her mind, Charlotte Edgerton declared her independence before she even entered the Earl of Denbigh's home. Her new guardian immediately made her a prisoner in her own room—until she agreed to learn the lady-like arts. Furious, she complied. Anything to buy her freedom from Denbigh. She's even

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She was a gorgeous rebel.Defying all the rules, daring to speak her mind, Charlotte Edgerton declared her independence before she even entered the Earl of Denbigh's home. Her new guardian immediately made her a prisoner in her own room—until she agreed to learn the lady-like arts. Furious, she complied. Anything to buy her freedom from Denbigh. She's even marry a man she didn't love to get away from her domineering guardian. In fact, love was the furthest thing from her mind...He was the Earl who vowed to tame her.Lionel Morgan, Earl of Denbigh, had been betrayed at the altar by another woman and vowed that no female would ensnare him again. Then Charlotte Edgerton burst into his life. Denbigh wasn't prepared for this headstrong American—or the passions she inspired on first sight. He knew only that he had to civilize her, present her at court, and Almack's, and then marry her off to the highest bidder. It wasn't until he nearly lost her that he realized the truth: She'd somehow reversed their roles and become the captor of his heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Regency and historical romance devotees will find Johnston's (The Inheritance) latest lively and well-written, and her characters perfectly enchanting. Lady Charlotte Edgerton, Charlie to her friends, is an American fish who finds herself in stuffy English waters when her father dies and leaves her to the care of the Earl of Denbigh. Denbigh has two duties: to civilize Charlie and to find her a suitable husband-only it can't be him. Haunted by his fiance's suicide, Denbigh mistrusts women. In spite of Charlotte's innocent appeal, he refuses to let himself become involved and tries his best to alienate her affections. But Charlotte-an American through and through-won't take no for an answer. An exciting secondary plot involving a duke bent on avenging his brother's murder by dishonoring Denbigh's sister adds an element of mystery. (May)

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The bride was late.  The guests were starting to whisper.  Lionel Morgan, Earl of Denbigh, stood waiting near the altar of St. Paul's Church in London with his best friend and groomsman, Percival Porter, Viscount Burton, who also happened to be the bride's elder brother.

"Where is she, Percy?"  Denbigh asked.  "What do you suppose is causing the delay?"

"You know the ladies, Lion.  It takes them an eternity to dress themselves. Alice hasn't been on time for anything in her entire life.  She was even born two weeks late.  You cannot expect a rare bird like Alice to change her feathers simply because she is getting married."  Percy smiled and gave Denbeigh a friendly cuff on the shoulder.  "Be patient.  It cannot be long now."

A commotion in the vestry attracted Denbigh's attention.  Heads swiveled in the congregation to see what was amiss.  It took Denbigh only a moment to recognize the Marquis of Peterborough, Percy and Alice's father, and another moment to see that the marchioness was hanging on his sleeve, trying vainly to stop him.

"She's bolted!" Peterborough said, his voice echoing off the church's high ceiling as he marched down the aisle toward Denbigh.  He shook a piece of crumpled parchment--apparently a note from Alice--in Denbigh's face.  "The foolish chit has run away.  She says she will not marry you."

The wedding guests gave a collective gasp and began to whisper in earnest, creating a buzzing sound not unlike a nest of hornets.

Denbigh felt his skin prickle.  His heart pounded in his chest as adrenaline laced his blood.  He was having difficulty grasping the enormity of the catastrophe that had befallen him.  The woman he loved--the woman he had believed loved him--had run away rather than marry him.

He turned to Percy in disbelief.  "Percy? How...? Why...? Did Alice say anything to you, give you any clue that she was unhappy with the match?"

Percy stared back at him.  "I am as shocked as you are, Lion.  There must be some good explanation for Alice's behavior, but I cannot imagine what what it is." He turned with a confused look to his parents.  "What does her note say, Father?"

"Please, may we go somewhere private?" Lady Peterborough begged.  "There has already been scandal enough to keep tongues wagging for three lifetimes."

Denbigh glanced up, square into the gawking face of Lady Hornby, a notorious gossip.  That flustered lady quickly hid her face behind an ivory fan, but as Denbigh's narrowed eyes scoured the pews, he found as many smirks as he did expressions of sympathy.  He had never considered himself a proud man, but he was a private one.  Today his pain and humiliation had been laid bare for the town.

He felt cold, as though his warm, pulsating heart had ceased pumping blood to his extremities.  He hardly noticed Percy ushering all of them into a nearby room used by the clergy.  He saw, as from a distance, Percy retrieve the crumpled note from his father and spread it out to read what it contained.

"She does not say where she is going, precisely," Percy announced.  "Only that she is going somewhere she cannot be found.  And that she is sorry for any pain she has caused."

"I have to find her," Denbigh said.  "I must speak with her."

"I would not advise it, my friend," Percy said gently.  "Nothing good can come of such an interview."

"I don't care!" Denbigh said in an agonized voice.  "I have to know why she ran away." He fought the lump in his throat as he met Percy's pitying gaze.  "I love her, Percy.  I'd have her even now."

Percy hesitated another moment before he said, "Very well, Lion.  We shall go after her."

"I'll go alone," Denbigh said.

"I cannot let you do that," Percy said, shaking his blond head.  "The gel may be in disgrace, but she is my sister and still an unmarried lady.  If you're going to meet with her, she should have family nearby to protect her."

"I mean her no harm," Denbigh said.

"I believe you," Percy said.  "But I shall come with you, all the same."

Percy made his farewell to his parents and promised to bring Alice home if--when--they found her.

"No," the marchioness said.  "Not back to London, Percy.  Take her to the summer house near Brighton."

"Very well, Mother," Percy said.  "I will take her to the manor in Sussex.  But I can tell you Alice won't like being sent off to molder in the country."

"I don't much care what Alice wants at this point," the marquis retorted.  "Do as your mother says."

"Yes, Father."

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Captive 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
jdh2690 7 months ago
Years before I read Ms. Johnston’s western romances and loved them, so I thought I’d also love her Regency historical romances too and started with this one. This love story between Charlotte (an unruly American in London) and Lion (an English Lord hurt so deeply in the past he is afraid to love again) was just like I thought it would be: full of high jinks, humor, angst and romance. I loved it and recommend it.
Sparky_Patches More than 1 year ago
Overall Rating: 4.15 Action: 2.0 / Emotion: 3.0 / Romance: 4.5 / Sensuous: 2.0 / Suspense: 2.0 // Historical Flavor: 4.0 // Laughter: 1 / Giggle: 1 // Tears: 1 / Teary: 0 Captive: 4.15: Since Joan Johnston is a favorite author it comes as no surprise that upon reading *Captive*, the first book in *The Captive Hearts Quartet*, for the third time, it was to find it an enjoyable, entertaining, simplistic read. Hero: 3.50: Lionel "Lion" Morgan, Earl of Denbigh: Lion came across as the typical lord that is usually featured in Regency Romance Novels -- handsome, well-built, capable, arrogant, determined that things be done his way.  He wasn't exactly prepared for the heroine that was dropped in his lap. Heroine: 2.50: Charlotte "Charlie" Edgerton: There were so many things to like about Charlie -- her beauty, her friendliness, her sense of equality, her spontaneity, her willingness to help, but her age (seventeen) was reflected in some of her immature actions, which made her a less than perfect heroine. Secondary Hero: 3.50: Reeve Somers, Duke of Braddock: Reeve and his story were way under-developed compared to the interest that he generated.  Reeve was another typical fascinating alpha lord.  Even though his intentions were not honorable, it would have been nice if he had been given more page time in the book. Secondary Heroine: 4.50: Lady Olivia "Livy" Morgan: Olivia was another under-developed major secondary character that was incredibly intriguing.  It was easy to identify with Livy and wish that she could have spent more time with Reeve in the book. Story Line: 3.50: The storyline -- the guardian falling for his ward -- always presents intriguing possibilities and Johnston did a great job drawing the reader into the story with the prologue, but Charlie's juvenile actions were detracting.  Were it not for Reeve and Livy and their small sub-romance, the story would not have been as interesting. Action: 2.00: As is typical in a Regency Romance, there were not many opportunities to present actions scenes in the book.  The story, did, however, move at a steady pace. Emotion: 3.00: Johnston is a good storyteller and she was able to connect the reader to the characters enough to bring forth a few tears and laughs.  But the emotional connection to the characters was not deeply felt. Romance: 4.50: The feeling of romance, the awareness that passed between Lion and Charlie and also between Reeve and Livy was ever-present during the telling of their stories. Suspense: 2.00: There was a slight degree of suspense to the story in that {1} would Charlie ever be able to pierce the barrier around Lion's heart, and {2} would Reeve succeed in instigating a duel with Lion. Sensuous: 2.00: Johnston did a great job of adding sensuality, passion and heat to the seduction scenes between Lion and Charlotte.  However, it was thanks to the romance that developed between Reeve and Olivia that the reader was entertained with the sizzle and spice in a well-written lovemaking scene. Historical Flavor: 4.00: Johnston did a great job of taking the reader back to 1814 in England.  The historical descriptions, mannerisms and language felt authentic. Secondary Characters: 3.00: In most of Johnston's books, she introduces very interesting and well-developed secondary characters that really aid in the telling of the story.  In Captive, however, the secondary characters (besides Reeve and Olivia) really didn't stand out in this book. A more in-depth, detailed, spoiler-ridden review of *Captive* appears at Wolf Bear Does Books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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DW36 More than 1 year ago
Like the other reviews this was a book that I couldn't put down. I loved this book I will be checking out more of this author's work. This is a MUST read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite romance novels. I must say Johnston is a very talented writer! I loved Charlotte, an independent American living now in England under the care of Lion, after her father's death. Charlotte doesnt really obey Lion, she basically does what she likes. Lion tries to show her how to be an English Lady now that she's under his tuff, and marry her off to someone who deserves her. Until he realizes that he's the only candidate worthy of her. But he refuses to admit to his feelings because he doesnt trust women, after his fiance left him at the altar and comitted suicide. Charlotte realizes that she must find a way to show him he can trust her. I love how she was willing to do any foolish thing for him, it was a great book and I higly recommend people read this. It captivated my heart, let it captivate yours!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love 'Captive!' I honestly couldnt put the book down until i was finished, it was that good! I must say, Johnson is a talented writer, this story deserves two thumbs up. Denbign mistrust women after his fiance left him at the altar and comitting suicide, but Charlotte is an american and unlike English women, who became his ward after her father died. She stands up to what she believes is right, and although Denbigh is used to giving order and having them follow, Charlotte breaks all the rules. He wants to rid of her quickly by marrying her off, and trying to teach how to be an english lady. From the start Charlotte has fallen in love with him and she realizes that she must find a way to prove to him that he can trust her... and Denbign cant deny he's actually feeling something for her but he's afraid to let her in his heart... its a great story and i higly recommend it!