January 28, 2014

Review #4- How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English

How to Tame a Willful Wife (Shakespeare in Love, #1) 

I actually read Christy English's historical romance months ago but never got around to posting the review on anywhere but Goodreads.  Remedied!

How to Tame a Willful Wife is a retelling of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew.  While I have yet to read the latter, English's story has made me a fan of the story already.  I love, love, love Caroline Montague and Anthony Carrington.  Caroline is passionate, fiery, headstrong, demands to train in weaponry, and defies labeling.  A girl after my own heart!  Anthony is the Earl of Ravenbrook and is a strong, autocratic, protective warrior with a soft side he only lets Caroline see.  A man that reminds me very much of my boyfriend, who himself is a veteran of the Air Force Pararescue and very much a bad ass, but with a vulnerability I am the only witness to.    
It is easy to see why I fell in love with this book.

The story revolves around a wedding that takes place before either truly knows or understands the other person, as often was the case with aristocrats in the time period, and the difficulty of figuring out marriage under those circumstances, including trusting another person with your secrets.  There are times when you want to slap Anthony silly for being such a neanderthal but that's part of the charm of the story.   It's a man who is used to being in control all of his life and a feminist "modern" woman trying to come together.  It isn't always easy to be in a relationship in which the person challenges your every conviction, but that is how you grow.  It is so worthwhile, and never boring.  

I am not usually a fan of historical romance or romance in general.  I usually find it too much like a soap opera or I find it trite.  I also don't do many re-reads.  So when I say I will definitely be re-reading How to Tame a Willful Wife you know how much of an impact this story had on me.  

Bombazine – a twilled fabric of silk or silk and wool, with a silk wrap and a worsted filling. (I Googled the image and have no idea how I haven't come across this word before in historical fiction.)
Bombazine Dress

Modiste – a fashionable milliner or dressmaker
Reticule - a small, netted handbag with a drawstring and usually embroidery or beading
Reticence - silent or uncommunicative
Perfidy – betrayal, disloyalty

“Anthony stared into her eyes, and she gazed back, trying to find some answer to the riddle of his soul behind the brown of his eyes.  If an answer lay there, It was well hidden.”

“She touched the reticule on her arm, a confection of gold and silver silk that closed with a drawstring.  She was supposed to carry smelling salts in it and a handkerchief.  Instead, her smallest dagger lay sheathed within.  Caroline touched the bag, feeling for the smooth lines of her knife as if it were a talisman.  Anthony claimed to have enemies among the men they would meet that night.  If one tried to malign her, she would be ready.”


  1. This book is on my Kindle - I love Shakespeare and the couple of film versions I've seen of this story (the Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton, the musical Kiss Me, Kate, and the modernized version in the ShakespeaRe-Told series) -- glad to hear you enjoyed this book so much! I'm looking forward to it even more now. :)

    1. I hope you like it as much as I did, Ruth!


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