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Book Review: How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English

Written by: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor


Too often, historical romances feature heroines that are…well, quite frankly, wimpy.  I mean, I get that most historical romances take place in the 18th or early 19th century, not an era known for its progressive stances on women’s rights.  But honestly, it seems like a cop-out to me.  I mean, I can’t imagine that every Regency woman was a sweet, demure virgin waiting for a duke to sweep her off her feet.

Luckily, How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English avoids this pitfall.

The description, courtesy of English’s website:

1. Forbid her from riding astride
2. Hide her dueling sword
3. Burn all her breeches and buy her silk drawers
4. Frisk her for hidden daggers
5. Don’t get distracted while frisking her for hidden daggers…

Anthony Carrington, Earl of Ravensbrook, expects a biddable bride. A man of fiery passion tempered by the rigors of war into steely self-control, he demands obedience from his troops and his future wife. Regardless of how fetching she looks in breeches.
Promised to the Earl of Plump Pockets by her impoverished father, Caroline Montague is no simpering miss. She rides a war stallion named Hercules, fights with a blade, and can best most men with both bow and rifle. She finds Anthony autocratic, domineering, and…ridiculously gorgeous.
It’s a duel of wit and wills in this charming retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. But the question is…who’s taming whom?


Both Caroline and Anthony are interesting characters.  Anthony, an old friend of Caroline’s father, marries Caroline to save her father from financial ruin.  He’s convinced that he wants a wife who is sweet, biddable, and obedient—and Caroline is pretty much just the opposite.  He tries to “tame” her, although the whole time he finds himself attracted to her stubborn, headstrong nature.  He comes off as kind of a jerk at times—at least by my modern feminist sensibilities—but he has some reasons for this.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t want to share them with Caroline.  One of the mysteries that propels the story is finding out his secrets; once they’re discovered, it’s kind of a letdown.  I was hoping for something a lot more salacious.

Caroline is strong and tough.  She has been encouraged to learn how to protect herself by her father, so she practices archery and knife-fighting.  She also has an incredibly stubborn personality.  The attraction between her and Anthony is instantly obvious—even when he’s driving her completely insane.  I enjoyed their love/hate relationship.  It charged up both the tension and the sexual chemistry between them.

My only real problem with this book was that I felt like it ended too abruptly.  Problems that had been building the entire book are resolved within a few pages.  It fell flat for me.

If you’re a fan of Tessa Dare or Elizabeth Hoyt—historical romances featuring strong, outside-the-norm heroines—then you will enjoy How to Tame a Willful Wife.  It’s not as strong as either of these authors’ books, but it’s still a fun read.

I received this book as an e-ARC through NetGalley.  How to Tame a Willful Wife is available now.

Author: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor

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