Book Review – Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught

by Maryse on December 11, 2016 · 15 comments

in My Book Reviews

Whitney, My Love (The Westmoreland Dynasty Saga Book 1)

Considered a MUST-read in the historical romance genre, HUGELY loved, and one of the most popular recommendations that has ever come my way. People either LOVE it OR hate it, but NOBODY can forget it, and I KNEW I had to read it. I was craving an emotional-book-uproar, and this sure got me there!

Maryse: I’m reading “Whitney, My Love” and I’m loving it. I’m only 25% in but holy moly it’s over 700 pages long so, I think that’s a nice chunk. She’s such a BRAT!!! BUT I am LOVING IT. Slow burn/triangly indeed.

Pamela: Whitney My Love – read it twenty years ago and several times since. Sigh.

Tessa: *shifts in seat* Whitney My Love is the most popular, but one scene made me SOO angry. I’m kind of worried that Maryse won’t like it based on that one scene.

Jan: Huh. I can’t remember *that* scene from Whitney My Love (can’t even remember what it was LOL). It mustn’t have been a trigger for me cos I can remember loving all of those books without reservation.

Tessa: I remember them. I keep saying some those old historicals are worse than some of the dark books out now…

Lauren: Whitney, My Love is freakin INCREDIBLE!!!! … I’m pretty sure I have Whitney, My Love memorized. Once upon a time, before Travis or Christian or Gideon, there was Clayton Westmoreland….my first BFF.

Shana: Judith McNaught is what started my love for romance books over 20 years ago. I have read Whitney, My love numerous times and enjoy it every time.

*ooooomph*!!!

I am in love with this cover, and I’m in love with this love story, but what I’m NOT in love with is Clayton Westmoreland, the Duke of Claymore. Oh, he almost got my heart a few times, because he seems to be the ULTIMATE dream man. Protective, patient, and considerate, lavishing his love with everything she could ever want, handsome and respected, so humored by, and enamored with her…

“You devil!” she whispered, torn between laughter and anger.

“I would hardly describe you as an angel,” Clayton mocked.

BUT then he totally loses his sh!t and he becomes so appalling and such a monster, an inconsiderate, misogynistic, manipulative, spoiled, embarrassing-tantrum-haver, emotional (and physical) abuser, that I mostly just… hated him.

Maryse: I hit THAT spot on Whitney, My Love that has me infuriated. But I’m enjoying the story as a whole too much to drop it. I can’t freaking BELIEVE HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ALL OF THEM!!!!!!!!! ROOOOOAAAAAARRRRRR!!!! mad Okay back to my book…

My friends… “that spot” is well known amongst the Whitney, My Love fans, but that was NOT the only *spot* that had me absolutely incensed. It was the worse one (officially), but there was something else… that had me utterly DONE with him.

That said… I AM half-in-love with his brother Stephen, and I hear (at least per the end of this book), that he’s still single. ;) I’m in! Oh right… I don’t think he’s available “today”. LOL!!

So what’s it about?

Whitney, born into a distinguished and well-respected lineage, was raised by her unsupportive, unloving, widowed father that was squandering their wealth. But to top it all off, he was overwhelmed by teen-Whitney’s independence, extreme intelligence and tomboyish ways. And mostly, embarrassed by her outlandish unabashed behavior (and the gossip and that seemed to follow her).

By constantly criticizing his daughter in front of other people, Martin Stone had made his own child a target for village ridicule. All Anne really needed to do was whisk Whitney away from these narrow-minded spiteful neighbors of hers and let her bloom in Paris, where the social atmosphere wasn’t so stifling.

Ugh. What a jerk.

Worried that she wouldn’t become a “proper lady” (and fed up of her HUGE infatuation with an adamantly uninterested, and significantly older, “Paul”)…

“…when Paul sees how well I do, he’ll—”

“He’ll think you have lost your mind, Whitney Stone! He’ll think that you haven’t a grain of sense or propriety, and that you’re only trying something else to gain his attention.” Seeing the stubborn set of her friend’s chin, Emily switched her tactics. “Whitney, please— think of your father. What will he say if he finds out?”

…he sends her to Paris to live with her aunt and uncle.

And there, she simply blossoms! Raised with love, support, and deep affection, her aunt and uncle adore her, and treat her as their own daughter. She’s lovingly indulged in their wealthy world, treated to extravagance and “how-to-be-a-lady” lessons (in her mind… these are ALL for Paul).

“Paul Sevarin,” she whispered with great determination. “I shall change completely in France, and when I come home, you are going to marry me.”

Yet they wholeheartedly support her in her independence, personality, and all that makes Whitney… “tick”.

YOU BE YOU, WHITNEY!

Everyone notices.

Whitney becomes the belle of the ball, other debutantes either want to be her, or HATE her (jealousy!!), but the prospective men simply can’t get enough of her, and she milks it for all it’s worth.

That is, until she comes across “Clayton”.

For years, gossip had linked the man with every beautiful female of suitable lineage in Europe, but marriage was not among the things he offered. Behind that handsome nobleman there was a trail of young women’s broken hearts and shattered marital aspirations that would make any sensible woman with an unmarried female relation shudder! He was the last man on the continent in whom Anne wanted Whitney to show any interest.

The last man in the entire world!

Unbeknownst to her, he has her future in his hands. Also enamored with her, he pays her father an exorbitant amount of money to guarantee her as his future wife. Because, you see, back then, the father mostly decides the fate of his daughters.

He wanted her, that was reason enough. She was warm and witty and elusive as a damned butterfly. She would never bore him as other women had; he knew it with the wisdom born of years of experience with the fair sex.

His mind made up, he turned and strode briskly to the desk. “I will need some documents prepared, and there will have to be a transfer of a considerable amount of money when Stone accepts my offer.”

If Stone accepts it,” Matthew corrected automatically.

The Westmoreland brow quirked in sardonic amusement. “He’ll accept it.”

The drama and tumultuous love affair (love triangles?) begin. She’s been forever in-LOVE with Paul, and now that she’s older, and more “refined”, she’s hoping he’ll return her affections.

And Clayton, humoring her needs to “find” herself and her true love, begins his quest of courting her… hoping that she will choose HIM on her own (even though he’s already purchased her).

“That was your first lesson, little one. Never, ever play games with me. I’ve played them all before, and you can’t win…”

Oooooh the DRAMA!!!!

“Why do you hate me, little one?” he asked gently.

Caught off balance by the endearment as well as his tone, Whitney gave a blunt, teary answer. “Because there’s something about you that makes me behave like a raving lunatic.”

GAH!!! That was one of my most FAVORITE LINES EVER!!!! It was so truthful, so raw and honest… and so touching.

Love triangles, and jealousy ensue, and you’re in for a wild ride, if you can suspend your objection for how all of this goes down (yes… the misunderstandings grated on my nerves, and they were SO detrimental in the grand scheme of my connection to this love story). You guys, I just don’t know that I could suspend mine. rolleyes There was eyerolling. Too much of it.

It was a great read, very long, but beautifully detailed, often hilarious, and it came alive in its imagery and personality (I believed these people truly exist… er… existed. ;) ). I felt like I was roaming the cobblestone streets, and riding in the carriages along with these characters. Dancing at the balls, and flirting and giggling and being all ladylike in my beautiful flowing dresses. Wow… what a time to be a “lady“.

Except NO.

With the outlandish almost, childlike tantrums, over-the-top coquettish flirtations (in attempt to create jealousy, or just plain interest), and the catty rumors and detrimental gossip (spread and relished equally by the men and women), I just… no.

Because, if you were stuck with a father like Whitney had (or Emily… you’ll find out about her later), and forced to marry a man that you had no love for, or someone that you DID fall in love with, but that took horrible advantage of “owning” you (yes… when push came to shove, these men reiterated that they”owned” the woman), then you’d be in hell, no matter how wealthy.

“I find it sad that most of my sex have been trained from babyhood to sound exactly like witless female butlers.”

“So do I,” Clayton admitted quietly. Before Whitney had recovered from her astonishment, he added, “However, the fact remains that no matter how well-educated a woman is, she will someday have to submit to the authority of her lord and master.”

I don’t think so,” Whitney said, ignoring her father’s anguished, quelling looks. “And what’s more, I shall never, ever call any man my lord and master.”

“Is that right?” Clayton mocked.

Whitney found herself with all the comforts and luxuries of a distinguished and popular (and coveted) lady, betrothed to the most coveted man, a wealthy, debonair Duke, no less, and yet found herself so alone, when he “went off”. Dealing with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a nightmare. And she finds herself often distressed, unloved, perplexed, and shamed.

Oh the shaming. Disgusting.

Mind you, she plays unnecessary and dangerous games. I found her immature and silly (despite her seeming independence and intelligence), and while I’m not blaming her for his reactions (those are HIS alone – UGH!!!!What a freak, sometimes!!!), I couldn’t stay fully connected to her, in regards to some of her actions and reactions. Eeeeeeep! Holy MOLY Whitney, why??!!!!! But those were in her dangerously “flirty” and tantrums times.

Whenever Clayton acted like a beast, I was RIGHT THERE with her, hating HIS GUTS!

And then… she’d soften to him (you’ll see), and I’d severely struggle with those moments, too.

“Tell me how much you hate my touch,” he ordered furiously. Pulling his mouth from hers, he stared down at her with biting gray eyes. “You despise my touch,” he hissed. “Say it now, or don’t ever, ever say it to me again.”

*sigh*

As dreamy as that era seems (as depicted in these gorgeous Regency romance books), I much prefer today. Of course, you can find abusive men anytime, but at least these particular antiquated customs are, for the most part, gone.

That said, it’s an addictive guilty-pleasure that will keep you guessing. I was always happy to pick this one back up, and jump back into that romance intensity with my heart flip-flopping to and fro.

4 stars!

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

bev December 11, 2016 at 3:17 PM

“YOU BE YOU WHITNEY” -LMAO

Definitely a controversial book. But dang I want to do a re-read of her books.

This is making me think of the new CoHo book with the hero every one fell for that is not a good guy.

Tessa December 11, 2016 at 3:18 PM

*bounces up and down* Exactly how I feel about this one. Just, yep!

Maryse December 11, 2016 at 3:54 PM

LOL bev!!!!

Well, she’s just so different from the rest of the girls, and I could appreciate that.

Although she was pretty bratty sometimes. Playing with fire…

Maryse December 11, 2016 at 3:54 PM

YAY Tessa!!!

I totally get you!

Lauren December 11, 2016 at 9:13 PM

Once and Always is awesome too. Anyone read that one by Judith McNaught? I think I’ve read it more times than Whitney, My Love.

Cait December 12, 2016 at 7:32 AM

Maryse
Do you happen to know when her books will be in kindle format for the uk Amazon market???? Dying to read her books

Cait December 12, 2016 at 7:32 AM

Thanks

Jean December 12, 2016 at 9:41 AM

Not my typical book to read, but I loved your review!

Maryse December 12, 2016 at 4:35 PM

I will read more of hers, Lauren. :D

Maryse December 12, 2016 at 4:38 PM

Cait… very good question. THEY JUST became available here in the U.S. finally, so I’m hoping soon for everyone.

Maryse December 12, 2016 at 4:39 PM

YAY!! Thank you Jean!!! :D

Jan December 12, 2016 at 10:20 PM

Cait, they’re not yet available on kindle in Australia either :/

Cait December 13, 2016 at 3:20 AM

Ah Jan I just hope I haven’t forgotten about it by the time it comes out here!!

Jan December 13, 2016 at 5:50 PM

You could probably get a secondhand paperback copy through abebooks.com

Mari December 19, 2016 at 8:11 PM

I looove Judith McNaught books. Whitney and Paradise are my two favorites.

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