Noble Destiny (Noble, #2) - Katie MacAlister First off I will say that I don’t blame those that couldn’t finish this book. Charlotte isn’t likeable to begin with. She’s selfish, vain and superficial. She’s quite forceful almost to the point of becoming a bully but she’s always, always honest. I’ll admit she made this difficult to read although the humour made it easier, and perhaps at first this book will seem light-hearted and silly, it deepens to become serious with moments of utter despair. Charlotte’s personality is what makes the book work, she grows and changes but if she'd been any other woman this book would be labeled a tragedy. I’ll explain.Charlotte as a debutante became bored during her season. Only one man intrigued her but she impulsively eloped with an entirely different man, a minor Italian nobleman. But it wasn’t a happy marriage. Apart from consummating the union on their wedding night her husband was impotent. She tried everything to encourage her husband’s member but it hated her! Anyway after 5 years her husband died. His family disowns her. Broke and homeless she just about manages to return to England and her cousin Gillian (from the first book) who is just about to walk out the door on a trip to the West Indies with her growing family. She suggests Charlotte marry because her brother has also turned his back on her as well as bad-mouthing her to all of high society. She remembers the Earl whom interested her during her last season, the only eligible bachelor left and decides to pursue him. In fact all the ladies of England are hunting him.What people don’t know is that Dare inherited huge debts along with his title and is struggling to keep his head above water. In his efforts to make money he’s building an engine he hopes to sell one day soon. He hasn’t the time or energy to deal with the husband-hunters. Charlotte puts him in a uniquely difficult position, thereby forcing him to marry her. But he won’t give her what she most wants: a sex life, the thing that was missing in her first marriage. He refuses on the grounds that they do not yet love each other so she goes about trying to seduce him, when that fails she studies, in a clinical fashion, the act of falling in love and tries to force it. What she doesn’t know is that she’s all ready there. You see her start to think of Dare’s needs and wants before her own. She wants to make him happy. Thus begins her change as she finds out Dare’s true financial position and takes it on admirably, not the way a vain and superficial woman would. Her unhappy marriage changed her more than she realised.However, as things start going well something absolutely horrific happens and only someone as strong-willed and eccentric as Charlotte could've handled it, otherwise this book would've ended in truly tragic circumstances.Charlotte's growth from a girl so fixated on what the ton think of her and the superficial need for a handsome husband with a title and bags of money, to a woman who just wants a husband to love her and for her to love in return, is wonderful. This book beats her down and reshapes her into someone you'd be proud to call a friend.She goes from:"Are you telling me you ran off to marry knowing that your father disapproved of your husband, knowing he would disinherit you, knowing that such an elopement would cause a scandal that would even now keep all the doors of Society closed to you, and yet you did it not for love, but because you were bored?"To:"What brings heartache?""Life," Charlotte replied, closing her eyes and giving in to the pain that filled her. "It seems like all I've done lately is fight for what I want, but for what purpose? I fought to come back to England and ended up penniless and unwanted by my own family. I fought to marry Dare and ended up a burden around his neck, driving him deeper into despair with his worry about my life with him. I fought to show him that I would stand by him, that I love him no matter what happens, and yet everything positive in my life -Dare being the exception- everything I've fought for has been stripped from me. [...] The problem is that I'm not necessary. There is no rhyme or reason to me. I am needed by no one. Ladies of our class are useless, worse than useless, dependent on everyone for everything, from cooking their meals to dressing themselves. When's the last time you dressed yourself, Caro? Combed your own hair? You see? I'm no better than the rest of our class. All I've been raised to do is look pretty and entertain people and spend my husband's money. There's no future in any of that for me -Dare wouldn't notice if I suddenly sprouted an extra limb or two, there's no one left in the ton other than you who will acknowledge me, and I have to admit that a lifetime spent with the sole purpose of entertaining you is not what I'm looking for in a life goal, and as for spending money, there's nothing to be spent."On a different note: Batsfoam, Dare's butler and all-round manservant, is hilarious. First impressions had me thinking he was a champion of sarcasm but really he's a fan of long-winded melancholy monologues at his master's expense. Still funny though. I loved his military reaction to Charlotte, acting as if she's his superior officer and the part when he tries to aid in her pursuit of sex with her husband by destroying Dare's bed and forcing him to share his wife's:"There was a small fire, my lord. Nothing serious, and it was extinguished almost immediately, but not before the flames rendered the mattress unsuitable." -Batsfoam's shortest ever response to anything. That alone should've seemed suspect.I want to give this a high rating but I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to and was actually left feeling a little low despite the happy ending but I do think it's a good, worthwhile book.One of my favourite quotes:"I tried, I honestly tried! I wore naughty underwear, I allowed him to catch me en dishabille on many occasions, and I even sought advice from the local strumpet as to how to arouse the passion of Antonio's manly instrument, but to no avail. His instrument resisted all my efforts. I think it hated me," she added darkly."Oh, I'm sure that wasn't-""It wouldn't even twitch for me! [...] It wouldn't make even the slightest effort on my behalf. If that's not cruel and petty minded of a manly instrument, well, I don't know what is!"