He Should’ve Stayed Dead: Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries

The first wedding night that Lady Juliana St. Albans spent with the dark and daring Rhys Vaughan was intoxicating, the heady culmination of her new husband’s driving hunger and her own awakened sensuality. When he mysteriously disappeared the next morning, she waited for him in hope and desperation. And when he was finally proclaimed dead in a shipwreck, she bitterly mourned the loss of her love.

The second wedding night that Juliana spent with Rhys Vaughan was six years later, after he returned to claim her just as she was about to wed another. This Rhys was different—bolder, harder, and convinced that she’d betrayed him. Only their blazing passion remains from their years apart. But is it enough to light their way through the maze of mystery, menace, and mistrust—to the love they once shared and would have to find again?

Source: GoodReads

Remember, how I was griping the other day—okay, last post about reunited love interests who should call it quit?

This is another one of those books.

So, get out the liquor folks because I’m going to bitch and moan about Stormswept.

Yeah, I know, me bitching and moaning nothing really new there. The thing is, I sort of do it to myself. When done right, I love reunion stories especially if it involves high drama. What can I say, but I was a soap opera baby (I grew up on ABC soaps). So back from the dead, marriages that hadn’t been quite yet annulled, all that good stuff gets me reading. The thing is, in romance especially—Stormswept being a prime example the fallout is often handled in a despicable way where the bad guys aren’t punished, the hero has suffered so it gives him every right to be a douche, and the heroine suffers from a little too much TSTL.

This all occurred in Stormswept. To be fair, it was originally written in the 90’s BUT the book had been revised. Some of the problem tropes of that era—and yes, there were problem tropes—still existed in the revision.

Okay, a lot of these tropes did.

Whenever I review something, I always try to list something positive believe it or not. I know as of late, I’ve been whining a lot about my reading choices and to be honest I sort of hate that. I love reading, and I do try to find something nice to say about each book I read and for this book I will say it had trope after trope that sucked me in.   Which made the reading experience, at least swift.

Okay, nice bits over. The execution of the tropes, the characters. HATED.




I had a problem with both leads.

The main lead had to be the most immature, dumbest twenty-one year old I’ve read about in awhile. I could buy her maybe being fifteen or sixteen, but not twenty-one or later twenty-seven/twenty-eight. Yes, I understand she was sheltered but for a lady of that period, she would’ve been a little less naïve. Or at least known better than to have smacked lips with a guy at a meeting you weren’t supposed to attend. Besides being extremely stupid, the lead is way too forgiving. Like I expressed in my review for Somewhere I’ll Find You, I’d like for once for the lead to give the returned “tormented” hero the boot when he acts like a asshole for no reason. But nope, completely forgives the boob. She even let’s her treat him horribly when someone offers to tell the douche the truth because he needed to see the truth for himself.

In other words, Jefferies wanted to add thirty or forty extra pages to the readers misery.

That wasn’t sarcasm.

I just couldn’t figure out why Juliana didn’t just have her brother and Rhys’s friend tell the truth. It was clear that Rhys was too pigheaded to realize the truth, and it wasn’t like Juliana was actively doing anything to convince him otherwise except having sex with him.

And yes, I know, sex is the cure for anything in historical romance.

Rolls eyes.

As insipid as I found Juliana, she wasn’t near as bad as Rhys.

God, I hated this fucker more than I hated Jordan in Something Wonderful and if you’ve read my review of that book, you know I wanted Alexandra to ditch his ass for sweet Tony.

Well, at least Jordan’s douche-ness was countered with logic, Rhys though not so much….

I mean, it’s blatantly obvious that Juliana did not betray him. But of course, Rhys can’t get a clue and is controlling. He basically imprisons Juliana until she has sex with him.

True thing.

Once she spreads her legs, he’s like okay you can ride your horse now. But before then…


And yes, I get he was tortured we were told about it, but this is where some fucking flashbacks could’ve helped the hero’s cause.   Again—I keep making comparisons to it, but the books were so similar—Something Wonderful at least had one or two scenes of Jordan being tortured. It at least allows us to know what happened to the douche, so we don’t outright hate him.

But with Rhys, just get over yourself you annoying crybaby.

I mean, seriously, all he had to do was have one mature conversation with Juliana. And yes, I know, it’s Juliana but still…one fucking conversation and the book would’ve been a lot better.

I think the thing that got me the angriest about this particular stinker was that the villain was never really punished. And boy do we have a particular nasty villain named Darcy of all things.

Sorry, Mr. Darcy.

Really, though was the name supposed to make me like him a bit more? Because it didn’t. If anything it made me hate him because he was running one of literature’s sexiest hero’s names.

Boo to you, Darcy. That’s more than what most of the cast in the novel did to you. As a reader we want payoff. Having a character do so many wretched things, like Darcy, isn’t going to make him endearing to us.   We want him to suffer. Giving him a piss poor motive, and a slap on the wrist isn’t what the reader wants.

Then again, that’s what they did with Elizabeth Webber after she kept the secret about Jason’s identity for almost a year on GH so…

Yeah, that storyline sucked too because no payoff. We at least need someone to slap Darcy. Personally, I’d like to see Rhys pummel him but to forgive over one dinner and a big fat donation.


Obviously, I don’t recommend this one. It is flawed even with a rewrite. If you like these tropes read the frequently referenced book (Something Wonderful). It has its problems with a douchey character, but at least there is a payoff and the heroine is not a big fat moron.

Overall Rating: C-