About the Book Series
“A Kingdom of Dreams” was written by Judith McNaught, published 1989, and I consider it to be one of the best romance novels I have ever read. I am a fan of Judith McNaught’s work and this to me is one of her finest. Any Girl looking for a solid romance can be reassured that they will adore her writing. Unlike most romantic authors, Judith McNaugt’s heroes and heroines do not appear to be repeated with different names, they actually have personalities.
The romance is thrilling and the problems feel immediate and real. (Well, as real as possible considering it is a Romance novel.) “A Kingdom of Dreams” is the first novel in her Historical romance novel series, “The Westmoreland Saga” which is about the Dukes of Westmoreland (Fictional British Dukes). It is set in 16th century Scotland and England.
This Synopsis was taken from the Goodreads.
Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as “The Wolf”; his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will… until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web… a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.
My Overall Thoughts
I really liked “A Kingdom of Dreams”, in the romance novel genre, I feel like this is one the best offerings. The characters are interesting without being obnoxious; the setting is captivating, and the storytelling superb. Scotland in the 1500s feels so completely exotic and alluring. The story pulls you in and the romantic interaction between the leads leaves you wanting more. Nothing more you could ask of a romance novel.
The Best Parts of the Novel
“A kingdom of Dreams” is a very well written romance novel. It may not be a literary classic, but it entertains and fulfills our need for romance immensely.
The characters felt believable and more importantly, they felt intense. When Jennifer is abducted you truly feel afraid for her, when the Duke kisses her you feel his passion. The characters start off as unknowns (and in the Duke’s case disliked), then you grow to love them through the story as they grow to love each other. They are developed consistently and the reader feels swept away into their story. Their feelings are well reasoned and their decisions understandable (even if we disagree). Truly well-written main characters.
While the characterization and interaction between characters setting and plot is well-developed and complex; the theme boils down to love conquers all. (Like most romance novels). This is a kind of a big drawback of not just “A Kingdom of Dreams”, but the whole genre overall. In my opinion, the best writing occurs when the author addresses multiple important themes, messages and controversial issues.
You can take any example of any classic novel, or best-selling literature (e.g. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, A Song of ice and Fire by G.R.R.M, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte) and you will find that they do not shy away from difficult and meaningful themes; which is why they are great, whereas this novel is merely good fun.
Oh and a quick side note: merely showing an issue is not enough, you have to address and resolve it and it has to have an impact on the characters and storyline for it to matter. For example if your character beats their wife, yet this does not either get resolved, be addressed/have consequences, then it would be better to leave it out.
The setting is one of my favorite aspects of “A Kingdom of Dreams”. From 16th Century Scotland to16th Century England, the historical setting is well established and thrilling. As you will know by now, if you read our blog, I am a HUGE fan of Fantasy, and part of that comes from enjoying historical settings so much. For some people historical settings are off-putting, but for me they are the best parts of a series. I love me a good old-timey book. This one is well done and I enjoyed the setting immensely.
One of the reasons why “A Kingdom of Dreams” stands out from the hordes of mediocre romance novels is that it has an actual plot. Don’t get me wrong the story is still focused on getting the two main leads together, but the conflict feels real. The issues faced are not trivial and contrived, but can at times be heart-wrenching and intense.
Things That Were Meh
I find the story a little too explicit for my taste, but thats just a personal complaint. Overall the only bad things to say about this one is that the due to the setting, there are violent interpersonal exchanges between the leads, which can be very jarring and unsettling. Also, the clichéd Big Misunderstanding, is used to further plot tension and while it works, it can seem to drag on. On the whole it is a good book, and while it is fun and thrilling to read, I is not truly one of the greats due to afore-mentioned reasoning.
My Final Thoughts
Overall liked the novel, would re-read, and suggest that you give it a go, if you are a romance fan. If you are not a romance fan, DON’T read it, it will probably be too cringe-y for you.
This review is the Author’s opinion, the author does not claim anything stated here as fact. If you disagree with anything written in this article please do not hesitate to sound of in the comments down below. However, please keep in mind that the author is not liable for any information stated in this post. It is purely opinion.
The Novel “A Kingdom of Dreams” and all of its materials are owned by Judith McNaught. We are merely using some of them in this post to illustrate a point (fair use). If you wish for your materials to be taken down please contact us and we will remove them immediately.