Saturday, May 17, 2008

Review - Whitney, My Love

Title: Whitney, My Love (special collector’s edition)
Author: Judith McNaught
Publishing Date: 1995
Genre: Historical
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm

Whitney Stone is a young head-strong girl of age fifteen, who is determined to marry Paul Sevarin. She is so outrageous in her attempts to win Paul that her father, who lacks control over Whitney, sends her to live with her Aunt Anne and Uncle Gilbert in France. There she blossoms into a beautiful young woman whom French society just adores with her fresh and direct manner. Whitney unknowingly catches the eye of the Duke of Claymore, Clayton Westmoreland. He knows immediate that he wants her and sets about a plan to get her. Whitney has other ideas though, and still aspires to marry her childhood love, Paul. What ensues is quite a love story of epic proportions.

What struck me first was the ability of Mrs. McNaught to immediately draw the reader into the story, by painting such a vivid picture of a young girl, Whitney. Whitney is quite a captivating character, richly drawn with a depth of personality. She can be obstinate and determined and yet she can also be soft and vulnerable too. She is no simpering ninny, but is contrite when she knows she did something wrong. In essence, she is infinitely likeable.

The hero of the story Clayton was every bit as well drawn as Whitney. What I liked about him was how he went about trying to woo Whitney. He already knew he was going to marry her and could force her if he wanted too. Yet he chose to give her time to come to know him and make her own decision. It was a lot of fun to read of their courtship and the witty repartee that they shared during this time.

It did turn ugly though, when inevitable the “big misunderstanding” occurred. McNaught really pulls the heartstrings of the reader, making them feel Whitney and Clayton’s pain. This occurs not once, not twice, but three times. Talk about an emotional roller coaster. If you are a reader who loves angst, there is plenty to go around in Whitney, My Love. This was a rich story that grips you emotionally and doesn’t let up.

*Note* The version I read was rewritten to be more politically correct. It has a new longer ending and added scenes. This makes me wonder what the original book was like if this one was considered the “tame” version. I shudder to imagine.

Here is what others had to say:

Reading All Night Long
All About Romance


nath said...

I have this one in my TBR pile, but I never read it. I read Until You first and I think it ruined it for me... I'm not all that fond of Whitney and Clayton... but it's good to hear that you enjoyed it.

Ana said...

I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I love Judith's writing and there are wonderful scenes in this book. It is full of angst and when I remember the scene at the church when they meet again after the infamous sex scene? amazing.


I read the first version and boy hated when he hurt her with the whip after the horse incident. and the rape thing? Unforgivable. And then AGAIN, he mistrusts her in the end and in my version? Half a page of nearly no grovelling. I needed much more grovel from Clayton for this to work for me.

How would these three sequences compare in the new version, Jill?

*End of spoilers*

If you loved Judith's writing style and likes Medieval then you MUST read a Kingdom of Dreams - full of the same angst and roller coaster emotions but without silly Big Mis - the misunderstandings here are very real and hurtful. Amazing book, one of the best romance novels I have ever read.

ames said...

I have a love/hate relationship with this book too and would like to know how the scenes are "tamed" down.

LOL Ana - I hate a Kingdom of Dreams!

Ana said...

LOL Ames, really? But but but why?

ames said...

Well I don't want to ruin for some people, but because Jennie was dumb! LOL

There's the horse (which broke my heart, animal lover that I am) and she totally picks the wrong side. Hmmm...don't know if I can say anymore without giving away spoilers. LOL

Jill D. said...


Ana, Clay takes the whip from Whitney and he sits down and forces her to lay herself across his knees, which she reluctantly does. Then when he is about to strike her he doesn't do it because she is sobbing uncontrollably and he realized she is very sorry. He then continues to comfort her while she cries it all out.

For the supposed rape scene, Clayton grabs Whitney from a party she is at and forcibly throws her in his carriage. He is very cold and won’t let her talk or explain anything and she has no idea what is wrong. He takes her to his home and rips her dress off her. He commands her to lie down on the bed and she does as she is told. Whitney knows what is going to happen and right before he enters her body, she puts her arms around him and kisses him to let him know she loves him and trusts him. He then rams himself into her and she screams out in pain. Clayton then pulls out and gets off of her and is quite tortured to realize she actually was a virgin. Whitney then rolls over and cries herself to sleep not wanting to hear anything that Clayton has to say.

Man, that scene was a mess. Actually all the misunderstandings had my heart beating in double time. I thought at one point during the third misunderstanding I was going to have a heart-attack, LOL. I do love me some angst, though and McNaught is the queen.

I have read A Kingdom of Dreams and I loved it. I was actually thinking of doing a reread because of reading Whitney, My Love. It brought back fond memories!

Ames are you thinking of The Wolf and The Dove? I remember the heroine killing the hero's horse in that book.

ames said...

I would say Jennie kills his horse in this book too. Yeah she's a prisoner and she's duty bound to attempt escape, but she killed his horse!!

And then picking her own family over her husband, and not realizing until he's almost dead that she made the wrong choice? Nope. Doesn't work for me. LOL

Rowena said...

Oi Ames, not again..she didn't mean to do it just like he didn't mean to kill her brother! Must we go over this each and every time?

I loved this book!

And the whole family thing....come on now, it's not like it was her next door neighbor's best friend's cousin's husband's family, it was HERS, no matter how dumb they were to the both of them.

I loved this book!


Rowena said...

Oh and good review Jill, I liked this book but not as much as the other books by JM...have you read any of her other stuff? I totally recommend that you do if you don't.

Ana said...

Oh Jill,

in my copy he goes ahead with the whiping and beats her!! A Big NO-NO in my book. And there is no kissing in the rape scene - just cold hearted rape. OK, later he is taken with regrets but now it's too late Clayton, isnt it?


And Ames, she does kill his horse, but it was a terrible accident and she felt really bad for it. :( I was very sad too. But that was the beginning of their love story , that was when they really talked for the first time.

ames said...

I know it was an accident. LOL But she just got on my nerves. :P

Jill D. said...

Rowena, Yes I have read some of her other books. I have read Perfect and Paradise, which I loved and I think Remember When, which was okay.

Ana, I have to say, it is a good think I didn't read the original story because I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much. I will tolerate a lot, but whipping someone and rape is not on the list.

Anonymous said...

You should read Almost Heaven - it is her absolute best historical in my opinion. Good strong hero - no beating involved!

Jill D. said...

Hi Anonymous, Thanks for stopping by. I definitely plan on reading more of McNaughts books. I look into Almost Heaven.

Anonymous said...

I read and liked the first version of this book despite hearing mixed reactions with the so-called 'beating' and 'rape' scenes. In fact I was just surprised that people found those scenes offensive. Clayton Westmoreland is an arrogant and proud man who had loved Whitney with such ferocius intensity in which perfectly explains his actions towards her. His not the gentle, boy-next door type who won't hurt a fly when provoked. You have to look into Clayton's character to be able to understand. I'm not saying it's right, but in the heat of emotion anything is possible. Have you ever been so repulsively angry to the person you love the most in the world that you almost want to hurt her? It's just human nature guys.

Prathiba said...

i too love whitney my love... its truly one of the best "feel good" in the end book... its one my all time fav romance novels... until u is pretty dumb... i first read "something wonderful"... liked the way the author wrote... not too intense... not too mushy... not too candy sweet... jus cute sweet romance... but not as baseless as mills and boons...
and even i did not find the rape scene or the whipping scenes all that bad... its jus the characters r set such.. and its not modern day to demand equal rights for men and women... and expect that husband will not be abusive... its olden times... so... whtever:)
nwz happy reading guys! and ur style of writing a review is good... but again like all critics its one sided:) and i dnt agree with ur rating:)

Anonymous said...

Well, its time for me to give my reviews. I finally had the courage to read Whitney, My Love. I doubted it at first, I told myself..this is the book among Judith Novels that I ought shouldn't read because of all the feedbacks and reviews I first read. It gives me quiver because according to what I've read, this book ain't romance at all and they have given negative impressions to Clayton and Whitney. I never meant to read the reviews before reading the book but my curiosity about this novel arose after I have read Kingdom of Dreams since the review there says that the hero in this book is also a Westmoreland. And so that explains it...I came up reading comments on Whitney, My Love and my heart sank on what I have found out. I thought this book was wonderful since it is a best-selling novel, but to my surprise, there were many negative feedbacks which cause me to a conclusion not to read this book. I adores Judith McNaught and I don't want that to vanish just because of this book (as what some readers put on their reviews). But then, a realization in me also develops and I told myself not to put a conclusion only based on the opinions of other readers. I need to find it out myself as well so that I could definitely believe this isn't one good Romance story. And I gather the courage....guess what I have found out.

Whitney, My Love is one of my favorite! I love it! The story brought tears in me thrice while reading it. The reviews almost had me fool when I had decided not to read this, and I will regret it for sure! This is indeed romance! Obviously and definitely a Love Story! The story here depicts what "Love conquers all" can say that no matter how arrogant, how foolish, stupid or childish one person can be, love can change that. Love will makes you humble, will let you mature and make you a better person. That's what and how this story convey to the readers. Misunderstandings, great trials, quarrels and everything are part of the human may make us jealous, make us insane, make us selfish but that Love, when it reigns can turn all those down. It conquers all! And in this story, it does not only explains what love is...but it let us see and understand what True Love is and how it works!

Now, don't be deceive by mere opinions because everybody is entitled to that. Instead, make yourself come out with an opinion not based on others but on your own findings. People may react on this, but I just wanted to make you understand that I had only given my own point-of-views based on what I had to say..and this is my own, my right as well.

Though, Whitney My Love is the fourth book I have read among Judith McNaught's novel, it already ranked 2nd to me, next to Paradise which is my most loved so far. The other two books are Someone to Watch Over Me and Kingdom of Dreams. After this, I wanted to read Until You to continue the story of the Westmorelands, but I guess, I'll be reading Once and Always before it because this is the available book with me now. Haven't had time to find Until You.

Will post more reviews...thanks anyway.
Once again, two thumbs up for Judith McNaught for the special edition of Whitney, My Love.

Spread some cheers!

Anonymous said...

I read whitney my love, the old version and loved it. Yes the rape scene did kinda freak me out but for the overall story I thought it was great. I haven't yet had the chance to read any other of her books but am planning to do so. I thought the angst in the book set it apart from other romance novels and really helped it shine on its own. ONE OF MY FAVORITES! hope you guys enjoy it!

The Romance Reviewer said...

love, love, love this book! McNaught is my all time favorite. I've read practically every historical she wrote, and Whitney stands out as the best in my opinion! Too bad she had to throw in some controversal scenes, causing people to degrate this book!