Night Jasmine Book Club!

Welcome to the inaugural meeting of Night Jasmine Book Club. Since The Temptation of the Night Jasmine just made its official public appearance a very short while ago, I will try to keep any questions with potential spoilers in them beneath the fold– and save the really spoiler heavy questions for next month.

In the meantime, here’s our kick-off question:

Talk about Robert, the Duke of Dovedale. What were your first impressions of him? Did they change as the novel progressed?

As a related, slightly more spoiler-ish question:

“For a moment, Robert was tempted to confide in her, to tell her the whole sordid story of the Colonel’s death and Wrothan’s disappearance. It would be a relief to have someone else to talk to” [page 78]. Why didn’t Robert tell Charlotte why he had returned to Girdings House? Do you think he should have confided in her sooner than he ultimately did?


  1. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on February 3, 2009 at 5:02 am

    First impressions…very much a young Sharpe returned for India sort of vibe, but obviously with a big secret…why did he leave in the first place, why is he back now without any advance warning? In other words, his arrival is a perfect fit for Charlotte and her novel immersed imagination…a hero returned just for her. Also in the hero guise, he doesn’t confide in her for “her protection”.

  2. Kristen on February 3, 2009 at 7:44 am

    He confused me at first. I couldn’t understand why he could not tell Charlotte. It’s not like his reason for returning was dishonorable. I guess I’m just to modern thinking to understand this, but he did frustrate me throughout the novel. Probably more than any of the previous guys.

    Other than that, he came off as a very likeable person. He has a very deep sense of honor, and I found that to be very refreshing, but also slightly frustrating for the above reasons.

  3. Jessica S on February 3, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    I agree with Kristen. I didn’t see why he couldn’t tell her…unless he had the whole inferiority thing that her grandmother did her best to reinforce.

    He seems like the most grounded of the heroes, although Geoff is a close second. Not having grown up in privilege, and actually working for a living in the army…it was interesting to see the ton through his eyes. He seemed to realize and accept that not everything goes his way. No offense to the others, but Vaughn simply insists on things going his way, Richard is having trouble with giving up his career (and kind of pouting about it), Miles is just Miles. Geoff had to deal with his family’s death, which puts him in the close-second category. Robert has had a lot of loss and other events he couldn’t control in his life and it’s grounded him more.

  4. nancy on February 3, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    i am a big Robert fan too– as Kristen and Jessica said, I liked how grounded he was. He seemed more honorable and less selfish than heroes often are (not *your* heroes, but heroes generally). i also wondered at why he didn’t feel he could confide in charlotte, but his view of her as unsullied and innocent (and her own admission of preferring safety and comfort to adventure, however well she might handle the dangerous bits), made it understandable that he wouldn’t want to draw her into dark and dishonorable doings. I don’t know how you do it, but your characters keep getting better and better!

  5. Susan on February 3, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Lord Robert is a 21st century man trapped in the early 19th Century. He is every females vision of the ideal man. Does not seem realistic.

    I still liked the novel. Nice escapism

  6. Megan on February 3, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    I liked Robert from the beginning. Maybe because he seemed more natural, less practiced and refined than his peers. Considering his background and career path, he had to face a lot of things that members of the ton never had occasion to even think about. But they were things that didn’t matter much in Charlotte’s world. He was the proverbial outsider yet adopted the life of the ton so smoothly, if reluctantly. He thought he didn’t fit, yet he did. But in the end I don’t think he changed all that much, except maybe to truly believe that things could be better, could be happier.

    As for not telling Charlotte…
    If he had told Charlotte earlier than he ultimately did, the whole outcome may have been different (despite this being a preconceived fictional story). Charlotte was living in a perfect fantasy world of her own making. Robert fit right in – so she thought. I don’t think she was ready for reality. Robert would not have been able to live up to Charlotte’s ideal. He’s human, after all. Charlotte realized throughout the book that reality is not like her books. They both realized that enchantments don’t last. But they also came to realize that they could have something even better in reality. Each other.

  7. Megan on February 3, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    And I have to ask…Will we ever find out who our French spy is??

  8. Lauren on February 3, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    We’ll meet the Frenchman for real in books VII & VIII. Under current plans, he plays a very, very big role in Book VIII.

  9. Kristen on February 3, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Susan- I’m going to have to completely disagree with you. I found him to be very early 19th century and my 21st century mindset found it frustrating.

    I’d love to know why you think he’s very 21st century.

  10. Megan on February 3, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Wonderful! Can’t wait…

  11. Melody on February 3, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    I thought Robert was a very likable character. = D

  12. Jessica S on February 3, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    There’s going to be a Book VIII? Excellent news, b/c I know at one point you had “plans” for six books. Total bonus!

  13. Whitney Daly on February 3, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    In the beginning I felt that Robert was too perfect in Charlotte’s eyes, because no man could be that flawless. He was a nice guy, but I think that he ultimately knew he was going to hurt Charlotte and just let it happen.He tries to warn her with the whole rotten apples bit, and she doesn’t listen.I do acknoledge the fact that part of the fault was hers for looking at him with blind adoration, but what does he do to try and stop this? He kisses her? I was very annoyed with him for not telling Charlotte about the spying thing. I feel like had he told her they would have come to understand each other quicker, but it did make for a more interesting story. I have to say I love that she hears trumpets whenever he comes by because it’s so Charlotte and so not what Robert perceives himself as. Robert sees himself as a man without pretensions of granduer yet fails to recognize the fact that he does indeed have the potential to be grand. Charlotte, on the other hand, notices this immediately and she tends to keep her impression of this throughout the book.

  14. Shannon on February 3, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    I agree with the people who said at first Robert seemed a little too perfect, but I also agree with the ones who said he seems the most grounded.

    I too wasn’t quite sure why Robert wouldn’t tell Charlotte why he had returned to England. But thinking about it now, I agree with their talk of the enchantments and how things end. Maybe he just wanted to be somewhere else for a while and not think about his duties and obligations. I just had a weekend of carefree fun with my best friend and it was hard to come back to reality and go to work yesterday.

  15. Jen on February 4, 2009 at 12:37 am

    I liked Robert from the start. He does seem to be the most grounded of characters thus far. I think he does change throughout the course of the book.

    As for not telling Charlotte…Things would have turned out much differently had he informed her at the beginning. If he had, I don’t know that Charlotte would have realized that he’s not a character from one of her books until much later. And perhaps suffered more disappointment when the realization hit.

  16. Tammy on February 4, 2009 at 10:21 am

    I was very frustrated with Robert – keeping his task a secret, seemingly leading Charlotte on, etc. But I do understand his need for escape, and her fanciful imaginary world was a great escape.

    It was interesting to see him from a childhood-memory viewpoint. I loved the book, but I didn’t “click” as well with Robert as some of the past heroes. I think it was his own confusion that confused me! 🙂

  17. Lauren on February 4, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    My own personal take on Robert is that he’s one of those guys who comes across as very assured but is anything but inside. Unlike a Vaughn, who shoots his mouth off at every opportunity, Robert has learned that the less you say, the more impressive you appear. I described him the other day in a Q&A as a “confused Great Dane”– big and impressive looking, fundamentally good-natured, but not nearly so formidable as he looks. Fundamentally, he’s a good guy, but not a very strong-willed one (if that makes sense). I was thinking about it last night, after reading through these posts, and decided that he’s the flip side of Geoff in a lot of ways. Geoff comes across as nondescript, but is really fairly forceful, while Robert comes across as heroic, but doesn’t really know what he’s doing.

    What do you think?

  18. Jessica S on February 4, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I think that “flip side of Geoff” is a good description. As I mentioned above, I see a connection between the two, since both have had to deal with reality at a pretty young age. I think these early life events shaped them both: Geoff is meticulous and plans to the tiniest detail to avoid the unknown, while Robert developed an inferiority complex in response to his father’s debauchery (in the face of their Landsdowne relatives, especially).

    I think this is what makes Charlotte his perfect complement, since she appears fragile, dreamy, and sweet but is actually made of very stern stuff. Not to say she isn’t dreamy or sweet, but she has a streak of iron that will serve Robert well.

  19. AngelB on February 5, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    I’m as lost about Robert as as Robert is about himself. Out of all of the “heroes” in the series, he definitely sounds the best looking. 🙂

    To be honest, I just didn’t feel the connection with him yet. While we have his background info, we haven’t really seen him being himself in his element. So, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him as he adjusts to life in the ton. I see a job at the War Office maybe in his future???

    And duh, of course he should have confided in Charlotte, but 1) he’s a man; and 2) what kind of story would it have been if he told her? A story is not nearly as interesting if the hero/heroine would have been on the same page the whole time. Isn’t the whole point of romance books is the whole should he/should she, no, well, maybe, okay, no, Yes!! drama?


  20. Kristin on February 7, 2009 at 1:35 am

    I LOVE this series SOOO much! I am an English major at the University of Illinois and my friends come to me for book recommendations (I read… A LOT) and I never let the opportunity pass by to tell people about these books… when is the next one coming out? I absolutely cannot wait to find out what happens next?

  21. Ashley on February 8, 2009 at 1:38 am

    As far as Robert seeming perfect at the beginning, we were seeing him from Charlotte’s point of view. Even though we know his background and what’s going on, Charlotte sees him as her ideal man. I think it’s that way in the beginning of any relationship: you only want to see the good in someone and have them completely live up to your expectations. As the relationship progresses (as does Charlotte and Robert’s), the rose-colored glasses come off and the real personality is revealed. I really liked him as a character, though.

    As for not telling Charlotte, I think in some ways he was protecting her and in other ways protecting himself. He’s had to be independent for so long, to take care of things his way and make things happen. I’m not sure he would know how to let her be involved. I see why he wouldn’t want to her to be. It was a pretty sticky situation, what with the orgies and all! 🙂

  22. Desiree on February 8, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    I think Robert thought at some point that if he told her she would try to help and then they would have more problems. I am pretty sure I read that some where. But in the end she did get involved in just another way.
    I think he knew when he showed up that she would have this idea of a knight in shining armor and if he told he the truth it would hurt her. When all said and done he hurt her any way.
    It would have been easier if he was honest and grandma kept her nose out of it and our new Delaroche/flower spy wanna be stayed on the other side of the water.

  23. Christie on February 27, 2009 at 1:11 am

    Robert is a man of action. He has spent little time with “ladies”. What can we expect from him. I think his feelings for Charlotte suprised him. He was unsure if they were just physical. He is clear that felt she deserved better and truely cared for her as a person, idolized her actually. Who wants to screw up their little innocent cousin. I think he didn’t know he loved her until they were separated.

    If he had brought her into the spying mess, she would have wanted to help. This would be dangerous. (Was he protecting her from the bad guys or himself? Hmmm…). The orgy part doesn’t help. As for the interlude on the roof, he is only human.

    I do think he was the most grounded, most handsome and the most real “man” of all your heroes. A perfect knight for Charlotte. Thanks for another GREAT book!

  24. Samantha on February 27, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Robert, while I liked him, upset me because he didn’t listen to Charlotte’s admittedly convoluted thoughts about why they couldn’t be together. I assume that he realized his mistake in the interval when Charlotte is moping at Girdings at the end, but I really wish we had been given more insight into his thoughts at that time. He seemed fixated on Charlotte in her prior state, and didn’t realize that she had matured past her fairy tale dreams.

  25. James Joyce on July 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Well researched site – I love Bernard Cornwell’s work! – Will look to incorporate some of your ideas into my site. Thanks!

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