Publisher/Year Published: January 2012 by Spencerhill Associates Ltd
Where I got it: NetGalley in trade for an honest review
Rating: 3/5 stars
Challenges: Reading Romance January Challenge
One title to change his life…Browsing through NetGalley one day, I stumbled upon a very pretty cover (as you can see) and an equally intriguing summary. And the story I have to say lives up to that summary.
A disgraced son with a dark reputation, William “Ferguson” Avenel is content to live in exile – until his father dies in the scandal of the Season. With rumors of insanity swirling around them, his sisters desperately need a chaperone. Ferguson thinks he’s found the most proper woman in England – and he won’t ruin her, even if he secretly desires the passionate woman trapped beneath a spinster’s cap.
One chance to break the rules…
Lady Madeleine Vaillant can’t face her blighted future without making one glorious memory for herself. In disguise, on a London stage, she finds all the adoration she never felt from the ton. But when she’s nearly recognized, she will do anything to hide her identity – even setting up her actress persona as Ferguson’s mistress. She’ll take the pleasure he offers, but Madeleine won’t lose her heart in the bargain.
One season to fall in love…
Every stolen kiss could lead to discovery, and Ferguson’s old enemies are determined to ruin them both. But as their dangerous passion ignites their hearts and threatens their futures, how can an heiress who dreams of freedom deny the duke who demands her love?
Madeline is a spinster almost ready to live her life alone, but not until she has one last hurrah. In her case, it is acting in a stage play of Hamlet. Ferguson is a misunderstood rake who desires nothing to do with being a duke and longs to return to Scotland. Both of the leads have strong and weak qualities to them, which is great in developing well rounded characters. I didn't love either of them, but I didn't hate them either, and I particularly enjoyed certain aspects of each. That is probably one of the more vauge statements that I have written. Let me see if I can extrapolate.
Let's take Madeline. She is courageous enough to step out of her shell and take a risk, but also overly cautious about love due to some issues from her past. At the same time, some of those issues almost come across as a bit petty. So that is why I don't really hate her, but I can't love her either.
I think what I enjoyed about them the most was their passion for each other. The romance/steamy scenes between the two of them was awesome. I really enjoyed all of that. True story, I had to turn the little overhead air fan on while reading on the airplane I was so flushed from reading the love scenes.
The story was particularly engaging and unique with the whole acting/mistress aspect. That is really where to story focuses. The weak parts have to come in the beginning. The first chapter was extremely hard for me to read because I kept getting confused. There was a serious backstory dump at the introduction of each new character, and since chapter one is where you meet most of the new characters, I was lost despite my slower reading speed. But once I sorted it all out getting into the story came easier. My next issue came at the end though. It seemed a bit anti-climactic and the happily ever after was just ... there. I didn't feel like too much conflict resolution had happened and it was all of a sudden okay. I don't know, this may be a little nit-picky.
Overall, I enjoyed it and that is what matters. I definitely enjoyed it enough to pick up the next one when it comes out. Who would I recommend this to? If you are historical romance reader looking for something that is different than the norm, check it out. Once your through the first chapter, its a good read :)