Friday, November 23, 2012
Lessons From a Scandalous Bride
Cleopatra grew up in poverty watching her mother bear and bury babies year after year because her cruel stepfather could not control himself. She is determined never to subject herself to that sort of life and her opinion does not change when her long lost father shows up and offers her riches beyond imagining. Cleo goes to live with Jack Hadley and he is willing to do anything to ensure his three long lost daughters marry into the peerage. Because of her desire to avoid the marriage bed and childbirth she settles for the aged, and crippled, Lord Thrumgoodie, even though her dowry could attract other men and his own family members believe her a whoring title-hunter. She hopes that once she is married she will have the financial independence to provide for her half-siblings and her mother and save them from her stepfather. Lord Logan McKinney is in London to find himself a heiress so he can use her finds to renovate his crumbling Scottish estate. His sister points him in the direction of Libba, granddaughter of Thrumgoodie, but it is Libba's future step-grandma who catches his attention.
Cleo is beautiful and withdrawn and she pulls at Logan in a way no other woman ever have, but he cannot figure out why she is choosing someone old and entirely unlike herself. Logan is everything that Cleo wishes to avoid; handsome, young, virile, and he draws her far too much for her own good so she does everything she can to avoid being with him and giving into the feelings she has for him. Logan sets out to woo Cleo and convince her that an old man is no match for her lively spirit and finds that the easies way to do this is to seduce her. With no choice left Cleo tells Logan about her childhood and how she shouldered the responsibility of her household and lost so many brother's and sisters, but he knows that running away from her fears is not what Cleo should do. When the two of them are caught in a compromising position he believes he has found his time to help Cleo through her fears and show her that life can be happy when two partners work with each other for their mutual benefit. Cleo must overcome her fears and learn to trust someone else and when she does it will be Logan who is there to help her.
Cleo was strong and responsible and scared and flawed and I loved that it was the heroine who had a haunted past that scared her from marriage instead of the hero. Her fear of becoming pregnant and having her babies die was a very scary reality that women faced in those days and I can really see why someone would be incredibly scared of that, especially because of her experiences. It was a much more realistic reason to be scared of marriage than the half-assed explanations heroes use in most romance novels. Logan was very self aware and confident and he went after what he wanted. I really liked Logan because he wasn't scared of his feelings for Cleo and treated her well while he was pursuing her without coddling her fears. He didn't apologize for being a fortune hunter because he knew he was doing what was best for his family and his estate, but he didn't allow himself to feel guilty for what he was doing. I loved Logan and Cleo together because they were each strong where the other wasn't so strong and they complimented each other in that sense.
They spent a lot of time together and they had a lot of opportunities to explore each other's pasts and learn about the other and once they got to his estate it was easy to see how well they worked together and how their future would play out. There was a super strong attraction between these two and they had tremendous difficulty keeping their hands off each other even though Cleo was desperately trying to fight it. There was not a lot of sex and it was all in the second half of the book and much of it was cut short, but their was just a sense of lust throughout the book so it felt like the book was far sexier than it actually was. I really enjoyed this book because there was no side plot or murder or anything of that nature, but because these two each had such a well developed history there was still a lot going on in this book and it never felt lacking. The writing was as fast and fun as Jordan always is and the novel flowed very naturally and was very well written.
Rating: A wonderful book with two very enjoyable characters with a very strong relationship in a novel that was a joy to read.