Friday, December 7, 2012
Too Tempting to Resist
Lady Eliza Brentford has endured one horrible marriage to save her family from complete financial ruin and refuses to do so again just because her younger brother has squandered the family fortune in gambling hells and brothels. She searches for him at a notorious house of ill repute where she encounters the Marquess of Hadden, Gryffin Dwight, a notorious hell raiser. The two share a moment over a discussion about a painting and discover they both have a love for botany and a certain spark ignites. But Hadden hides his true passion from the world; he is currently writing a book about gardens and plants and so when Eliza's brother invites him to a house party he jumps at the chance to explore the famous gardens at the estate. Eliza is not happy that her brother has decided to host a party of fellow drunkards and hell raisers and stays out of the way as much as possible, locked up in the gardener's cottage where she engages in her secret pursuit as an illustrator for books about flowers. But a chance encounter in the garden with the man who had so intrigued her at the brothel has her wondering if there is something more exciting than flowers and paints in store for her.
When curiosity gets the best of her she finds herself chained to Hadden's bed and she decides it's about time she took something for herself and she give into the passion she has been hiding for so long. Hadden knows he wants more of the beautiful young widow but for Eliza, Hadden stands in the way of her long held dream to become financially independent and move to a cottage on the coast where she no longer has to worry about her brother. Luckily a new commission has come in and she will finally have enough to make her dreams come true, but what she doesn't know is that it is for Hadden's book and when he discovers that she has been keeping this a secret from him he is furious, and even more so when he finds that one of her paintings is being auctioned off as a forgery for a famous painters. But Eliza is in a bind of her own as her brother's friend has been using this possible forged painting to blackmail her into marrying him and she has no one to turn to but Hadden. But Hadden is not about to let anyone hurt the woman he loves, the woman who has shown him what a relationship can be and nothing will stand in the way of their happiness.
Lady Eliza is super fun and exciting from the very beginning and it was impossible not to like her because she was smart and independent in a way that seemed very real and possible. She cared about people, she wasn't scared of her feelings, she enjoyed her life and was comfortable with her sexuality, and she was willing to admit mistakes and forgive herself and others. Hadden was exciting and fun and really not all that different from romance novel heroes as he's the bad guy with something he has to hide from society- in this case his love of plants. I felt like Hadden and Eliza worked really well together and their conversations were enjoyable and full of genuine back-and-forth that clearly showed that they were equals with something real to hold their relationship together. Their was amazing sexual tension between the two of them throughout the book that remains sizzling. There is a lot of sex, not too much, and all of it is super sexy and very well written and pretty imaginative for the period. I admit to being completely uninterested in plants and flowers in the way that botanists are, and I found it a little odd that they both happened to be enamored of the same obscure things and I was occasionally bored when there would be little spiels about plants and the language of flowers.
I did like that they both had something they were passionate about and they had dreams and aspirations, which might make them a little too modern but I still liked it. Eliza's brother was quite an ass and I liked that she did not make so many excuses for him and could recognize that he was not good people. The blackmail scheme came out of the blue towards the end and I really felt like it was awkwardly thrown in there. It also frustrated me that someone who had come across as so intelligent did not go straight to Hadden and instead tried to solve it herself. Independence has it's place, but I would have liked for her to recognize she needed help. And Hadden also came across a little stupid for jumping to the wrong conclusion randomly despite all that he knew about Eliza's character. I think because of the chemistry I enjoyed the book, even though the book took me longer than expected, and I found it tough to put down despite the length and tiny writing. The book flowed well with the great writing and diction, but I found this to be about average.
Rating: A fairly enjoyable book with two great characters with great chemistry but an awkward side plot and some holes that created a dragged out feeling.