|Mass Market Paperback, 392 pages|
Published November 1st 2006
by Warner Forever
There comes a time in a lady's life...
Widowed Anna Wren is having a wretched day. After an arrogant male on horseback nearly squashes her, she arrives home to learn that she is in dire financial straits.
When she must do the unthinkable...
The Earl of Swartingham is in a quandary. Having frightened off two secretaries, Edward de Raaf needs someone who can withstand his bad temper and boorish behavior.
And find employment.
When Anna becomes the earl's secretary, it would seem that both their problems are solved. Then she discovers he plans to visit the most notorious brothel in London for his "manly" needs. Well! Anna sees red—and decides to assuage her "womanly" desires...with the earl as her unknowing lover.
I thought this would be a bit of a bodice ripper romance. Since I'm still new to the term, I'm not quite sure it was, but it was definitely a sizzling and fun read. Elizabeth Hoyt is a name I see a lot when it comes to historical fiction, and I thought it was time I picked up one of her books, and I was not disappointed.
Edward: Hot. I never even imagined him with the pox scars on his face. He was just big and sweet but wildly bad tempered in my imagination. I loved that Anna could piss him off so easily. I loved that he was a gentleman, but that he shunned a lot of society's expectations of a man in his position. Like wig wearing. I don't know how that ever became fashionable, and I'm glad an image of a wig sporting Edward was not forced on me. I much preferred imagining him big and brawny and laughing. Because Anna made him laugh. When she didn't make him shout that is. I think the most devastating thing about Edward (and the reason I love him so much) is that he simply could not live without Anna and made no bones about it, at least to himself.
Anna: What's not to love about a heroine would would sneak into a brothel house to make a night of passion between her and the man she's drooling over (Edward) happen? Nothing at all. She was daring, she was smart, she was just perfect for Edward because she had a brain and wasn't afraid to let others know that she was an intelligent human being and not some poor, mousy widow who needed taking care of. In fact, that's sort of how Anna saw herself although she wasn't willing to admit it to herself until Felicity Clearwater pointed it out to her. I loved that Anna only deluded herself about being a shame to Edward for a sort period of time before returning to him. I had decided to be mad at her about her abandonment of him without even speaking to him, but I forgave her straight away after she happened on Felicity.
Bodice ripper? No idea. I just really enjoyed the story. And yeah, the bedroom scenes were hawt. The raven prince fairy tale before each chapter was a nice touch, the supporting characters like Hopple (who will always be Don Cherry in my mind and Toronto Maple Leaf fans will know why) and Mother Wern were all memorable, and touching in their own way. The writing was polished, and the story was beautifully unfolded before our eyes. I loved it, and would recommend this to romance fans.
4 glittering stars