In a society filled with scandalous rogues and irresistible rake-hells, yet determined to make an irrefutable match that can withstand the 'oddness' of her family, Diana Fanshawe must tread carefully in her search for a new husband.
Book connoisseur, Sebastian Iverley, isn't as dangerous as all that. At least, not until AFTER his whirlwind makeover from geek to chic.
A kiss that started it all, a bet that went awry, and a thirst for revenge which seals the fate of a timid bookworm and a confident temptress, are the circumstances in which an ever-lasting love is forged.
[Read an excerpt: here]
Diana Fanshawe isn't necessarily ashamed of her family, but her determination to marry well and keep their 'eccentrics' out of the drawings rooms of fashionable society is unparalleled. She sets her cap for the cocksure Lord Blakely (a duke) and tries to convince herself that a lifetime with him is exactly what she wants. Diana just wants to be normal and make her way in society without the backhanded comments and never-ending whispers.
She finds her way into Lord Blakely's inner-circle during an intimate house party, and though Blakely doesn't show an overwhelming affection for her (he like's her fortune well enough), he ropes her into a bet that targets his 'homely' cousin, Sebastian. Blakely questions Sebastian's experience with females (along with his sexuality) and it is up to Diana to entice him to kiss her in an allotted amount of time.
Sebastian Iverley is as bookish as they come and doesn't have time for females. He finds the annoying giggle-machines his cousin usually fawns over infuriating, and would rather not be bothered. Then he meets Diana, and his opinion on women soon changes. The urges he has suppressed since adolescence soon takes precedence and the kiss he shares with Diana sets his blood afire, making him rethink his position on the opposite sex.
But that new found appreciation for women is shattered when he overhears his cousin and a cohort discussing the bet they started with Diana. He was so close to proposing marriage to the schemer, and then he has to find out that everything was a lie? A joke!? Sebastian has more pride than that, and soon calls on his stylish comrades from the Burgundy club to give him a makeover that will fit his new title of 'Viscount Iverley' and turn more than a few heads. He plans to exact revenge on Diana for playing him like a fool and make her regret what she did to him.
Diana doesn't understand why that kiss with Sebastian won't stop hounding her thoughts, but as the Season starts to pick up, and the proper marriage she envisioned with Blakely begins to pale, Diana can't restrain her jealousy over the New Sebastian. She never found him unattractive, but his new look isn't going completely amiss either. He ignores Diana completely and pays court to the giggly nuisances he once made fun of, further stroking her ire.
Sebastian soon put the next phase of his plan into action, and the consequences turn out to be for a lifetime. But all is not lost, because unconditional love lasts just as long.
Rating: 4 Red Rose
My Favorite Part of the Book: Is when Sebastian goes to a brothel for the first time. He wants to increase his experience so that when he seduces Diana, he has the necessary skills. But he can't go through with it and rushes out. The scene had all sorts of implications, but I found it funny when the whore gives Sebastian leave to touch her body and he slips his hands into her bodice. The way he describes the encounter in his mind is just too hilarious for words. (There were many memorable moments in this book, but I just chose this one because once you read the novel, you'll giggle yourself pink at this particular part!)
[Here's a clue: I will never be able to think of raisins as an innocent snack anymore]This book was different and yet classic in many ways, and well worth a read (or two!). The plot takes you through many ups and downs and all the while, Diana and Sebastian experience tremendous growth. Diana was social conscious to a fault and Sebastian was a practical scholar who didn't give a wit about 'image'; but together they embraced who they were and developed the confidence to love themselves as well as each other. And Sebastian's super raw vulnerability is so beautifully written and displayed for us readers to see. I was pleasantly surprised by his unique character and fell in love with him just as quickly as I fall in love with all the other macho hero's from historicals. This book proves that the only reason to be disappointed by a Miranda Neville novel is because the book will eventually come to an end!
[A special thanks to the author
for sending an egalley for review]