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The Slightest Provocation

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  124 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Sensual historical romance from an award-winning author

Mary Penley and Kit Stansell were secret friends who became adolescent lovers and eloped. But the marriage didn't survive. Now nine years later, Mary and Kit meet again, where intense desire leads them to rekindle their physical relationship. But Kit is devoted to maintaining social order, and once again finds himsel
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by Signet (first published September 5th 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 317)
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Mary Penley and Kit Stansell were the children of ever-feuding families; both grew up not as enemies but as friends, lovers and then man and wife. After a world-whirl elopement, Kit and Mary enjoyed life with each other, but just as quickly the harsh realties of the world torn their marriage apart.
Nine years later, Kit is well-respected military man and Mary has become well know in the intellectual society When fate (and a hand) push the wayward couple together again in order to stop a conspir
Due to a hand injury, I cannot write all of the marvelous things I could say about this book. It seriously had me on the edge of my seat for the entire journey! The hero and heroine are haunted by their younger selves (who among us is not?) and sizzle with a sexual energy that leaps out at you from the pages.

I will honestly say I cannot wait to read another Rosenthal.. and may be making a trip to the bookstore to shorten that wait significantly.
This is certainly romance for readers who usually prefer literary fiction. Romance readers however will I think find that all of Rosenthal's contributions, this not least, both fulfill and transcend their genre. While supplying all that readers usually need from this form - wrenching conflicts and swoony fusions, a hero and heroine made for eachother but held apart by credible psychological, social and circumstantial obstacles, peril, discovery, the ecstatic HEA -- her work also exhibits some fe ...more
Much about nothing... Extremely disappointing. Very boring plot and dialogues.
Ana T.
This is the story of Mary Penley and Kit Stansell. The daughter of a brewer and the (illegitimate) son of a duchess whose parents hated each other, they fell in love and decided to elope together but their marriage didn't last long with both committing adultery. When the story opens they have been estranged for a number of years and meeting in Paris they decide that the best thing is to start divorce proceedings. They both travel to England and they meet again at the village where they grew up. ...more
Rosenthal is one of my new favorite historical romance authors. She seems to get low marks, star-wise, here on Goodreads for being too difficult -- too many flashbacks, point of view switches, too much historical background, etc. But this is what draws me to her books, as well as her depiction of flawed but deeply human characters. THE SLIGHTEST PROVOCATION is the portrait of an estranged couple, and the reasons for their estrangement, as well as the ties that still bind them together, are depic ...more
Just couldn't get interested in this book. Never finished reading it.
Sarah Beth
I found a signed copy of this at Goodwill, and since I'm sucker for historical fiction, and particularly historically based romance stories, I snatched it right up. This story is about an estranged husband and wife who reunite after years apart and reconcile their differences. While it could have been a great story, I was really disappointed in this book.

The narrative style of this book was vague and rather odd. There were ongoing indeterminate pronouns being used and the POV would randomly swi
Somewhat atypical, and therefore interesting, but I still didn't find it satisfying. This book considers itself an 'intelligent' romance novel, but it's placed in a somewhat uncomfortable position between Austen and erotica when it would have been better to choose one the other. The intelligence shows in the novel's atypical nature, but the prose and the characters would do well to be quite a bit more clever. The sexuality is frank and slightly edgy, but the best of sensualism takes place in the ...more
Mary Penley and Lord Christopher "Kit" Stansell eloped despite feuding families and class divisions. Soon after, recriminations, misunderstandings and miscommunications drive the lovers apart. Years later, Kit Lady Mary are back in their home town, and while it's clear the passion is still there, they're on opposite sides of a deep political divide, one that threatens the safety of the nation as well as any future they might hope to rebuild.

Why I Picked It Up:
Rosenthal's characters struggle with
Susan (the other Susan)
Loved it! A husband and wife whose youthful romance fizzled out, reunite as mature adults and find that passion can improve with age. SPOILER-Y QUESTION: Is Pam Rosenthal the first author of a sexy historical romance to take on the Great Taboo that is normal among men entering middle age but virtually unheard-of in romance novels? Or have I missed one? (There is a frustrated love scene in which he, um, has difficulty performing, believe it or not, like an actual human male. Not to worry; as in r ...more
I didnt like this book as well as "The Edge of Impropriety" but it was good. I would have given it a 3.5 given the choice of half stars..
I just didnt connect with the characters as well as I did in other book.
Sex scense were not as good. I like the character of Peggy(?) the maid the 2 stupid cousins just grated.
The only chapters I had trouble with in each book was the into. Sometimes I just dont connect to how its written.

I read alot of books (runs the spectrum from Romance to Mystery to SciF
Lori McD
This book didn't thrill me as did "The Edge of Impropriety". It was a good, solid book. I liked Mary and Kit very much, and I was glad to see their growth from their first year of marriage to nine years later. The author did a very good job of allowing them to find one another again - to find more than just passion and excitement, but to find reality and warmth and real love.

I'd never known the history of the government trying to stir up rebels amongst the under classes. It was quite an eye-open
Susan J.
The hero and heroine, as well as the wonderful secondary characters, are written well with unexpected depth. The story is clever but gets caught up by too many love scenes (is that possible in a romance book?). Rosenthal's almost stream of conciousness prose is a little more literary than you tend to find in romance books. The setting is also grittier which makes the historical aspects seem more accurate for that time period following the defeat of Napoleon.
Erica Anderson
I really loved this book, which is not your typical Regency-era romance, despite the mass-market paperback edition that is meant to make you think so. This is a smart, very adult story of a married couple who separate due to irreconcilable differences. They still love each other, but are too prideful to admit it. Not for everyone, and not for those times when you're looking for something fluffy.
Diane Peterson
I really liked Pamela Rosenthal's other books, but this one just didn't work well for me. There was way too much complicated history and too many characters to keep track of. The relationship between Mary and Kit was very complex and confusing. I was never sure how much they really cared for each other. The worst criticism -- it took forever to finish the book!
Gwen (The Gwendolyn Reading Method)
I so rarely give up on books and I have a high tolerance for really crappy romance novels, but this one I just couldn't put myself through farther than about 30 pages. I'm all for not painting romance with a too rosy brush and then there's, "I dislike every character in here. I hope they all die alone." Couldn't do it.
Karen Scott
I think I actually lost the will to live whilst trying to read this book. Overhyped, and overdone. Not for me thanks. Sorry.

My full review can be found here.
Lynn Calvin
reread. Rosenthal's edgy sexy books are worth a reread, and this book has a hero and heroine 10 years after a spectacular breakup find their way back together.

Some more honest and less classist look at the politics of the time are also a welcome change.
So-so historical romance set in regency times of estranged married couple that find their way back to each other. Somewhat scattered and dull and fell a bit flat in emotion.
So besides the literary nature of the writing and the sex, it was totally unconventional and, dare I say it, disgraceful setup that made me fall in love with it. You just don't DO things like that in romance, and...this author did.
Yes! Another intelligent, provocative erotic historical romance from one of my favorite authors. This takes Regency for a political spin that ought to resonate with anyone who lived through the last ten years in America.
I highly recommend Pam Rosenthal for smart-but-smutty Regency romance. Her writing is really quite beautiful, and Kit and Mary in this one were to me the most relatable romance couple I've ever read.
This was just ok...writing this review a week later and finding it hard to remember anything about it to write...done with the author unless a new one comes out that is raved about.
Sarah Hazlett
I got this book because of the pretty cover and the fact that it was cheap on Amazon. But there was too much sex for me.
A fun read, nicely paced, interesting characters. I picked it up from a bargain bin on a whim and I'm glad I did.
Dec 06, 2008 Jennifer added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: Dear Author
Shelves: romance, didntfinish
This was just too clever for me. I think if I wasn't expecting a "romance novel," I would have enjoyed it more.
Janice marked it as to-read
Jul 01, 2015
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Pam Rosenthal also writes erotic fiction under the pseudonym Molly Weatherfield.
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