Adele Ashworth is a new author to me, and if this book is any indication, she will soon be one of my new favourites. This book has almost everything needed for a perfect historical romance read:An excellent sense of the era:
No wallpaper here! From beautifully detailed descriptions of the Duke's home, their clothing and lifestyle, to the depictions of class differences (for example, the tea served to the heroine when she attends the Duke's residence is "a wonderfully strong Lapsang Souchong. Somewhat unconventional for standard fare, especially when serving to a guest of the lower class."
) The distinction between the classes plays a large part in this book. An excellent Hero:
The Duke of Trent resides at his country estate. He is a virtual recluse there, shunned by society after being acquitted of killing his wife. Will is gorgeous, noble and LONELY. A bit tortured too, with a sad, sad history.A just-as-excellent heroine:
Vivian lives in an exile of sorts as well, except hers is of her own making. She lives quietly as a widow in the village of Penzance and makes her living as a florist. Her secret is that she is not a widow at all. Her story is just as sad as Will's.A scandalous bargain
: He has something she needs, she has something he wants
. A deal is struck, and the tension and chemistry between the H/h is palpable.Chemistry, chemistry, chemistry!!!!
: And teasing, flirting comments. And funny, sexy pillow talk. Some excellent steamy bits
: WHEW. 'Nuff said.A bit of intrigue, blackmail and danger:
Because you have do SOMETHING other than just have sex, right?The prettiest declaration of love I've read in quite a while
: I know I shouldn't, but I can't help myself -- here's part of it, hidden by a spoiler tag. (view spoiler)["Every breath I have ever taken," he maintained softly, "every trying season of my life, has been merely a bridge that has led me to this moment with you." All together now, "Aaaaaawwwwwwww" (hide spoiler)]
It also had a bits and pieces of the following (dammit!), which pulled my rating down:A few cheesy bits of sexy dialogue:
I'm not going to tell you here, you'll know the second you read them which ones they are.A stupid, contrived misunderstanding + Hero behaving like an asshat:
Part of this was necessary to the story, but I'm not sure the rest of it served much purpose other than giving the author an opportunity to introduce her Heroes for the rest of the trilogy. Great couple of guys - they figured out what was going on when the Hero couldn't, and thus saved him from further asshattery.
All in all this was a wonderful book -- I'm keeping it, I'll most likely re-read it, and I'm eagerly anticipating the rest of the series.
(Adele Ashworth also has a decent-sized backlist, which is always good news when you find an new author you like.)