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School of Gallantry #3

Lady of Pleasure

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Educating one's self in the art of love takes time...

Lady Caroline Arabella Starling has been in love with her older brother's best friend, Caldwell, since she was thirteen. Unfortunately, too many things keep getting in the way of proving her love. Her four younger sisters, her mother, her brother, all of society and the man she loves himself. But where there is a will, there is a way, and Caroline is about to redefine not only respectability but true love.

Ronan Henry Dearborn, the fourth Marquess of Caldwell, lives to see himself through Caroline's eyes but knows he is leading a life unworthy of her or her dreams. He will do anything to keep her from learning the truth about himself and his past, including keeping her at a distance. But when he and Caroline get tangled in a situation neither of them can get out of, the only way to create a happily-ever-after between them is to take up the advice of a French courtesan who re-educates them both in the art of love.


First published March 1, 2013

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About the author

Delilah Marvelle

39 books511 followers
I spent my youth studying various languages, reading voraciously, and playing the pianoforte. I confess that here ends the extent of my gentle breeding. I was a naughty child who was forever torturing her parents with countless adventures that they did not deem respectable. Confined to my room on many occasions due to these misadventures, I soon discovered the quill and its amazing power. I scribed endless stories that almost invariably surrounded the topic of love, for I felt an inane need to be rescued from a family that did not understand my lust for life. In my mind, King Arthur became my true love and I waited for the day when he would come riding upon his steed and invite me to sit at his round table, not as his queen, but as his knight. To my distress, King Arthur was never to be found anywhere except for in the tip of my quill. And so I led an imaginary life for many, many years. When I finally came of age, my family was further horrified to discover that I had fallen in love with an American. An American King Arthur who became my knight, my husband, my all. I have been blessed beyond reason and am grateful for each day I have with him. What is equally amazing is that I now have the opportunity to share my passion for stories with the public. The reason why I write romance is because it allows me to touch upon the subject of love on a much deeper, more intimate level. Many of the stories I write, many of the stories I will continue to write, will always evolve around love. And yes, gentle readers, it will also evolve around sex as I have no intention of becoming my parents and restraining my characters from what it is they truly desire to do. I challenge you, my readers, to let loose of those corsets that have been strung too tightly due to convention and enjoy 1830 to its fullest."

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 58 reviews
Profile Image for Delilah Marvelle.
Author 39 books511 followers
August 25, 2012
Dear Reader,
Many of you have been waiting ever so patiently for the arrival of book 3 in the School of Gallantry series. You will be tickled to know that the Hawksford family (including Little Miss Morbid Mary) is about to sweep back into town and cause trouble. Think you know the Hawksfords? Think again. Trouble is about to be redefined. And more importantly, everyone's idea of respectability and love is about to get spanked.
Yours Truly,
Delilah Marvelle
Profile Image for Keri.
2,040 reviews98 followers
May 23, 2016
Settle in ladies, because this is going to be a long fan-gurl squee review...can't be helped. :-) I wrote to Delilah after I read the 2nd SoG book and told her I couldn't wait for the next book in the series. I was heartbroken when she told me that the series wasn't going to continue because the publishing issues. So it was with a happy heart when I saw that she never gave up getting the series restarted and so here we are. The book takes place in tandem with Alex's book, (Lord of Pleasure). You don't have to read LoP though to read this book, but I recommend it, because the series is just full of sexy goodness. Caroline has been in love with Ronin Dearborn, the Marquess of Caldwell, since she was 13. Afterall, she has had her menses for a month, she is ready to take him on. For Cardwell's part, he realizes that Caroline is going to hold a special place in his life and he takes steps to ensure that she stays there. He has secrets, dark secrets that he in no way wants them to touch his sweet, pure Caroline. So for the next 7 years they meet weekly for card games and engage in extreme letter writing.

Caroline for her part is ready to move their relationship to the next level, but Ronin is completely standoffish. Finally a dark fairy god-mother(of a sort) takes matters in her own hands and sets Caroline and Ronin up at a "party" and nature takes over. Once Caroline and Ronin wakes up to the reality of the situation, he insists that marriage is the only way out. Caroline for her part is determined that she is to have the man she fell in love with at 13. Ronin is sick as he finally founds out the truth of how Caroline ended up in his arms. How is he to keep his dark secrets and keep his sweet Caroline?

Things come to a head as he realizes that he can't be the man that Caroline wants him to be unless he can come clean about his past and how he has been keeping himself, his aunt and her children afloat. So at his uncle's request he enroles in the School of Gallantry and at the suggestions of Madame de Maitenon, proceeds to transform his life. Once Ronin starts to take steps to be honest with Carolyn, there was no way she could turn away from the man that she truley loves, no matter what was in his past.

This story completely encompases why I love DM's writing so much, it has a lot of humor, but also there is always a series underlying message about love and forgiveness. You can also tell how much research DM pours into her writing, whether we are talking about time period sex toys or secret spanking societies. She draws you in and makes you gasp at topics that she is willing to take on to bring her charaters to their final love destination.

However, as much as I love Alex and Ronin, I can't waits for my man, Lord Brayton to get his book in 2014. I hope though that even beyond the next two books we still get more books after that. It sounds like Lord Gifford, the mysterious Luc and Lord Ridley all have interesting stories to tell. I hope we get to see them in other stories down the road. Ladies I hope you will give this wonderful series a chance, as we read about the School of Gallantry ring the bell on some hard headed men for the women that they love.
Profile Image for Wench.
620 reviews43 followers
May 30, 2013
Y'all. This book. I could NOT.

1. Trigger warning for rape, pedophilia, and coerced consent.




5. The school the series is built around doesn't make an appearance until 65% through the book. WHY.

6. If you don't like sexual behavior beyond monogamous, vanilla, heterosexual penis-in-vagina, missionary position sex, DON'T PUT ANY IN YOUR BOOK.




Profile Image for Lisa - (Aussie Girl).
1,323 reviews171 followers
October 21, 2015
I was a bit on the fence about this series, it was enjoyable but fairly lightweight. Lady of Pleasure managed to combine a fairly serious subject with the irreverent School of Gallantry theme for a much more rounded story. Thus the four star rating.

This series is definitely growing on me.
Profile Image for Tracy T..
982 reviews19 followers
January 21, 2016
Amazing story, amazing series, amazing narration by Delilah Marvelle (audible review)
Wow I loved this story. I loved the whole series. Caroline is an amazing character. She was strong, smart, funny, outspoken and forthright. And she loved Caldwell times 1000. Caroline's mother, father and sisters were a hoot. I love that they were so unconventional and open with everything. Such a nice change from the normal historical romance books.

Caldwell was awesome too. He was strong, handsome and sexy. He had a very interesting backstory. I don't want to give away spoilers so I won't just know it was good.

Caroline and Caldwell had some great chemistry together and some absolutely fantastic conversations. The dialogue in this book was superb! Loved every bit of it, and there was a lot of it. The sex scenes are very well romantically written, not erotica.

The story line and plot was great. If you have read any of the other School of Gallantry books this one does not disappoint. It is just as good. Love that School and Madam de Maitenon the teacher of the school was fantastic again. Loved her scenes. This is one of the most entertaining historical romance series I have read. There are several LOL moments.

If you haven't read\listened to this series and are HR fan, I highly recommend all of these books on audible or just to read. The writing and stories are truly brilliant.

Mistress of Pleasure Book 1 School of Gallantry
Lord of Pleasure Book 2 School of Gallantry
Lady of Pleasure Book 3 School of Gallantry

As for the narration. Well it was fantastic. The author narrated her own book. Wow what a great job she did too. Everyone had their own voice. The men sounded like men. She read with emotion as called for ie, yelling, coughing, choking, whispering etc. It was great. Her reading voice was wonderful. She didn't read to slow or to fast. It was a fantastic listen.

I have waited over a year for this book to be released on audible and it was well worth the wait.
Thank you @DelilahMarvelle for finally releasing this book.
Profile Image for Verity.
278 reviews233 followers
March 18, 2013
Inconsistency : H/h's age gap was mentioned several times as 12 yrs, but on anotha page hero states he's 10 yrs older. Somewhat anti-climactic @ the end & H/h didn't spend enuff quality time, the last 20 % of the story was verra sweet. Mayhap if I hadn't read "Once upon a scandal" prior to this, I woulda liked it more. Similar Cinderfella hero.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Carol Cork *Young at Heart Oldie*.
425 reviews200 followers
July 26, 2013
LADY OF PLEASURE is very different in tone to the previous two books in the series, MISTRESS OF PLEASURE AND LORD OF PLEASURE. Whilst these two were uproariously funny, this book is much darker…a compelling and intensely emotional story of friendship, heartache, love, understanding, forgiveness and redemption. It’s a story that really drew me in and elicited so many emotions as I was reading it. Ms Marvelle is an author who isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of historical romance. I admire her for tackling not only the subject of male sexual abuse but also touching on racial prejudice.

How I Imagine Ronan…

“I have always known there was something special between us. From the very beginning. From the moment I met you. You changed my way of thinking in a way I never expected and made me want to be perfect. Even though I wasn’t. Even though I knew I could never be.”

Ronan was such a tortured hero. I wanted to comfort the lonely fourteen-year-old Ronan who was so betrayed by someone he trusted. He lost his pride, his innocence and his soul. His sense of shame and self-loathing is so great that he has never been able to talk about what happened to anyone, even to his best friend Hawksford. He keeps all his feelings locked up inside. I understand why his friendship with Caroline is so important to him. She is the only unsullied thing in his life and he clings to their friendship like a drowning man. When he finds that his feelings for Caroline are more than just friendship, he is determined to distance himself from her rather than see her tainted in any way.

How I Imagine Caroline…

Love was not meant to be shared with the world. It was a secret romantic language between two willing hearts and two willing souls that only needed each other to survive. And, one day, she would know of such love with Caldwell. One day.

Caroline is everything I would expect of a member of the unconventional Hawksford family; uninhibited, independent, proud, outspoken and passionate. The anger, hurt and humiliation she feels when it seems that Ronan has betrayed all they shared and the devastation she feels on learning the true nature of her parents’ marriage reveal just how vulnerable she really is beneath that confident exterior.

Ronan and Caroline’s journey was such an emotional roller-coaster. Ms Marvelle captured all the charming, heartrending, poignant and passionate moments so beautifully:

The special friendship…

She nestled her cheek against his embroidered waistcoat and achingly wished he could love her in the way she loved him. “Know that I will always love you. No matter how much or how little you have. No matter how hard you fall. I will be here for you. Always.”

The undeniable attraction…

The warmth of his breath fanned her throat in uneven takes. Still buried in the curve of her neck, his full lips slowly, slowly dragged leaving a moist trail that cooled against the fire of her skin. The tip of his hot tongue suddenly slid across her skin just above her necklace, causing her to sway.

The Broken Heart…

She had already turned toward him, tears still streaming down her face. And as those grief stricken blue-green eyes met his, he knew everything he had hoped to keep sacred between them was sacred no more.

The Desperate Plea…

“A sixteen-year-old girl once told me she would embrace me no matter how hard I had fallen. I need that girl right now. I need her back in my life. I need her to believe in me in the way she used to. The question is, can she? Will she?”

The Heartrending Truth…

For the first time since knowing Ronan, she felt as if she were touching more than his hand. She felt as if she were touching his soul.

The Kiss

His lips parted hers slowly as if unsure as to what he should do. Her tongue met his gently and together, they became one. Her fingers and her toes tingled and went numb. She was Anne Elliot. At long last, she was Anne Elliot.
It was everything she could have ever dreamed of… and more.


It was… delicious. Caroline’s lips were like all those strawberries he had dipped in cream. Her lips were moist and soft, yet firm. And her tongue was gentle, but playful, making him feel welcome and warm, yet in control. It was beautiful.
She was beautiful.

I love all the secondary characters, particularly the quirky Hawksford sisters who provide some lighter moments among the intensity of the romance. Here are two of my favourites.

“Aside from the braids, how do I look?”
Anne squinted up at her, crinkling her freckled nose. “Do you want our honest opinion? Because all those pimples make it very difficult to see your face.”

Anne sat up and glared at Mary. “How about I buy you a casket so you can sleep in it every night?”
Mary paused. “How much do you think one would cost? If I did want one for my room? Are they expensive? Do you know?”
Caroline groaned. “For heaven’s sake, Anne, don’t give her ideas.”

I like Ronan’s uncle who, despite their occasional spats, obviously loves his nephew as a son. I was conflicted about Lady Danbury whose meddling caused so much heartache, but I don’t see her as malicious, simply misguided. Lord Banfield, Lord Brayton and the Earl of Hawksford, the other ‘students’ at the School of Gallantry all make an appearance. The plots for this book and Lord of Pleasure (Hawksford’s story) run concurrently and it’s interesting to see the same events from a different perspective.

Delilah Marvelle proves once again why she is one of my top favourite authors with this moving love story. Definitely a keeper!



The School of Gallantry Series so far (click on the cover for more details)

Mistress of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #1) by Delilah Marvelle Lord of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #2) by Delilah Marvelle Lady of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #3) by Delilah Marvelle Night of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #4) by Delilah Marvelle

My sincere thanks to Delilah Marvelle for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

This review has also been posted on my blog:

Profile Image for Mary Gramlich.
514 reviews38 followers
April 7, 2013
Everyone has a right to expect that you will have someone to love

Caroline has known since she was thirteen years old the Ronan was the man she would love forever. Her only goal was to grow up so they could marry and live happily ever after regardless of what it takes to achieve that goal. Caroline did not know that while Ronan may have wanted all these things as well he understood they would never happen, his family responsibilities demanded he choose another path for his life.

Ronan had to fight for every amount of money he could obtain regardless of the circumstances of their acquisition to help keep himself and his family financially solvent. The finances are obtained a variety of ways one of which included brokering his affections toward lonely women of the ton. Caroline felt destiny brought them together while Ronan saw that as what kept them apart. Ronan may love Caroline and she may make every breath he takes worth living for, but those feelings have to be controlled and he will do so as his circumstances have deemed necessary.

Caroline finds a way to stack the deck in her favor and attempt to make Ronan realize they should be together. When the plan backfires Caroline is left devastated and Ronan realizes the mistake he made by letting her go searches for a way to win her back. Who knew that the place that could teach Ronan how to be a man of worth would be a school taught by a Courtesan? Learning to tell the truth, work through his phobias, and release the joy of his love for Caroline creates a Ronan that has Caroline acknowledging that no one will ever bring her joy but Ronan.

Delilah Marvelle graces every word with a prolific sentence that surrounds each paragraph with romance, joy, and the expectation of eternal love.
Profile Image for Carol.
1 review1 follower
March 18, 2013
I have been BEGGING Delilah, on my knees, for years to add to the incredible pleasure read of the School of Gallantry. Finally the planets aligned and Lady of Pleasure is the incredible result. If you think this will be "more of the same" you would be wrong. After all this IS Delilah Marvelle, in all her glorious historical, romantic, splendor. Kind of Fielding meets Euripides. The two sided lucky coin of comedy and tragedy.

If you thought you knew Caldwell from the second book in the series, you would be wrong. Caroline's intellect and passions introduced in the second book, are just a pale shadow of what the reader finds in this third book. She is a strong, intelligent passionate woman, beyond her years in all those elements. We find out things about her parents and brother and sisters that flip the coin from comedic to tragic then back again.

Caldwell's story will break your heart then put it back together again. He is a unique character I have never encountered before outside of Robin Schone. Caldwell is definitely a darker character than one ever expected from the first two books. He is stunning! He and Caroline together, with the menagerie that is their respective families and friends drag you in to the world of the School of Gallantry and leave you wanting more . . . NOW! I loved this book and the emotional trip on which it led me. I love this author because of her intellect, her passions, and her incredible understanding of the tragic and the comedic.
Profile Image for Sophie Barnes.
Author 56 books1,603 followers
June 25, 2016
The characters in this story were extraordinarily well crafted and real. The heroine was both sweet and funny, her devotion to the man she loved incredibly endearing, while the hero invited endless amounts of sympathy throughout, due to his tragic past.

When Caroline Arabella Starling meets her brother's best friend, Ronan Henry Dearborn, the fourth Marquess of Caldwell, for the first time at the age of thirteen, she takes an instant liking to him. In spite of the twelve year difference between the two, they become close friends, meeting once a week - every Thursday - for a game of piquet. And as the years go by, Caroline falls hopelessly and madly in love with him, still holding out hope when he insists she's too young for him.
But it isn't just the age difference that prompts Caldwell to keep Caroline at arm's length. After losing his investment to a fire, he's penniless and desperate, completely unworthy of any lady's affection. Humiliated by the choices he's forced to make in order to get by, he puts distance between himself and the girl who has always idolized him.
Three years go by until they meet again, and Caldwell finds that Caroline has transformed into a stunning beauty. Her feelings for him are unchanged, and so she sets about trying to win him again, with greater success than before. But secrets from his past are destined to get these two tangled up in a series of terrible misunderstandings that only an open heart and absolute honesty can hope to undo.

I found Caldwell's story to be absolutely heart-wrenching! It is filled with so much angst, and just when you think it can't get any worse, something else is revealed. But the interaction between him and Caroline is wonderful, their conversation wrought with humor as their relationship gradually progresses from simple friendship to so much more.
Delilah Marvelle is a fantastic storyteller. I thoroughly enjoyed this read, and was very relieved when Caroline and Caldwell finally got the happy ending they both so thoroughly deserved.
Profile Image for Jen Davis.
Author 7 books695 followers
April 18, 2013
A deliciously angsty hero; a heroine who is steadfast, loyal and knows her own heart. Fabulous sexual tension and a love story to pull on the heartstrings. Simply put, this book rocked my socks off. In her letter to readers at the before the story begins, Delilah Marvelle says the publishing industry has no place for a book like this one. Perhaps the industry needs its head examined, because this book gave me absolutely everything I want in a historical romance.

Still need convincing? Let me give you the setup.

Lady Caroline knew she was in love with Ronan, the Marquess of Caldwell, when she was only 13 years-old. The dashing 24 year-old was her brother's friend, but he quickly made a special place in his life just for her. They had a standing weekly card game for years. They talked; they valued one another; they were friends in the truest sense of the world. But circumstances forced Caroline to move away at 16. She professed her love before she left, but it was clear he still saw her as a child.

Fast forward three years. When she returns, Caroline is most definitely grown, and ready to pursue Caldwell's hand. And when he sees her, he can't help but react as any man would to her beauty. The problem is, he doesn't want to soil the one true and good thing in his life. He has a dark secret that keeps him from forming real relationships. I won't spoil it, but suffice it to say, it leaves him feeling unworthy of Caroline and unwilling to pursue anything beyond friendship. But fate and the interference of others won't let that be enough.

Ah, I loved Caldwell so. Marvelle has constructed such a marvelous tortured hero in him. He is so sure he isn't good enough for Caroline; so unaware of his own feelings; so... good. And Caroline! It would have been so easy to make her naive or weak-willed because of her age or her consuming devotion. But she respects herself too much to be walked on; and at the same time is so unwavering and true. I loved her almost as much as I loved him. There is great chemistry. And most importantly, I believed in their feelings for one another 100%.

My only small complaint is that Caldwell's issues resolved a little faster than I would have liked, and much of it, off page. I would have liked to see more of his "education" at the school of gallantry, but perhaps, some of the events there happened in previous books. I must go and read the backlist to find out. If books one and two are anywhere as good as this one, they will definitely be worth the read. I couldn't put this one down.

Rating: A-

*ARC provided by author for review
Profile Image for Cerian.
361 reviews75 followers
March 22, 2013
Wow. I absolutely loved it.
I've previously read books by Delilah Marvelle, but this is the first in the School of Gallantry series I've read, and the first thing on my to do list is to get my hands on the previous two books!

I immediately felt myself drawn into the story. Starting with Lady Caroline as a rather wise and precocious 13 year old who befriends the outwardly rakish Ronan, Marquess of Caldwell. Their friendship is very sweet, and you can easily see why Caroline swiftly falls in love with him.

I'll admit that I wasn't expecting the book to be so scandalous! But it was wonderfully so, and Delilah Marvelle certainly has no fears of venturing into the secret and devious sexual world that existed.
A word of warning, whilst it isn't in your face constantly there is quite a bit of sexual reference, so if you prefer your romance more tame- you may not enjoy it as much as I did. Personally, I loved it!
Plus- how gorgeous is that cover?! I've had a look, and the next two books have equally amazing covers.

Caroline was fabulous, she may be slightly more respectable than some of her outrageous family but she's forthright and confident. It's so sweet how much she loves Ronan, she would do anything for him. Of course, the path of love isn't always smooth and she has some pretty huge bumps in her path.
My heart bled for Ronan. He has a rather easy, rakish attitude but underneath all that is a man in pain. His past is dark, and makes him so ashamed that you can't help but feel heart-wrenching pity for him. But when he realises just how much Caroline means to him he will do anything to win her back!

The other characters in this book are also marvelous. They're all so well fleshed-out, that you want to know so much more about them. Which thankfully you can, because there are 2 previous books in the series, and a further two books to come! I can not describe how excited I am- particularly for Brayton's book.
Whilst aspects of the story are dark and heart-breaking, Delilah Marvelle also writes with a humour that makes you laugh out loud at times.

Overall, I thought this was a wonderful and sensual romance that grips you immediately, and doesn't let go. I sobbed at parts (seriously I was a wreck) and cheered at others. I heartily recommend this book and I can't wait to devour the rest of the books in the series, I'm just grateful there's already two out there for me to read now!

Originally posted at Rookie Romance
Profile Image for Dana Delamar.
Author 14 books466 followers
April 30, 2013
Another fun installment in the School of Gallantry series. I really enjoyed the first two books, Mistress of Pleasure and Lord of Pleasure, so I'm pleased Delilah Marvelle is continuing the series!

As usual, the hero and heroine are intriguing and entertaining. Caroline is more forthright than Ronan, despite being his junior by over a decade, and I enjoyed seeing how her direct manner kept him both fascinated and off-kilter. Ronan has some very dark secrets, and as they unfold, we see how they've shaped him, for better or worse. He's not ready to love Caroline, and he almost loses her... which is where the School of Gallantry comes in.

My favorite part was Ronan's instruction at Madame de Maintenon's School of Gallantry. I've always loved her character, and once again, she doesn't disappoint. I was laughing, smiling, and nodding my head at her quirky brand of wisdom and quick-witted instruction.

One thing to keep in mind with this series is that the chronology can be a bit confusing--although this is the third book, the books happen more or less simultaneously. In some ways, you could consider this the first book, Lord of Pleasure the second, and Mistress of Pleasure the third. I gave up trying to keep the timeline straight and just went with it. When the story is this much fun, that's a minor quibble.
Profile Image for Jessie.
854 reviews11 followers
March 17, 2013
Full Disclosure: I am a huge fan of the School of Gallantry series and even though I had to wait three years for book 3, I was extremely lucky enough to be one of the author's beta readers. So of course, I love this book. :-)
Profile Image for Lynn.
707 reviews
April 17, 2017
Fine, but a little too modern in it's tart-iness considering the historical setting. Kinda trashy.
Profile Image for Tin.
340 reviews109 followers
April 6, 2013
Disclosure: I requested for a review copy of this book from the author. Thank you to Delilah Marvelle for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.

Ronan Henry Dearborn, Marquess of Caldwell has looks, a lofty title and nothing more. He inherited a crumbling estate, an aunt in France in need of financial assistance, and debts in staggering amounts. His last-ditch plan to raise funds resulted in disaster -- and even greater debts.

His one salvation is his friendship with Lady Caroline, the younger sister of his dearest friend, Alex Starling.

She's loved him since he first surprised her and nearly caused her to fall off the ladder in the library -- and has continued to love him for six years, through his darkest moment. Now, Caroline has finally made her come out and she has set her cap on Ronan.

Caroline sees it as the logical progression of their relationship, but Ronan sees it as impossible. Why? There's the age gap, the state of his finances versus her sizable dowry, and the differences in their life experiences. Ronan is determined to prove to Caroline that he's wrong for her -- and Caroline wants to show him otherwise.

Love Conquers All. Lady Caroline believes this maxim wholeheartedly but she's having a hard time convincing Ronan of its truth. Ronan has had a difficult life, a life so full of calamitous instances that has led him to believe that he is unworthy/undeserving of any sort of happiness or reward.

Ronan has had a sad upbringing -- and Delilah Marvelle touches on issues of abuse and neglect in a very poignant and sympathetic manner. But Ronan has an enduring spirit -- and part of it was nurtured because of his friendship with Caroline. He thought he was saving her from her loneliness and isolation and never thought that she was also saving him from his own problems.

I loved Caroline from the first moment. She's an unconventional heroine: plain speaking and forthright. (And she has an unusual hobby: she catalogs dirty words and hopes to make a dictionary. (loc 165) Even at 13, she had an incredible sense of confidence and intelligence and, during her conversations with Ronan, she was a wonderful mix of precocious and innocence.

When she finally came of age, she gained self-possession and maturity. But, despite everything that had happened to her (her parents' estrangement, her father's death, etc), she never lost her vibrance and optimism.

And I loved how she pursued Ronan. She was clear about her intentions but was never pushy. And she did it with a sense of humor. ^_^

"I'm getting married in June," she added.

His gaze jerked to hers. "To who?" It was almost a demand, not a question.

It gave her hope. She brought her hands together, trying to keep herself and her voice calm. "To you, of course. You didn't think my affections for you have changed since we last saw each other? In fact, I consider myself more passionate now than I was then. Which means, you don't stand a chance. By June, you'll be mine. I guarantee it."

His expression stilled and grew serious.
- loc 764 - 774

The first half of the book flowed very nicely. The banter between Caroline and Ronan and between Caroline and her sisters was good-humored, witty and revealed aspects of each character's personality. Then Chapter 9 happens, a story takes a dark turn. I understand that a powerful catalyst would be needed to move Ronan's character and to test Caroline's devotion (which, up to this point, could still be construed as infatuation) -- and Delilah Marvelle succeeds in doing so (although, I will say, I did cringe when it did happen. Read: Chapters 9 and 10)

Things fall apart for our hero and heroine and it takes the second half of the book for them to sort through the debris and to figure out what it is that exists between them. The process is painful for Ronan and Caroline, especially for Ronan, who is forced to confront the painful memories of his past and the accept them.

"You did nothing wrong. You were a boy who bore a wicked lash that should have never touche your skin or your mind. But now you are a man. You must tight the wrong done against you for shame destroys the soul. ..."
- Madame de Maitenon to Ronan, loc 3057

The tone of the second half is a bit uneven, with moments of brevity mixed into quite serious, soul-searching moments -- and the part Theodosia, Ronan's lover, played was a bit confusing -- but, on the whole, this was a delightful read and I'm glad that Delilah Marvelle decided to revisit The School of Gallantry and to tell the stories of the students of that school. A Lady of Pleasure showcases Marvelle's unique voice and vision in romance novels. This is another daring story with bold and vivid characters.
Profile Image for Margaret Foxe.
Author 3 books236 followers
August 14, 2013
I am a big fan of Delilah Marvelle. Her novels are consistently good, with great story lines and great heat in the bedroom. That said, this book had one big problem. I would probably give this 3 1/2 stars if I could, just because it wasn't my favorite novel that she has done, and the heroine is really unlikeable. I was really shaking my head when the heroine rushed off to that house party, knowing the kind of scum that would be there. She really was clueless about her own safety and the possible outcome of her actions. I really felt sorry for the hero when he realizes what he'd done to her at the party. The heroine's anger towards the hero was a bit much, too, knowing how conflicted he felt before she tricked him into bed. And that is never a good way to win over your man, by tricking him into bed, by the way. She was lucky he loved her so much and was ultimately willing to work things out between them. She really infuriated me.

On the other hand, I liked the hero a lot. He had a tragic backstory but still managed to become a decent person. Just like in lots of romance novels, I liked the hero way more than the heroine. I wish writers in this genre would work on making the heroine as compelling as the hero. When that rarity happens, I gladly bestow five stars!
Profile Image for Shh I'm reading!.
625 reviews28 followers
May 4, 2013
I was first introduced to Marvelle with Mistress of Pleasure and really enjoyed it. It was a historical romance that finally embraced people as being the flawed beings they are, and didn't shy away from the taboo aspects of sexuality generally ignored in historical romance. Now that she is finally continuing the series I had to scoop up Lady of Pleasure and loved it as well.
Ronan, is a deeply scarred man, twelve years older than Caroline, the oldest sister in a scandalous, free-spoken family. Due to Ronan's scandalous nature, family history, and unfortunate lack of funds, he feels less than worthy of Caroline. Caroline knows better and warns him that they will be wed by June. Their journey to true friendship and marriage was painful and sweet all at the same time. My only complaint was a need for some editing, but it was easily overlooked for Ronan and Caroline's quest for HEA.

Others may be upset that they meet when Ronan is 25 and Caroline a mere 13. However, I'd like to stress that nothing sexual happens between the 2 until years later and Ronan does not realize nonbrotherly feelings until later as well.
March 25, 2013
This was the first series I read of Delilah’s and it was years after it was published, I read books one and two back to back, and for the past several years been counting down till she finally had this published.
NOTE: I try not to put spoilers in my reviews.
I loved how this story began, for some reason it reminded me of me when I was younger..lol I remember being 13 and falling in love… so I could put myself in Lady Caroline’s place. I loved Caldwell from the previous book, and he is nothing like I thought he would be in this story… lol which is good, because Delilah keeps us on edge with her writing. This book will hold your attention, you don’t know if you’re crying, laughing or cheering on the characters in this story…
The School of Gallantry is a great series to read and I hope to see more of this series. This is not your average “Romance” book… This book along with the series has a lot of research put into in for all the sexual encounters … which is great, I love being taken to a place you never thought possible.

5 Stars… Delilah! Keep up the great work!
3 reviews
April 12, 2013
By far my favorite book in the Pleasure series!! I was afraid when I started this book that I would have to go back an re-read the other books because it has been a while since I last read them, but you DO NOT have to worry about it. This book could easily stand alone but the great thing is that it doesnt have too, and if anything I really want to go back even more now to re-read the others!! The main character in this book, Caroline is one of the best heroine's I have read about in a long time. And I love everything about the School of Gallantry, I truly think Mrs. Delilah Marvelle should open such a school as many man nowadays could use one!! I cannot wait for the next book to come out in this series and I HIGHLY reccommend not only this book, but all the books by Mrs. Marvelle. She is a phenomenal writer and after you read one book you will be salivating at the mouth in anticipation of the next book coming out!!
Profile Image for Nancy Goodman.
19 reviews40 followers
March 24, 2013
I have a new romance hero and his name is Rohan Caldwell. what can I say, I have a penchant for deep tortured lords. Delilah Marvelle has once again brought us to to the School of Gallantry, now with the story of Lord Caldwell and Lady Caroline.
Caroline has loved him since she was a child, but Caldwell is too busy trying to shore up his finances and push away intimacy. This is a story of sexual abuse and redemption, of hope and love. You need to carve out time to curl up with this book and if you have a bowl of strawberries (you'll understand when you read the book) more's the better.
A wonderful, wonderful read.
Profile Image for Michele Lacroix.
888 reviews3 followers
April 22, 2013
What can I say, but I loved this book and it was hard for me to put it down at night. I'm so glad that Ms. Marvell, I was so disappointed when I heard that she wasn't going to write anymore of the School of Gallantry, then suddenly discovered that there were two more books. This book hit me hard, because I could sympathize with Ronan. I started feeling the old hurt comeback again from my childhood, I loved how Caroline loved her Lord and knew her own mind. Now I have to find book 2 Alex's book and look forward to book 4.
Profile Image for Ashley Lauren.
879 reviews54 followers
May 2, 2013
Marvelle does it again. This is a great continuation of the "Pleasure" series - Caldwell and Caroline are wonderful characters. It was so much fun to read and their love for each other is one of the best, and believable, you could get. However, when it comes to smuttiness, I have to say there's not nearly enough. I understand why - more with this storyline would have been forced. So, I couldn't quite make the 5 stars with this but I enjoyed it all the same!
Profile Image for Amy Alvis.
1,840 reviews77 followers
March 24, 2013
Since reading the other books in the series, I have been anxiously awaiting its continuation. I was not disappointed. I will not summarize the story as it's been done already, but I will say that I stayed up until 2 am on a work night to finish reading it. I just couldn't put it down.
Profile Image for Lindsey.
219 reviews29 followers
March 26, 2013
WOW! I loved loved loved this story. Oh Ronan what a man! Lady Caroline is the perfect woman for him. There is so much sadness and love in this story. It was beautiful. The outcome was wonderful. This is a favorite of mine for sure.
Profile Image for Natasha.
303 reviews
April 20, 2013
I enjoyed this book, but probably not quite as much as her previous books. You really can't go wrong with Delilah though. She tells stories so amazingly well and is obviously well researched. I loved getting back to the school and can't wait to get the other stories from them all!
Profile Image for Maria .
2,159 reviews19 followers
July 20, 2014
Ronan & Caroline's story was fantastic. His story made me cry and her real love for him brought me joy. This story had a very serious topic of his past. She was relentless since she was 13 and very forthright. I loved their witty banter. I know you will enjoy this fourth book in the series.
Profile Image for Olivia.
471 reviews
September 7, 2014
very heart warming second chance for hero and heroine who loves him unconditionally. I was moved and a bit sad when he relays his trauma that I just wanted to hug Ronan. Caroline is smart and knows what she wants. I loved that about her. This was beautifully told, and handled well.
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