“Tonight’s December thirty-first,
Something is about to burst.
The clock is crouching, dark and small,
Like a time bomb in the hall.
Hark, it’s midnight, children dear.
Duck! Here comes another year!” ―Ogden Nash
Title: Secrets of A Scandalous Heiress
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Theresa Romain
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Jan 6, 2015
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Sexy Rating: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
One good proposition deserves another…
Heiress Augusta Meredith can’t help herself-she stirs up gossip wherever she goes. A stranger to Bath society, she pretends to be a charming young widow, until sardonic, darkly handsome Joss Everett arrives from London and uncovers her charade.
Augusta persuades Joss to keep her secret in exchange for a secret of his own. Weaving their way through the treacherous pitfalls of a polite world only too eager to expose and condemn them, they begin to see that being true to themselves is not so bad…as long as they’re true to each other…
Augusta has been wronged by a cad who broke her heart and decides to seek revenge by claiming to be a widow who seeks only an illicit liaison. This disguise was worth the effort as long as she didn’t run into anyone she knew. This is where Josiah Everett comes in to call her bluff.
On the surface this is a light bit of romance but there is much beneath the surface banter and some intrigue of Joss’ business in Bath.
Ms. Romain can move us with her emotional prose:
“Loss could slash a person with a grief so deep, she might throw away all the good she possessed and let it burn. Not caring. Not wanting to care. Not wanting to feel anything; willing to pursue any promise of oblivion.”
There is philosophy intertwined with a page turning story:
“Everyone had something to grieve, did they not?….There was always something more that could be lost.
Which meant there was always something for which to be grateful.”
This is a story true to the time period with deliciously clever dialog and a definite tease of will-he-or-won’t-he. The characters are well drawn with side characters that add some frustrating comedy. Lord Sutcliffe is Joss’ employer, a drug addled buffoon who seems to have a screw loose.
I recommend this book to all Historical Romance aficionados.
The following is from the product page on Amazon.com 1-star review:
Better Titles: “No means Yes: A Guide to Manipulating Others” or “How I Became an Addict”, March 11, 2014
This review is from: Green Eggs and Ham (Hardcover)
**Spoiler Alert** I will give away the ending so stop reading if you don’t want the spoiler. Synopses: a local dealer pressures a buyer into ingesting a strange substance for “free”. During 80% of the book, the protagonist clearly says “No”, but the substance dealer continues to pressure. In the end the protagonist is defeated, ingests the substance, and shows signs of addiction proclaiming outrageous ways in which he’ll take this new substance. There is no evidence that the antagonist will continue to provide free samples of the substance once the main character is addicted. This is done in rhyme & marketed to children. Many parents view this as a very positive book (as you can see from the reviews on Amazon). This author probably has 3 books in my top ten creepiest books of all time. Like this one, most antagonists exhibit extreme lack of respect of individual boundaries and dismiss the protests and views of others in careless disregard.
“Now, I’m not going to deny that I was aware of your beauty. But the point is, this has nothing to do with your beauty. As I got to know you, I began to realize that beauty was the least of your qualities. I became fascinated by your goodness. I was drawn in by it. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. And it was only when I began to feel actual, physical pain every time you left the room that it finally dawned on me: I was in love, for the first time in my life. I knew it was hopeless, but that didn’t matter to me. And it’s not that I want to have you. All I want is to deserve you. Tell me what to do. Show me how to behave. I’ll do anything you say.”