Monday, January 29, 2018
Review - - Beyond Scandal and Desire
Beyond Scandal and Desire
By Lorraine Heath
Sins for All Seasons - Book 1
Publisher: Avon Books
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Reviewed by PJ
There have always been babies born on the wrong side of the blanket and various ways of dealing with them. In 1840 London, there was a well-known method among men of means. In exchange for coin, poor widows would take their bastards into their homes. What may, or may not, have been known by those same men is that many of those babies ended up in unmarked graves. Mick Trewlove was one of the lucky ones who did not but staying alive did not equate to an easy life. Mick stumbled upon the truth of his origins at an early age and from that point forward he had but one goal in mind: to become wealthy and successful enough to make his natural father acknowledge him.
Thirty-one-year-old Mick Trewlove has achieved everything he set out to accomplish...with one exception. He's wealthy, successful, respected - if not accepted - by London society but his natural father, The Duke of Hedley refuses to acknowledge him. The man will not even give him the courtesy of a face-to-face meeting. In Mick's mind, he owes him that at the very least for throwing him away like so much rubbish. Mick sets out to force a reckoning. The duke's beloved (legitimate) son and heir, the Earl of Kipwick has secrets he does not want his father to know that could disgrace him and send him into a financial spiral. He also has a lady to whom he is rumored to be all but betrothed. What better way to avenge the duke's actions against Mick than to ruin Kipwick and take all that he holds dear...including the lady, who Mick plans to seduce then discard. But the lady is not at all what Mick expects and the more time he spends in her company, the more dear she becomes to him. Revenge, however, does not quickly cool. If forced to choose between the two, which will win?
Twenty-year-old Lady Aslyn Hastings has been the ward of the Duke of Hedley since being orphaned at a young age. She's had a good life with them, loves and respects both the duke and duchess, even if they are a bit overprotective, and is content with the knowledge that she will one day marry their son, though that relationship more closely resembles that of siblings than future lovers. And, if she sometimes chafes against the restrictions placed upon her as a lady, she pushes the discontent to the back of her mind. She knows her place and is grateful for it. Everything changes the day she meets Mick Trewlove. Suddenly, she knows exactly what is missing in her relationship with Kip and she seems to be happily breaking the rules she was taught at the duchess's knee at every turn. Is this love? Could she have found the man with whom she is destined to spend her life? Or, will she be left to pick up the pieces if Mick's plan is revealed?
I loved this book! I was pulled in from the beginning and my attention never wavered. Though surrounded by an intriguing cast of secondary characters, Mick and Aslyn are the heart of this story and remain so throughout. I was invested in them individually and as a couple and happily followed through all the ups and downs of their journey. Heath does an excellent job of allowing us to see below the surface of both characters, unveiling their strength, their hearts, and the flaws that make them believable and made me love them all the more. I love that Heath kept me guessing as to the final outcome of the story - not just Aslyn and Mick's relationship but what would happen with Mick and the Duke of Hedley. Just when I thought I had everything figured out, she would throw in a twist that had me back at square one. By the time everything was finally revealed, I was so emotional I went through at least half a box of Kleenex.
This story offers an intriguing cast of secondary characters who have already piqued my interest. I'm looking forward to the stories of Mick's foster siblings and really hoping one of them features his youngest sister, Fancy and a more mature Earl of Kipwick. Those two have wonderful potential!
For a deeply emotional, supremely satisfying story of acceptance, forgiveness, and love, I highly recommend Lorraine Heath's Beyond Scandal and Desire.
Have you read any books by Lorraine Heath? Do you have a favorite?
What's the last book that had you reaching for the tissues?