Genre: historical romance
Cover: nice, and with a gorgeous stepcover inside
Lord Nicholas is a paragon of manhood. And his eyes, Dear Reader! So Blue!
Pearls and Pelissses, June 1823.
Since being named 'London's Lord to Land' by a popular ladies' magazine, Nicholas St. John has been relentlessly pursued by every matrimony-minded female in the ton. So when an opportunity to escape fashionable society presents itself, he eagerly jumps - only to land in the path of the most determined, damnably delicious woman he's ever met!
The daughter of a titled wastrel, Lady Isabel Townsend has too many secrets and too little money. Though she is used to taking care of herself quite handily, her father's recent passing has left Isabel at sea and in need of outside help to protect her young brother's birthright. The sinfully handsome, eminently eligible Lord Nicholas could be the very salvation she seeks.
But the lady must be wary and not do anything reckless and foolish… like falling madly, passionately in love.
Lady Isabel Townsend is the daughter of an Earl, or as she calls him: the Wastrearl. Her father was a selfish man, pursuing all his own pleasures, gambling everything away, not caring about his wife, his daughter, or even his young son and heir. When the servants got tired of not getting paid, they left, leaving Isabel alone at age 17 to take care of her dying mother, and her baby brother. If it wasn’t for the runaway girl she found in the shed a few nights later, she would have been all on her own. But taking in Kate was the best thing she ever did, she became a loyal friend and servant, and she was only the first of the many girls and women in need Isabel took in over the years. Her latest rescue, the sister of a Duke, will be a problem though. She is sure to be searched for extensively, a Duke won’t let his sister escape him so easily. Still, the girl needs help and she will give it to her as much as she can.
Today the household consist of about 20 women, herself, her cousin and her 10 year old brother, the new Earl. Her father has died, leaving them totally penniless, with a guardian for her brother they don’t know and who hasn’t taken the time to come visit yet. The roof of the house is leaking, so Isabel has no choice but to try to repair it herself.
She has only one option left to raise some money, enough to move Minerva House to some rental property, and send her brother to Eton, to find his place among his peers. And that is to sell the Marbles her mother left her. Isabel has a very fine collection of Greek and Roman statues, and she loves looking at them, but now it is time to sell them.
In the ladies magazine her “girls” love to read, the Pearls and Pelisse, there is this article about how to catch the man of your dreams, featuring Lord Nicholas St. John as the main catch of the season. But Lord Nicholas is also the leading expert on Greek and Roman antiquities, and just the man she needs to appraise and catalogue her collection. So when she is literally swept of her feet by that same man in the village, that sure is a sign.
Ever since that article in the blasted magazine, Nicholas St. John has been accosted by women where ever he goes. He is not even safe in his club, when the male members push him to accept the invitations sent to him by his wife. So when the Duke of Leighton asks for his help in finding his missing sister, he and his friend Rock are happy for the excuse to escape London and all women. Nicholas used to be the best hunter / tracker the war office had in the war against Napoleon, he always found his quarry, so he is optimistic he can find Georgiana. He also is a sucker for a lady in need of rescuing, so how can he refuse?
And so they set out to follow the three week old trail, to Yorkshire. Where he rescues a lady from a pair of runaway horses about to trample her. A lady who won’t admit that she needed rescuing, and who is strangely nervous when he agrees to appraise her marbles collection for her. Did they just find the last link to the missing Georgiana?
And so, instead of waiting for the next day, Nicholas and Rock decide to visit that same afternoon, and find out what Lady Isabel is hiding. Nicholas is not pleased at all, when he finds Isabel on her roof, instead of the salon, embroidering. That is no job for a lady, she should hire someone to do it! She has servants enough! It takes a while for him to see through the disguises, as most men just sees what he is expecting to see when looking at a servant, but he is determined to find out all Lady Isabel’s secrets and help her, whether she wants it or not.
But his own secret comes out, when the Duke of Leighton has send out more men to find his daughter, and those ruffians just kidnap her. Isabel feels betrayed by him, and rightly so. He has asked her to trust him, and then betrayed that trust. He has seduced her, only for his own purposes? She won’t marry him now!
I really enjoyed this book, I loved Isabel who is so strong and takes care of so many problems, helping all those women in need. But now she has reached the end of her tether, and needs Nicholas’ help. But she won’t give in easily, she is stubborn but also very open in her feelings and desires. And the handsome Nicholas, suddenly pursued by every woman in town, what is a man to do but to escape? Only to end up in a houseful of women in need of rescuing. That has been his weakness for his entire life. Luckily he has his friend Rock to help him, and to rant against. Though Rock is mostly highly amused with Nicholas and what he is going through. Isabel and Nicholas were very much fun together.
But, I just have to air some complaints I have regarding this book. The major one, being that Rock is a Turk, from Turkey, and as he says himself, not a Christian but a heathen. Turkey did not exist yet in the time this book plays, 1823. He would be a Muslim from the Ottoman Empire. And as such, he would use the word Allah instead of God, nor would he drink some brandy. I did like his character, but every time the word Turk was used, I cringed. It is just so wrong.
My second disbelieving point is, why did her father not sell those marbles long ago, he sold everything else that was not entailed.
My third complaint is totally personal: I dislike heroes who expect the heroine to spill all her secrets just because he wants to know them, and thinks he has a right to them, as she is just a female and he wants to help her. Even though they are virtual strangers and she has no reason to trust him yet.
And last, I found the lovescenes to be copies from the first book, the same actions / scenes / sequence. If you read books with a year between them, you would probably not notice that, but as I read them in one week, I did notice.
Still, I really did enjoy the book; I love the writing style, the characters, the humor, the story. I loved the parts above the chapters, advice from the magazine on how to land your Lord. It is original and fun. And again, it did make me cry in parts. I also loved the parts with her little brother, and how Nicholas teaches him to tie his cravat. This little Earl sure is a promising character for the future. And of course Georgiana and her brother have an intriguing story. I do hope this stubborn arrogant Earl will fall hard for a girl far beneath him, like Nicholas’ half sister, and adjusts his high and lofty standards.
There was a secondary romance with Rock as well, and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this trilogy.
© 2012 Reviews by Aurian