Tuesday, June 1, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Lady Arabella's Scandalous Marriage by Carole Mortimer

Harlequin Historical April 2010

288 pages By Carole Mortimer


You are cordially invited to the marriage of

Darius Wynter, Duke of Carlyne

Dark and dangerous, Darius has a reputation riddled with unsavory rumor...

to Lady Arabella St. Claire

Headstrong and feisty, yet more innocent than she'll ever admit...

What is Lady Arabella letting herself in for? Sinister whispers surround the death of Darius's first wife--could Arabella be in jeopardy? Or will the infamous duke prove all of society wrong?

One thing's for sure--after the compromising situation that led to this marriage, Arabella will soon discover the exquisite pleasures of the marriage bed....

I read and did a review of a previous book in this series, Click HERE to read. 'The Rake's Wicked Proposal'

This book is the final one, and the story of younger St. Claire, Arabella.

Darius, Duke of Carlyne, appeared briefly in that novel, a very mysterious, dark figure. It was obvious in that book, that the much younger Arabella was quite smitten with him.
That attraction bursts into white hot flame in the first chapters of the book, as Arabella is challenged by Darius to prove her claim of experience with 'intimacies'. (of which, she really has none) Finding a dark, private room, Darius kisses her 'with a thoroughness that made her body tremble and shake even as it burned.' Wow.

Darius soon has the inexperienced Arabella sprawled out on her brother's desk in his study, in a very compromising position, and on cue, in walks the brother, Hawk and a friend. Yep, time to trot out that old Regency stand-by 'the compromising marriage'. Darius, of course, offers, Hawk wants Arabella to refuse.
Arabella realizes she is not even sure she likes him. As compelling as she finds Darius golden, rakish looks, and as appealing she finds his glorious body, there is so much she does not know about him, especially the whispers he had something to do with his wife's death.

Things do not get off to a very good start, both are haughty and cool toward each other, Arabella tries to stall Darius, but he will have none of it, 'either marry me by special license next week or not at all.'

Yes, I liked Darius, so many dark secrets. He is 30 to her 19, He is commanding, and compelling and utterly irresistible, and he takes no guff off this headstrong, at times, immature miss.
But even though Arabella was exasperating, I liked her.
Now married, they are making their way to an inn for the night, Darius begins to caress her in the carriage, and just when things begin to heat up, the carriage overturns. This is just one in many incidents in the book that conspire to keep Darius and Arabella from consummating their marriage. But also, who is behind these incidents?
When we finally get to their 'night of bliss' it is scorching indeed.
I don't want to give away too much of the plot, Darius is of course, a spy, so are these incidents a matter of his history? Or something more sinister? Something closer to home?

It all culminates with a showdown with the villain at the end of the book, tying together all the plot points and secrets surrounding Darius, all in all, an enjoyable read.

3 and 1/4 stars out of 4

KOVER KUDOS: I will say this about Harlequin, their covers lately have been lush, they show the whole model, no torso or half face shots, YES! However, they hardly EVER get the descriptions right between the models/characters. Exasperating, to me anyway. Darius is described with 'overlong golden hair', this model does not have that. Picky, but true. That said, I did like the cover, the colors, the pose.

3 out of 4 stars for the cover


Deb said...

Karyn, this sounds like a good read. I remember Carole Mortimer as a HP author. She was big into the hero always being 10 to 15 years older than the heroine. When I was young I thought that was romantic, but not so much anymore. Although, it is different in a historical...

Karyn Gerrard said...

Deb, I really did enjoy this. I think you will, too.
I have a Carole Mortimer HP coming in a book order, it was a free book (Free Fridays) I went a little crazy last week, Harlequin had a 'buy one get one free sale', oh well, I will have some books to read and maybe review if nothing else.

And I agree about the age thing, I think I have mentioned it before, not my thing either, but, it does fit with the era.