Tuesday, September 21, 2010
BOOK REVIEW: The Dangerous Viscount by Miranda Neville
*MY SEPTEMBER READ TOP PICK*
Avon Romance Oct 2010
382 pages By Miranda Neville
BLURB ON BACK OF BOOK:
She is determined to find a husband ... now!
Diana Fanshawe's impeccable bloodline doesn't stop society from laughing at the antics of her eccentric family. She knows the right marriage is her one chance to make her way in the world--which is precisely why she will Marry Lord Blakeney. But then she's kissed by the brilliant and unconventional Sebastian Iverley, and her well-laid plans tumble into disarray.
Sebastian wants absolutely nothing to do with love or marriage. He likes his books, his male friends in the Burgundy Club, and he avoids women. But when he arrives at his hated cousin Blakeney's house party, he's smitten by the tantalizing Diana.
Should the lady follow her heart and try to win Iverley's, though it seems hardened against her–or should she sacrifice love for respectability?
Oh, I enjoyed this book! Sebastian is adorable, the Regency nerd, the beta hero, who blossoms into full bore Alpha mode.
Sebastian Iverley, who becomes said 'Dangerous Viscount' when a great uncle dies a few chapters into the book, is bookish to the extreme, wearing baggy clothes years out of date, his rumbled, bespectacled appearance hiding what our heroine discovers later, beautiful silver-grey eyes and a cultured, handsome face.
At a house party, which Sebastian abhors attending, he first glimpses the young widow, Lady Diana Fanshawe out in the stable, her shapely, pink-stocking leg exposed for his perusal. He is immediately struck dumb with desire, which amazes him, as at 26, he has never had this feeling before. He goes with her on a ride, where we meet Diana's eccentric family, which reminded me of Lisa Kleypas' Hathaway family. Not a bad thing.
Diana is surprised to see Sebastian able to carry on lively, intelligent conversations with members of her family, something she had not observed at the house party. But then, she is preoccupied capturing Lord Blakeney's attention (and Sebastian's cousin) she has marriage on her mind, and the Golden God Blakeney will fit the ticket. Diana is soon party to a sniggering conversation about Sebastian lack of skills where women are concerned by Blakeney and another man, and she pipes up she will get Iverley to kiss her...for 500 pounds.
She manages to get Sebastian alone, he gallantly sweeps her into his arms to carry her across a stream, so he is not some scarecrow after all, there are finely toned muscles under those baggy clothes. He kisses her, with little finesse. Diana instructs him to achieve a slower result. Diana is floored by the devastation of his kiss. Seems a roaring, passionate fire lurks beneath the bookish nebbish.
Unfortunately, the next day, Sebastian overhears his cousin lamenting the loss of the 500 pounds and why. Sebastian is hurt, and leaves the party.
In the ensuing weeks, he becomes a Viscount, and takes some advice from his close friends, and the name of a good tailor. Sebastian reemerges with new spectacles, a new wardrobe, and a new confidence. And he wants some sort of revenge on Diana Fanshawe. But, he also wants her regard.
The ensuing story is fraught with misunderstandings and tricks, as Sebastian foolishly takes some advice from his well meaning friends, and arranges a hold up by a highwayman, so he can ride in as the rescuing hero. At first, it works, until Diana finds out.
Their one night of brief passion ends badly, and they part. But not for long.
I was swept up into this world, and enjoyed the secondary characters immensely, some from Miranda's previous book 'The Wild Marquis' (which I am going to get right away) Diana's younger sister Minerva was enchanting. And her whole family wonderfully strange. They could easily have their own stories. Diana herself however, left me a bit cold. She was so determined to land Blakeney for her own selfish reasons, but it was enjoyable to watch her come slowly around to the prospect of a life and love with Sebastian. I warmed to her as the book moved along.
What sold this for me was indeed, Sebastian. He is endearing, charming and utterly irresistible. Watching him come into his own throughout the book was a sweet treat. A lonely child, often referred to as 'Owl' by his cousins, the vulnerability that still lingers in adulthood and that he tries desperately to hide, touched me. And how refreshing to have the man with no experience for once. Sebastian reasons himself to be a man of reason and restraint. How wonderful to find out he is also a man of savage passions. Yow
"Where did you learn that?" she gasped, collapsed among the cushions in a boneless state.
"I'm a well-read man." She felt the movement of his lips against her ribs and his hair tickling the underside of her breasts.
She ran her fingers through the disarrayed locks. "I'm beginning to see the advantages of a broad education.
"Whatever I undertake, I strive for excellence."
I highly recommend this imminently readable, well-written story. But it is the characters, particularly Sebastian, that compelled me to give this a high rating.
4 out of 4 stars for the book
KOVER KUDOS: Love the cover, rich colors, and just how I pictured Sebastian, all lean, handsome muscle. Love male back shots.
3 and 1/2 stars out of 4 for the cover