Saturday, December 4, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: A Question Of Impropiety by Michelle Styles

Harlequin Historical December 2010
(Mills and Boon publication 2008)

280 pages By Michelle Styles


Diana Clare has had enough of London—the balls, the rakes you can never trust.... Now, having returned home in disgrace, she is trying to forget what drove her from the ton.

Rake and gambler Brett Farnham, Earl of Coltonby, seems intent on making Diana remember exactly what it was like to be whirled around the ballroom and seduced by the glint in her partner's eye....

But Brett has "mistress" rather than "marriage" in mind, and Diana is not sure her reputation can stand up to another scandal....

Since this was previously released by Mills and Boon in 2008, I searched for previous reviews. There weren't really any to be found. However, I did find one that stated the dialogue and relationship between the hero and heroine was stiff and lacked heat.
I don't agree. It may be considered formal in a way, but it reminded me of the writing of the era it takes place in. The narrative had a decidedly 'Austen' feel to it, not a bad thing, at least to me. Which is ironic, as the heroine is reading 'Pride and Prejudice' when she encounters the hero for the first time.

Diana Clare is a self-sacrificing heroine, she encounters Brett Farnham on the road, resplendent in his carriage, literally. Renowned horseman, gambler and rake, Brett Farnham appealed to me as a hero. Yes, he's formal, impeccable, but underneath, *smolder*.

Brett and Diana have a past, even though they were never formally introduced. Brett was the second at a duel between his friend and Diana's fiance, who did not survive the duel. And Diana was tainted by these events by society.
Now, 5 years later, Diana is a confirmed spinster, thoroughly bitter against men and their follies, especially titled men.

Brett, has since inherited the Earldom due to his older brother's untimely death. A crumbling estate and no money is his inheritance. Brett, up to this point, made his living gambling, betting on the one thing that brings true passion to his life, horses. He lives and breathes horses, and racing.

He recently acquired an estate from a bet, it is next to the Clare's in Northumberland. In addition to Diana, she lives with her widowed eccentric brother Simon (he gets his own story in Impoverished Miss, Convenient Wife Jan 2011). Simon is engrossed in his trying to perfect a locomotive engine. Simon is single-minded in his pursuit to the detriment of all relationships including the ones with his sister and his young son who he fostered off to school. Simon is a great secondary character.

The attraction between Brett and Diana builds at a deliberate pace that I found refreshing and entirely appropriate to the narrative. And yes, Brett would rather have Diana as a mistress. At first, his attentions to Diana are merely to gain access to her brother, and some land that belongs to the Clare's he would like to purchase, but Brett soon finds he cannot stay away from Diana. And Diana, for all her protests, cannot resist the charming Brett. I liked Diana, thoroughly devoted to her brother and nephew, she takes her responsibilities seriously. And she speaks her mind when she feels it is warranted.

I was thoroughly caught up in this story, the characters and the plot. Richly drawn and written, has a real 'Austen' feel to me, and that appealed. Enjoyable read.

3 and 1/2 stars out of 4 for the book

KOVER KUDOS: Not a bad cover, doesn't exactly come close to the descriptions of Brett and Diana in the book, but the body language sums up the book nicely.

2 1/2 stars out of 4 for the cover


Anonymous said...

I like the sounds of this, I will be sure to check it out!


Karyn Gerrard said...

I think you would like this, I have a fondness for soldier stories myself!