Monday, September 30, 2013

Season for Scandal by Theresa Romain

Jane Tindall and Edmund Ware, Baron Kirkpatrick collide at the Sheringbrook ball. She is trying to beat some shady characters, including Lord Sheringbrook, at a card game as a way to get out of debt. She is a little miffed to see Kirkpatrick because, not only does he blow her cover, but he ruins her attempt to discreetly call Sheringbrook out for cheating. He also has the idea to claim he and Jane are engaged and offers to cover her gambling debt – not knowing, until he gets her alone, just how much she owes. She owes the whopping amount of $10,000. It just so happens that her beloved and wealthy cousin Xavier plans to settle $10,000 on her as a dowry. After discovering how things really stand, Edmund finds himself at somewhat of a crossroads. He is a man with some serious issues. All his life, he is considered to be such a good and kind man – solicitous to little old ladies and wallflowers everywhere. What nobody knows is that, due to a family melodrama and tragedy when he was just a boy, he does all these things out of a misguided need for atonement. One of the ways he had always planned on atoning is to marry and produce an heir to carry on the family line. He is a man riddled with guilt, which seem to give him ulcers, and many secrets. The secrets are eating him alive. When he finds himself in this situation with Jane, he finds that the perfect solution would be for them to actually marry. His satisfaction is fleeting when, on their wedding night and in a moment of passion, Jane tells Edmund she loves him. That is her dirty little secret – that she has loved him for years. I think the main reason he didn’t react well to that declaration was because he had such a low opinion of himself for so many years, that having someone else love him seemed very startling. Also, I think in his mind, its one thing to marry someone who doesn’t love you for selfish reasons, but to do so when the other person feels something as true as love seems unethical. So this is the main conflict between the hero and heroine – Edmund struggling to do the right thing by Jane and not drag her into his mess and trying to make her as happy as he’s able, and Jane struggling to be married to the man she loves when she’s not sure he feels anything for her. The two of them might have carried on like that forever, if not for the introduction of the mysterious Turner aka Daniel Bellamy. Thank heavens for villains! It’s prodding and threats from Turner that finally have Edmund confessing the truth to Jane. I loved the turn the book took once Edmund finally came clean to Jane. After all, who better to thwart a con artist like Turner than somebody like Jane who can act and put on a mask better than most? The scenes toward the end between the hero & heroine were very sweet and it was very satisfying to finally say what they really felt. I was so happy to read a book with Jane as the heroine since she was a favorite character in the previous book. In spite of how misguided I felt he was I did like Edmund. No matter how frustrating it was for Jane, I liked how “nice” he was – but I do understand why it irked her. He seemed like the type of character out of a Charles Dickens story. I look forward to reading more books by this author. I will be interested to see if Jane’s friend Lady Audrina Bradleigh turns up in future books.

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