It is probably more old-school HR- there is no sex scene as such. But the sexual tension, the passion and desire, these are all here in spades. There is also seduction, betrayal, remorse and forgiveness! This is a book where words and their meaning are important, and how they are used, even more so. I had tears in my eyes again third time through for me, this time as an audiobook and my heart ached for both hero and heroine, albeit for I love this book.

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Loved the heroine, hated the hero. Loved the writing, disliked the tropes. That made it a difficult book to grade, but at least it meant I had plenty to write about. A widow in her late twenties, Lilith Davenant enjoys shepherding her young nieces through their Seasons.

Julian, Lord Brandon, is a rich libertine whose constant air of cold ennui is disturbed when he hears that his cousin Robert has been fool enough to propose to Elise, his mistress. Swallowing his revulsion, Julian meets with her to warn her off. Elise realizes at once that this man can bring all the weight of his power and rank down on her, so she says that if this is a duel, she would like a champion on her side.

Her choice? Elise tells Julian that if he can seduce Lilith, she will quit the field in defeat. When she tells him she is engaged, he shrugs. What does that have to do with anything? So when he arrives to whisk her off to paradise, she puts him in his place with a few cold, well-chosen words.

And he slinks away. I stopped and read this scene again, it was so enjoyable. I reread that too. I want to care about the hero, not savor the Schadenfreude as the consequences of his deceitful schemes catch up with him.

It just felt contrived. Actually, now I wish the book had been about Lilith and Elise going on a road trip together, leaving Julian behind in the love nest with the sachet-scented lingerie.

That said, the writing is superb. The characters come to life, their dialogue sparkles, and there are touches of droll humor throughout the narrative.


Knaves’ Wager

Loretta Chase 1 It was late March Yet the Corsican clung stubbornly to his throne, even as the Allied net closed about him. That was all far away, however. The stretch of English landscape through which Mrs.


The Sandalwood Princess / Knaves' Wager


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