Book 5 in The Scandalous Women of the Ton series
Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC review copy!
This book was great – and very disappointing. The book was well on its way to being an A+ book, and the first 90% deserves that A+ rating. The last 10%... not so much. The absolute disappointment made me want to give this book a superbly low rating, but Cornick really does write a fabulous book and I can’t justify giving this book anything less than a B.
Teresa, Dowager Marchioness of Darent, has been married three times already – and isn’t looking for a forth. Scandalous and secretive, Teresa is an enigma to the ton who both slander and slight her. However Viscount Rothbury, better known as American foreigner and Captain Owen Purchase, sees just enough behind the supposed ‘featherbrain’s mask to be intrigued as to Teresa’s real personality. Only problem? Owen is hunting the mysterious reformer, Jupiter, who creates slanderous cartoons of government figures and he has a hunch that Jupiter and Teresa might be one and the same. But when Teresa comes to him with a surprisingly desperate marriage proposal, how can he refuse? Teresa and Owen embark on a journey together through deception and secrets, fear, scandal, and discovery – can they possibly be headed towards a happy ever after?
So lets start with that first 90% and all that was awesome. The heroine, Teresa (Tess) is done to perfection. I loved her duality – she was complex, believable, and both pitiably weak and strong. I loved how hard she tried to be Wonder Woman and how she almost succeeded. She was a lovely heroine, struggling to keep control when the world kept stripping it away and struggling to keep her dignity when the world is so quick to condemn. Tess was heartbreaking and lovely. Then there’s Owen, our hero, who is possibly the kindest, cleverest, sweetest, most trusting and patient hero I’ve ever had the complete pleasure to read about. I was in love with him as soon as I saw him. He had wicked bad boy charm but he also knew how to be sensitive and caring, and that gave him the perfect blend of dark coffee and cream. Their relationship, and the romance, was adorable and so touching I almost found myself crying during some of the scenes. There were a lot of unique settings in this book, as well, and the plot was fast-paced and never boring.
I loved the banter between Owen and Tess – they were both very clever and cute. I loved their honesty (although it did take a while to get to the honesty). I also loved that Cornick didn’t tell me the story – she showed it to me in one of the best examples of show-not-tell I’ve seen in years. I was incredibly involved in the characters and the story. The secondary characters I actually didn’t like that much, but they didn’t show up very often so my unease with Joanna, Justin, and Emma was like white-noise in the background. The first 340 pages of this book had me ecstatically happy.
And then. Oh, but then dear reader. This book had pretty much maxed out its drama-meter before the last 40 pages. There was a lot of drama, a lot of emotion, but the book had been winding to a very satisfying, enjoyable close that would’ve been a little anticlimactic but very peaceful. But no, Cornick could not resist the last, final drama that didn’t even truly conclude the novel and instead opened up another who can of worms and question. I won’t tell you what this massively annoying and completely unnecessary drama was, because it would be a spoiler. But suffice it to say that I was annoyed with this drama, it ruined the end of the book for me, and I found myself ready to throw my Kindle across the room because I was simply so upset that this absolutely wonderful book had just been ruined. Although I loved this book, the last forty pages of Desired will forever leave a desperately bitter taste in my mouth. On the whole, I would recommend Desired - but I would stop reading around page 340.
“Warned you that I might want to sleep with you?” Owen raised his brows. “It is the done thing in many marriages.”
“On the contrary, my lord,” Owen said. “I never felt more grateful to be an American than I do now.”
“I have the special license,” he added. “We may marry whenever you choose.”
Tess jumped snatching her hand from his. A tremor of disquiet shook her. “Marry?”
“It tends to follow a betrothal,” Own pointed out.
“Sexy”ness rating: *fans self*
Overall Rating: B to B+
Bottom Line: This book was so, so good and I thought it unique, fun, and very well-written. Except for those last thirty or forty pages this book deserves an A+ rating and I would definitely recommend it on the hero alone. The perfect mix of bad boy seduction and sensitive, sweet gentleman. Oh, Owen. *sighs*
Published: November 15, 2011