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*Novel provided by publisher for honest review
For more information please visit Isobel Carr's website.
Second in line, first in love
A secret society of younger sons, sworn to aid and abet each other, no matter the scandal or cost.... Their fathers and brothers may rule the world, but they run it . . . and when it comes to passion, they refuse to accept second best.
Searching for hidden treasure, finding forbidden fantasy.
London's most sensual former courtesan, Viola Whedon, is incapable of being seduced-she does the seducing. Until she meets Leonidas Vaughn. Her salacious memoirs have made her the target of half the lords in England, and Vaughn is the only man she can turn to. When he promises to protect her-and to make her beg for his touch-the alluring beauty finds both offers impossible to refuse.
Leonidas Vaughn secretly believes Viola possesses a fortune given to his family by the King of France. So the strong and sexy Vaughn charms his way into Viola's life . . . and her bed. But when their arrangement is consummated, he'll experience pleasure far beyond his wildest fantasies-and realize his heart may need the most protection of all.
Ripe for Pleasure marks the first installment of The League of Second Sons series by Isobel Carr. This novel without a doubt is a great beginning to what promises to be a wonderful historical romance series with all the rogues and rakes that one can stand. With great romance, wonderful characters and wonderfully complex chemistry all contributed to the fact that I simply couldn't put this book down! Add in a splash of mystery and a dash of murder and it's the perfect read.
The world building within this novel was first rate, with wonderful descriptions and an entirely welcoming atmosphere that draws you in right in. The lush imagery is wonderful as is the over all atmosphere which seems to spring to life around the characters. This rich, sumptuous setting is definitely a wonderful mirror to the characters themselves creating a three dimensional world I would definitely love to revisit.
The characters are interesting with great histories, great strength and wonderful chemistry. I absolutely loved Leonidas and his rogue ways, the self assured cocky nature and imposing personality. And ultimately, despite his dubious intentions and motives in insinuating himself into Viola's life, I found his sense of honor and the growing love that he has for her such an intoxicating mix. He's definitely an alpha male determined to have his way and leave the world to accept it and fall in line and I think was such an attractive side of his personality. You just have to be intrigued by him and his ego, but beneath there is also a wickedly funny man with a heart of gold. Something of a paradox in and of himself and I couldn't seem to get enough. Viola though is just as fierce and determined. She's earned everything that she's gotten through hard work and strength of will, choosing a life as a Courtesan over a life of morality at a Workhouse. But, I love that she isn't ashamed in the least of her choices, nor does she have any regrets. I found this to be truly something that I really liked and even admired about her. But, more so, I loved her personality. She was refreshing and overall really likable. Also, though, I have to say that I really enjoyed the secondary characters as well, most notable amongst them Leo's mother, oddly enough. She's a feisty old lady who doesn't give a fig about the world's perception of her, or her family's, choices. But, Leo's interesting mix of friends was always a welcome sight with widely different personalities and colorful insight.
The romance itself was also wonderfully well done. Intense, fierce, and engaging, I was lost in the tension and chemistry between these two amazing characters. I loved the relationship immensely and the development throughout the book always kept me on my toes. Add in all the suspenseful elements that take it's toll on the relationship and it definitely becomes something of a roller coaster. Betrayal, deception, and a murderous plot all collide to make this a thrilling and tenuous relationship that makes you eager to devour the book to see if these two can manage a fairy tale ending.
But, along with the romance is also a great secondary mystery that plays out not exactly in the forefront, but isn't exactly a secondary plot either, but something in between. At any rate, the mystery creates some great action and some really tense moments that kept me riveted to until the last. The writing style definitely helps with both of these aspects as well keeping the pace fast with great fluidity throughout.
T%he only things that really kept this novel from being a five, was the lack of exploration in to the League of Second Sons. I felt that this aspect wasn't as fully explored as it could have been, leaving the basis sort of floundering for me. While I understand the concept, it becomes something of no consequence to the plot aside from the fact that if Leonidas wishes to marry a Courtesan then it's less repugnant then if he was a first born and the fact that she won't likely be marrying in to a title. Also, I felt like the romance could have been a bit spicier. While I loved the relationship and the romance both, the sizzle just wasn't there as much as I would have liked it to be. But, that's of no real importance because obviously I loved the novel and there were definitely some steamy moments regardless.
Over all, fans of historical romance will love this novel! I definitely enjoyed the author, the series and the characters and look forward to reading the second installment, Ripe for Scandal, due out later this year! Needless to say, I highly recommend this touching and adventurous tale of mystery, betrayal and above all else, love.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars
Advisory: Strong sexual content
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