Even if he is the catch of the season, Charlotte Livingston has a low opinion of the wildly handsome Marquess of Camryn. He’s an industrialist who thinks nothing of replacing workers with machines, depriving them of an honest living. Camryn is everything a social reformer like Charlotte detests. Besides, her loyalty belongs to another man.
Yet, as a violent machine-breakers rebellion rages across England, an undeniable attraction flares between the passionate adversaries. Camryn vows to destroy the rebel movement, unaware that the spinster who has captured his heart, harbors a secret - a shocking connection to one of its leaders that could shatter them both.
REVIEW BY ANITA
I was given a copy for review purposes, but opinions expressed in the following review are my own.
The story opens at a party with the jaded Marquess of Camryn receiving a sex act from a woman in a garden, at the completion of which he suffers mild regret. Not, as one might think for the crassness of the act, but the fact that the woman delivering it confesses she has a husband. However noises in the shrubbery alert him to the fact he has been observed, but this only bothers him briefly before he goes off to punch an acquaintance in the face for daring to force his attentions on a servant.
A young man with mixed values methinks, and once his host persuades him to dance Camry proclaims he will instantly search out a wallflower and ‘give her a turn’.
Thus when the wallflower appears in the shape of Miss Charlotte Livingstone, I hoped she was about to cut him down to size with a few choice remarks. Charlotte is not your run of the mill Regency miss, she is intellectual and socially aware with a particular penchant for crusading on behalf of the Luddites, those men who wrecked stocking machines in the early 1800’s because they were being deprived of their livings as weavers. When Charlotte discovers Camryn owns several textile factories, she immediately writes him off as one of the wealthy aristocracy without a moral compass.
I wasn’t disappointed in Charlotte, for despite the social etiquette of her age, she is genuinely not husband-hunting and is immune to Camryn’s charm - until he kisses her and then she is lost. But then so is he.
Charlotte is not to be easily seduced, however, [actually she is, but not into becoming a wife] as she has a mission in life. Not just the weavers, but she is conscious of the social inequalities between the working class and the wealthy. She champions worker rights and believes that education should be readily available for everyone, no matter their station in life.
Ms Quincy could have made Charlotte a stiff, prissy miss but instead, Charlotte is sensual as well as intelligent. her passion for the plight of others is genuine and the author portrays this very well, as she does her conflict about Camryn, a man she desires as much as he does her.
Camryn believes in progress and initially dismisses Charlotte’s principles, but at the same time is determined to win her and is single-minded in his pursuit.
Predictably, the plot involves several misunderstandings, throwing into the mix is also a scheming social climber who is determined to win Camryn away from Charlotte. This aspect is handled with humour and the dialogue is very clever, a facade of social niceties that hide cutting truths and the scoring points off one another. Charlotte is more forthright than she should be, but that is what makes the novel so interesting to read.
After his introduction, I was ready to dislike Camryn, and he was not averse to compromising Charlotte to force her to marry him. However, his personality develops well and in the end I wanted him to get together with Charlotte - as long as she didn’t make it too easy for him! I liked the fact Camryn has a dark side and isn’t the archetypical ‘brooding, misunderstood but perfect man’ made the story more believable.
Oh, and Charlotte has a secret, well two as it turns out, but I won’t reveal them here.
There is a fair amount of sensuality included in this novel as the pair fail to suppress their desire in various unoccupied rooms at their friends’ house. Sensual/Erotic romances aren’t something I usually seek out, but this was nicely done and in no way offensive. The innuendos are fun too, for example:
Irritated at herself for allowing him to fluster her, she forced a stilted laugh.
“You have a very talented tongue, my lord.”
“I do give it my best effort,” he answered in a velvety tone.
Camryn also possesses a large number of skin-tight breeches that put his calves/ buttocks/ manhood on display - poor man must have blushed a lot with women staring at his nether regions all the time.
I had to read this book within a few days to make the promotional deadline, but found it proved no hardship at all. It’s an enjoyable, fast paced and interesting novel with well drawn and deserving characters.
Anita Davison is a Historical Fiction Author whose latest release, ‘Royalist Rebel’ a biographical novel set in 17th Century England, is being released by Claymore Press in early 2013 under the name Anita Seymour