Notorious Rake, Innocent Lady by Bronwyn Scott – book review
September 19, 2008 12:16 PM EDT (Updated: September 19, 2008 12:32 PM EDT) views: 29 rating: 10/10 (9 votes) comments: 26
In Bronwyn Scott’s hot, new Regency novel, Notorious Rake, Innocent Lady, we have one beautiful young maiden, Julia Prentiss, aged 19, who discovers that her aunt and uncle have signed her over in marriage to one wealthy but odious, old, wrinkled merchant, Mortimer Oswalt.
Notorious Rake, Innocent Lady by Bronwyn Scott, Harlequin Historicals. The Harlequin Historicals series is edited out of London.
Julia is outraged because her uncle is a Viscount in the House of Lords, and he has sold her as if she were a common animal to the highest bidder: Oswalt, a mere merchant, a man beneath Julia’s station -- the niece of a Viscount. In no uncertain way does Julia want this arranged, forced marriage, and she cites the new English law that forbids marriage under duress, but this line of reasoning falls on the deaf ears of her aunt and uncle.
Seems that Oswalt’s previous wife failed to bear a son for Oswalt, and Oswalt, ridden with illness but charmed by the beautiful Julia, is certain that her youth would bring him the male heir he needs before he turns sixty years of age. Provided, of course, that Oswalt’s personal physician certifies Julia as an intact maiden.
Julia is shocked to her core when her uncle agrees to the fifteen thousand pounds in payment for her – five thousand now – and ten thousand pounds after Oswalt’s physician certifies her purity. An additional five thousand after the birth of their child.
Julia declines Oswalt’s offer as respectfully as she can. But Oswalt leaps to the occasion to inform her that beauty such as hers is an asset, an asset that her uncle very much needs. And that this asset does not come without a price.
Again shocked to learn that her uncle is destitute, Julia steadfastly refuses to marry this worthless, vile, old man (of obviously base intent) whom she does not love and to whom a marriage would be a “certain lingering death.”
What does Julia do? After quickly surveying various options and discarding them just as quickly, she seeks out the most famous rake in all of London society, for one task and one task only: to deflower her so that Oswalt will no longer want her. In so doing, she believes she will escape her fate and her marriage to Oswalt.
Of course, life is never as easy as we imagine it to be.
Julia enters a famous gambling hell where she knows notorious rake Paine Ramsden not only frequents, but also owns.
Ramsden sees Julia.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
The girl was stunning. One look at her generous invitation of a mouth, and his mind was awash with images of bedding her, of stripping her out of the turquoise silk that hugged her curves exquisitely…
He gave her one of his rare smiles, and offered his arm, drawing her inside. He felt her gloved hand tense where it lay on the sleeve of his linen shirt as she took in the surroundings and he saw the place through her eyes while they wended through the tables; the smell of stale smoke mingled with alcohol and unwashed sweat; the worn garb of the patrons, the faded upholstered chairs and scarred tables.
…’Can I get you a drink? I have ratafia or sherry.’ She shook her head and Paine shrugged, fixing a brandy to give himself something to do….
She did not speak and Paine felt obliged to fill in the lengthening silence. ‘Since we have not met, let me introduce myself. I am Paine Ramsden. However, you already know that. I feel distinctly at a disadvantage, for I have no idea who you might be.’
‘I am Julia Prentiss. I thank you for agreeing to see me.’ …
‘This is a rather unusual time of evening for a business appointment. I must admit I am quite curious as to why you’re here.’ …
… ‘I need you to ruin me.’ The words came out in a rush; a light blush colored her flawless alabaster cheeks...
Julia's and Ramsden's escapades lead them on a journey in which they must flee the ever tightening clutches of the scheming Oswalt, who seems determined to ruin Julia's uncle, and for him to profit handsomely by such ruination, with Julia a victim of his base intents and selfish scheming.
The prose is saturated with luscious details, apt characterizations, witty dialogue and the romantic and sexual tensions one would expect in a first-rate Regency romance.
There is so much more to tell, but that would spoil the fun for everyone.
My Rating: A+
I so thoroughly enjoyed this fine Regency historical by Bronwyn Scott, who is also a communications instructor in Washington State. You can visit her on her websites http://www.bronwynnscott.com/ and http://www.nikkipoppen.com/
I adore Nikki’s fine writing style. It is both sophisticated and accessible, a rare feat to achieve.
She has another fine Regency out, "The Pickpocket Countess" that I will soon be reviewing.