Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Not Quite A Lady - Loretta Chase

Darius Carsington is a spectacularly handsome rake with a rare intelligence and no heart, a man who divides his time between bedding loose-moraled women and writing scholarly papers. He finds society's “perfect darlings”....exceedingly boring. But there’s something intriguing, and not quite perfect, about faultless Lady Charlotte Hayward. He senses a crack under her polished surface, and finding it is a temptation he can’t resist.

Lady Charlotte is so beautiful, charming, and gracious that no one has noticed what an expert she is at Not Getting Married. Early on, she learned a painful lesson about trust....and temptation. In the years since, she’s devoted her life to all she ought to be--and she’s not about to let a man like Carsington entice her to do everything she shouldn’t.

But the laws of attraction can easily overpower the rules of manners and morals, and sometimes even the best -behaved girl has to follow her instincts, even if it means risking it all.

It's been a while since I read a Loretta Chase book and I didn't even read the previous one in this series, in fact I think I only read the first one, Miss Wonderful. However that didn't detract from my enjoyment at all.

I really liked Charlotte and Darius, they were nice and interesting people. Not exactly perfect but trying what to do what they think is the right thing. Darius wants to make the estate he is responsible for profitable and Charlotte is very tactfully trying not to get married as she feels her past doesn't allow her to be someone's wife. The problem is, they feel very attracted to each other from the minute they meet.

Charlotte's problem is that she gave birth to an illegitimate child when she was sixteen, she child was taken from her to be raised by a childless couple and it's been a well kept secret but she knows that if she would marry she would have to explain it to her husband on her weeding night.

Oblivious to this her well meaning father keeps trying to find her a husband and decides to host a house party for several suitors, including Darius. At the same time Charlotte's stepmother decides she is going to help Darius with the redecoration of the estate thus making them spend much more time together.

And then, one day, as they are overseeing the redecoration Charlotte sees a boy that she immediately feels could be her long lost son.

I really liked that Darius decides to help the boy even before knowing of his parentage. And then I enjoyed that Charlotte tells him the truth and Darius promises to help her getting her son back. What I found odd was that for what it seemed a long time Charlotte believed the boy to be her son but never looked for him or tried to talk to him. It was almost as she was afraid to find out the truth and although that might be believable in a way I couldn't believe a sensitive woman like her wouldn't rush to be sure and welcome the child.

The situation wasn't that easy to solve as the child had lost his adopted parent and was now being an apprentice with one of the working men. This means there was a contract between them which must be made void or his apprenticeship bought.

At the same time one of Charlotte's suitors, having found out the truth tries to blackmailer with that knowledge. Fortunately she doesn't give in, the child is safe and we have our happy ending with Charlotte deciding to marry Darius and raise her child openly.

I have some doubts that the child could be easily acknowledged but I did enjoy the characters so much that it didn't prevent me from enjoying the story.

Grade: B

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