Friday, May 31, 2013

Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman - Lorraine Heath

As the black sheep second son of an Earl, Stephen Lyons has gained a reputation in the art of seduction, but when his wicked ways result in scandal, he joins the army to redeem himself. On the battlefield, he proves courageous . . . until he is seriously wounded. Returning home to recover, he discovers he can't remember the angelic beauty who arrives at his doorstep, his babe nestled in her arms.
Mercy Dawson will risk everything to protect the son of the dashing soldier she once knew and admired. When Stephen offers to do the honorable thing, she is determined that London's most notorious gentleman will desire her and no other. But Mercy fears that what began as an innocent deception could destroy her dreams and their blossoming love if Stephen ever learns the scandalous truth . . .
They are masters of seduction, London's greatest lovers. Living for pleasure, they will give their hearts to no one . . . until love takes them by surprise.

Surprisingly this was my favourite book of this trilogy. I don't usually go for situations where misunderstandings are bound to happen, as is the case in this story, because  I keep reading with a knot on my stomach thinking that when the truth is revealed all hell will break loose. I'm also not a fan of the amnesia plot but, at least to me, Heath made it work. 

I really liked Mercy and Stephen. Stephen is now a very different man from the one we met in the previous book and Mercy is a sensible young woman who fell under Stephen's spell when she first met him and then, in extraordinaty circumstances, fell in love with his baby son and did her best to protect him and stay close to him.

I loved that these characters actually had bigger worries than their social life / love life or whatever. The Crimean war is referred to extensively. Not only the horrors of battle but also the conditions in which the wounded were cared for and the work done by Florence Nightingale and her nurses. What they saw and suffered there shapes Stephen and Mercy's actions and feelings.

I liked how they got to know each other and then fell in love. How they understood each other due to their shared past. Everything was going so well for them when Mercy's secret is revealed and naturally, all hell breaks loose. Although I think she should have told Stephen earlier about her secret I also think that she reacted with courage and fortitude to his rejection. They definitely needed to discuss what had happened and why she had done it and I'm happy that Ainsley was there to see the truth that Stephen seemed unable to. There was quite a bit of angst and that is always a favourite with me.

As a whole I think this was an entertaining trilogy. I liked this one better than the other two books but they were all easy and fast reads. I think I will be paying more attention next time a Heath book comes my way.

Grade 4/5

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