The widowed Lady Isabel Avenbury has one remaining younger sister to shepherd into an advantageous marriage, and then she will be free. Free to take a lover to fill her lonely nights—the only option left for a woman on the delicate edge of a certain age.
Except when she chaperones her sister to a country house party, she is taken aback by her sudden, undeniable attraction to the host. And deliciously scandalized when she finds a copy of the notorious, much-gossiped-about Ladies Book of Pleasures in his library.
When Seth Rowland, Marquis Lyndham, notices his book is missing, his interest is piqued as to which of the potential young brides at his party has absconded with it—and he’s shocked to discover it’s Isabel. Though older than the women he’d planned to court, the powerful beauty exudes a sensuality he cannot ignore.
The book inspires them to begin a desperate, passionate affair. But their time together is running out and they must choose. Follow society’s rules, or take a chance at love.
Publisher and Release Date: Samhain Publishing, July 2014
Time and setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer rating: 4.5 Stars
Review by Vikki
I found this book delightful and moving. Each chapter starts out with a quote from The Ladies Book of Pleasures, a scandalous new book that is circulating among the ton. These quotes are very thought provoking to say the least. Here is the first quote: “At the most unexpected times, our lives can change. Most ladies are encouraged to run from it, but why can’t we embrace it?”
While Isabel, Countess of Avenbury had grown to love her much older husband, it was not a romantic kind of love. Now widowed, she decides she will take a lover once her sister, Serena is married. The last thing she expects to encounter at the Marquis of Lyndham’s house party is a potential lover, but nonetheless, that is exactly what she finds when she meets Lord Lyndham. Isabel longs for the fulfillment of desires aroused from reading the naughty book.
Seth Rowland, Lord Lyndham, immediately remembers seeing Isabel during her coming out year, when he had been too young and foolish to appreciate her stunning beauty. When their eyes meet for the first time as she exits her carriage, the sparks of desire ignite. While he has no business pursuing this charming widow, he feels compelled every time he sees her, drawn to her as a moth to the flame.
Of course, they enter into a torrid affair that threatens to ruin her sister’s marital prospects if word gets out. When Serena perceives what she believes are signs of intentions of marriage and courtship on the marquis’ part, Isabel realizes she must end the liaison. Will she be able to stay strong in her convictions to end the affair, or will she give in the temptation?
I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful love story. The writing is emotional and filled with passion and desire. There are also several tender moments between the sisters that enrich this story immensely, moving it far beyond the sensuality of the love story. Jess Michaels also introduces us to some secondary characters that will be prominent in future books in this series. In fact, I found them so intriguing that I have already pre-ordered the next book!
If you are looking for a sensual love story with many tender moments, then this is a book you will not want to miss, and if you haven’t read Jess Michaels before, you will want to once you have read A Matter of Sin.