The Irresistible Miss Peppiwell by Stacy Reid

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With a longing for adventure, the last thing Phillipa Pippiwell wants is to marry. After a painful betrayal by a man she trusted, she is wary when she unwittingly catches the attention of roguishly handsome – and sinfully tempting – Lord Anthony Thornton. Forbidden desires she secretly yearns for threaten to crumble her icy facade and reveal a past scandal best kept buried.

Dissatisfied with his empty life, Lord Anthony seeks a deep and lasting connection… and finds himself intrigued by the Ice Maiden of the haute monde. Undaunted by Phillipa’s aloof nature and her distaste for the idea of matrimony, he sets out to thaw the bewitching beauty by enticing her with adventures of the most sensual type. But he, too, hides a scandalous secret… and if it’s discovered it could rip them apart

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Publisher and Release Date: Entangled Scandalous, August 2014

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: 1880s England
Genre: Historical romance
Heat Level: 2.5
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars

Review by Maria Almaguer

Miss Philippa Peppiwell is fleeing a scandal. An American heiress from Boston living in Victorian England, her family’s money is “new money” and, thus, snubbed and belittled by London high society. But her family has high hopes for their daughters to make titled matches and thus advance their station.

But Philippa does not ever wish to marry and distrusts the intentions of all men after her one great disappointment. Her cold reserve and austere beauty – despite her red hair – have earned her the moniker of “ice maiden,” but she is merely protecting her vulnerability behind a wall. This works with most of her eligible suitors but does not, however, deter the determined Anthony Thornton, brother to the reluctant Duke of Calydon.

At first, Philippa is merely another woman he must have and they embark on a passionate affair, but Anthony soon changes his mind. She is “irresistible” and, when she refuses his hand in marriage, he single-mindedly pursues her, despite the scandalous secrets they both hold dear. The sex is graphic but tastefully done as it portrays their deep attraction, both physically and emotionally.

Though the burning sexual tension that Ms Reid creates really simmers throughout this short romance, the ending seems a little abrupt with its uneasy and unrealistic resolution. Most of the story proceeds at a lovely pace, but then it seems to rush through the ending, somewhat disrupting the easy flow of the book.

Nevertheless, this does not detract from the book and I very much enjoyed the writing, the storyline, and the depiction of Victorian London society and fashion in the 1880s. The romance is both erotic and sweet and Philippa and Anthony are likeable characters.

Anthony is a sensual man with very strong sexual passions that have turned off many women and mistresses in his past. This confused me because many men took mistresses at this time in order to indulge in the rougher bed play they felt uncomfortable engaging in with their wives, so why did it shock his mistresses, who are usually considered bolder women by society’s standards? There is no bondage and only some minor spanking in this book, but nothing overtly unorthodox in my opinion.

But Philippa is an adventurous woman who wants to explore life (and sex) and she finds such a match with Anthony. He protects her and cares for her when she is in danger, he is thoughtful and loving to his brother, his younger sister, mother and, eventually, his father. He is everything a gentleman should be, including honorable and protective. He just happens to enjoy adventurous sex (and so does she). Wink.

There is a nasty villain in Lord Orwell with a rather loose thread by the end of the book. The writing is strong and suspenseful – especially in a very frightening scene involving Lord Orwell and Philippa.

This is the second book in a series called The House of Calydon, but the events of book one take place after book two, so this reads as a standalone.

The Irresistible Miss Peppiwell is a wonderfully readable and sexy romance. Fans of Sabrina Darby and Monica Burns as well as those who like their romance on the spicier side may enjoy Stacy Reid.

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