Joan Bennett is a breath away from being a spinster. She’s had four seasons without a suitor. After reading a shockingly sensuous book, Fifty Ways to Sin, Joan decides perhaps it’s time to stop being proper and start being sinful, while she’s still young enough to enjoy it. And what better partner than her brother’s drinking mate, Viscount Burke? He seems the type to know how to give a lady a lascivious adventure.
It seems that the viscount has qualms about trifling with a friend’s sister. That’s the way to end up betrothed. And he doesn’t want that—or does he?
Publisher and Release Date: Avon, 30 July 2013
Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating:4.5 stars
Review by Lady Blue
Joan’s first encounter with Tristan happened when she was a child, and he burst into her bedroom. He was her brother’s friend, visiting from school, and they were wreaking havoc (as boys do) and causing Mama to disapprove of him from that day forward. Tristan has been orphaned, and raised by his uncle, along with uncle’s wife, who despises him because he will inherit the title which would go to her son, IF, she had produced one. So, Tristan has never known love, and has chosen to act outrageously in order to get attention and obtain invitations to friends’ homes.
As the years pass by, Joan has become a wallflower, with no suitors. She isn’t really unattractive, but she is tall, and her petite mother dresses her in ruffles and lace and feathers, which are totally wrong for her. She is fully under her mother’s thumb.
Joan and Tristan don’t know each other that well, but when they meet, they needle each other. On one occasion, they dance, and poor Mama is scandalized, and urges Joan to never do that again. She has never forgiven Tristan for his behavior at her home when he was a child, and she harps on his current reputation.
Mama takes ill, and is urged to leave the city to recover. Joan’s brother now has to handle some family business out of town, so he imposes on Tristan to keep an eye on Joan while she is being chaperoned by their scandalous Aunt Evangeline. Aunt is very different from Mama. She takes a look at Joan, and sees that everything she wears is wrong. Soon there are new clothes, a new hairstyle, and Joan is looking very attractive. Tristan comes to call, and do his duty. He really had been attracted to Joan before, even in the ugly clothes, but now he is stunned.
Before we know what has happened, Joan and Tristan are off on one adventure after another. He brings excitement and fun to her life, and she brings love to his, the love he has never known before. This unlikely couple has fallen in love, and now have to face the disapproval of her family.
The beauty of this story was watching the love develop between Joan and Tristan. Both have had to deal with unhappiness in some form, and their differences seemed to fit together perfectly. Their adventures were entertaining, as well. This is recommended as a feel-good read.