Continuing with The Rarest Blooms series, here’s my opinion of the second book, Provocative in Pearls, in this historical romance series by Madeline Hunter.
Title: Provocative in Pearls
Author: Madeline Hunter
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Jove Books/ The Berkley Publishing Group
Year Published: March 2010
Stand alone or series: Book 2 of The Rarest Blooms series
On the Back cover:
The Earl of Hawkeswell has been living in limbo for two years, ever since his bride, heiress Verity Thompson, disappeared on their wedding day. As she hsn’t been declared deceased, Hawkswell cannot legally remarry and cannot access his wife’s funds – either of which would settle his dire financial crisis.
Coerced into marrying Hawkeswell by her duplicitous cousin, Verity fled London for the countryside. With no interest in the earl’s title or status, she was willing to forfeir her inheritance in exchange for her freedom. Now that her ruse has been discovered, Verity is forced to return to a loveless marriage.
Hawkeswell strikes a bargain with Verity: In return for three kisses a day, he will no insist on his conjugal rights. But Verity discovers there are kisses … and then there are kisses … as she begings to learn the true meaning if seduction at the hands of a master.
In my books …
The mystery surrounding Hawkeswell’s runaway bride was hinted at in the first book, and I had the sneaky suspicion that she’s hiding behind an invented identity. But this was unveiled in the beginning of the book. What kept me going to the end of the book was the hero’s wooing and seduction of the reluctant Verity, who despite her common merchant background, has captured his heart and admiration with her bold and honest way of facing life and the marriage, once her deception caught up with her.
The unlikely union and the slow building chemistry between Verity and Hawkeswell, under the masterful and poignant story-telling skills of Ms Hunter, was what made the story worked. She brought back all the good memories I associate with reading her medieval romances. This lushly romantic and heart-melting tale of two people from very different worlds brought me many happy hours of reading and re-reading. Excellent keeper!
Favourite parts/ quotes:
My favourite part of the book has to be the part when the hero realised how much he has come to love and cherish the heroine. Hawkeswell discovered the abuse she had suffered at her cousin’s hand before the forced marriage to him, and avenged her by beating up her cousin. He went on to organise a search and rescue of an old childhood friend/ sweetheart of hers, whom she suspected has met with some mishap arranged by her cousin.
After the daring and successful rescue, Hawkeswell decided to release Verity from the marriage, and gave her the option to annul their union, so she can regain her freedom and her old life. His parting letter to Verity spoke eloquently of his love:
I do not give you back your life because I have tired of you, Verity. I do not want you to think that. Quite the opposite. I ahve discovered, however, that my love for you means that I want you to have the life that you believe you were supposed to have, even if it means that I will not have the wife I have come to treasure.
IMB Rating: 4.5, Really liked it