Ever since I picked up Madeline Hunter’s medieval romance, By Arrangement, set in 14th century London, she has kept me spellbound to her writing with the breathtaking attention to details she imbues in her description of the period setting. In this, her latest romance series, she introduced four independent women who live together communally just on the outskirts of London, and they all contribute to the household funds, helping to garden and harvest the flowers for enigmatic widow Daphne’s trade, The Rarest Blooms.
Here’s a quick review of the first book in the series, which I read late last year, and re-read early this year for the 2011 Reading Challenge.
Title: Ravishing in Red
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Jove Books/ The Berkley Publishing Group
Year Published: February 2010
Stand alone or series: Book 1 of The Rarest Blooms series
On the Back cover:
The Domino requests that Mr Kelmsley meet him at The Two swords in Brighton two nights hence to discuss a matter of mutual benefit.
Hoping to clear her dead father’s name, Audrianna Kelmsleigh decides to respond to the advertisement placed by the mysterious “Domino”. Armed with her cousin’s pistol, she takes a room at the two Swords Coaching Inn. But the handsome man of commanding sensuality who shows up is not the Domino at all, but Lord Sebastian Summerhays – one of her father’s persecutors – who has been lured by the same advertisement. When Audrianna’s pistol accidentally fires, the situation becomes mortifyingly public …
There is only one way out of the scandal that erupts, and so these two passionate and headstrong adversaries find themselves joined in a marriage of necessity. Expecting a practical alliance, Audrianna quickly discovers she is helpless to resist Sebastian’s seductive persuasions as he teaches her the meaning of erotic desire. But she remains determined to exonerate her father, even if it means risking her life, her marriage – and her heart …
In my books …
I’ve always have a soft spot for heroes named Sebastien (or Sebastian). The few I’ve come across, in books of course, are rather intense, impassioned man of action. And Summerhays is no exception. In fact, this book works primarily because of him, even though the series revolves around the women.
Audrianna comes across as naive, and impetuous most of the time, and although she grew up a little towards the end of story, it was Summerhays and his circle of friends, and his brother, who captured my attention and held my interest in the development of the story. I already liked the Duke (Tristan) and the mystery surrounding Hawkswell’s missing bride promises to be an intriguing second installment.