Author: Madeline Hunter
Category: Historical Romance
He catches her eye across the dining room–a handsome stranger who stands out among the lewd noblemen and bawdy painted women. But their worlds are about to collide in a way Roselyn Longworth could never have imagined. For before the night is out, she will be auctioned off to the highest bidder and Kyle Bradwell will lead her from one kind of hell to another. Yet from the moment he wins her, Kyle treats Rose with a gentleness she hasn’t known since a family scandal destroyed her reputation. And when she finally learns what is really driving Kyle, it’s too late. For Rose has fallen for the man who knows her most intimate secrets. Now he has stunned her with a proposal of marriage–the first step in a seduction that will demand nothing less than her complete surrender.
After reading The Rules of Seduction, and really liking it, I was looking forward to Rose's story. Rose is the cousin of Alexia, the heroine of TROS. After Rose's brother squandered all of the family's money, and stole from the accounts of many others, her family suffered ruin. Her brother fled, leaving Rose and her younger sister, Irene, to fend for themselves. Luckily, they had the help of Alexia, who offered financial support to her cousins.
Rose, for whatever reason, naively takes up with a man, Norbury. Unknown to her Norbury is one of the people who's account her brother had stolen money from. Though Norbury had been made whole he can not resist a chance at exploiting the sister of the thief. He uses her and when he's had his fill, he decides to sell her off to the highest bidder.
Kyle has seen Rose before and was captivated by her beauty. Being that Rose's station was far above his, he could never act on that attraction, regardless of her lack of financial wealth. Not able to watch Rose get sold off to a harsh fate, Kyle steps in and saves her. He is successful in getting her away from Norbury but Rose knows that there is nothing to be done about her now ruined reputation. That is until Kyle proposes a marriage of convenience.
I really struggled with this book, not because the writing wasn't good (it was), but because I was unable to connect with the characters. I read about their feelings, suffering, and love, but never felt it. I've read a few Hunter books and this is the first one where the heroine and hero, came off dry. The beginning of their story was promising but as it progressed it seemed that the characters were simply going through the motions, which bored me. I became disconnected with the characters, and sometimes with the story as a whole.
Something else that I'm not exactly sure if I liked is that there was never any "I love you" exchanges. Despite the lack of oomph between the two, Rose and Kyle's relationship progressed naturally enough that I knew that they loved each other. Still, to never actually have them say it... I don't know. Maybe I'm old fashioned and like to have those words exchanged.
I was also bothered by the bit of information that Norbury shared with Kyle through a letter. It was a BIG revelation/accusation but it never received any other mention. Something of that magnitude, I think, deserved further exploration. That it never got it was disappointing.
Rose and Kyle were strong enough characters to have a great story. Sadly, I felt that the potential they had was never realized. Grade C.