July 3, 2011
Sigh... I didn't want this story to end.
Loved, loved, loved this story. From the beginning when the heroine interrupts our hero as he is being serviced by one of her saved soiled doves, to the irritated shouted marriage proposal at the end, this story was a delight to read!
Well, fellow Romanceland readers, what can I say about Anne Stuart? She's done it again! Now, prepare yourself - if you are expecting the typical tortured, dark, angst-ridden Stuart storyline, you're in for a treat. While there are moments of angst and torture, this book is more along the lines of an earlier Stuart gem, The House Party. I would almost say this is a lighthearted read, but with Anne Stuart that could never happen. Yes, there are moments of derision and pain, but mostly there are moments of wonderful banter, delightful struggles and one of the best romance couples I've read in a long time. I smiled almost all the way through this book as I watched our heroine, the strong-willed rescuer of tainted ladies, hater of messy sex Melisande as she overturned our hero's (Benedick, the well-endowed rake) structured plans for his future. The sparks flew all over the pages when these two butted heads. I loved both of these characters, and while some readers may think Melisande had her TSTL moments, I never saw them as that; she was just very strong-willed. She was also adorably naive and her seduction at the hands of the charming Benedick was downright hot! Benedick is a Rohan after all... and what a fight he put up against the inevitable tumble into love. It was great! I smiled throughout his downfall.
Now, don't get me wrong, this is not a wacky laugh riot. There are moments of darkness, and a very deliberate pain-filled moment on the hero's part, but it is over quickly, so don't despair. And for those of you who want a tortured guy, I suspect the secondary character of Brandon will have his own book and I don't see too much humor happening with his story.
Speaking of the secondary characters, they are a strong supporting cast, not over-powering and I'm sure they will be around for more. There is a villain, although he is easy to spot, and the reactivation of the Heavenly Host group, but that storyline is very minor and mostly gives the couple a reason to be together.
If I had any quibble it would be with the repeated regurgitation of Benedick's family history and past. But that's just a little quibble and didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book.
I loved the interplay between this couple, found it to be a strong love story and I highly recommend Shameless.
Time/Place: Late Regency
Sensuality Rating: HOT!!!