Tuesday, October 27, 2009
A man in the shadows
Some say he is dangerous. Others say he is mad. None of them knows the truth about Marshall Ross, the Devil of Ambrose. He shuns proper society, sworn to let no one discover his terrible secret. Including the beautiful woman he has chosen to be his wife.
A fallen woman
Only desperation could bring Davina McLaren to the legendary Edinburgh castle to become the bride of a man she has never met. Plagued by scandal, left with no choices, she has made her bargain with the devil. And now she must share his bed.
A fire unlike any they've ever known
From the moment they meet, Davina and Marshall are rocked by an unexpected desire that leaves them only yearning for more. But the pleasures of the marriage bed cannot protect them from the sins of the past. With an enemy of Marshall's drawing ever closer and everything they now cherish most at stake, he and Davina must fight to protect the passion they cannot deny.
This book was okay, nothing great, I had a lot of issues with it. First off, no where in this book, does our hero look like the guy on the cover. Not once do I recall him wearing anything like this, this takes place in 1880 - it's not like you have Scottish lairds running around bare-chested with their plaids wrapped around them! This is the Scotland that is all the rage because Queen Victoria has made it fashionable - hoop skirts, crinolines - Balmoral - that sort of thing.
Davina, our heroine is damaged goods. No longer a virgin and ruined in society, she is the reluctant bride of our hero, Marshall aka the Devil. He's called the Devil because he thinks he's going mad. He rants and raves and has visions of blood and death and victims of his imprisonment in China from a few years earlier. This only happens at night and he is convinced it's from all the opium he was fed and became addicted to. Thus, to achieve an heir and carry on his line, he agrees to marry Davina sight unseen (not exactly the usual way by the 1880's) because no one else will have her and she is forced to go ahead with the marriage or face being a spinster for the rest of her life. She is beautiful though somewhat of a bluestocking.
She has no idea of her husband's madness and comes to the marriage hopeful it won't be too bad. She's struck immediately by how handsome and nice he seems at first, and the two of them have a pleasurable wedding night. That seems to be about their only common ground - bed. But, when not in bed, he's grumpy and avoids her, finding refuge amongst his Egytian artifacts, and she basically does the same, though she longs to have him in her bed again and she's going to the Egyptian artifacts hoping she'll bump in to him! For a good part of the book she's trying to lure him back to her bed, and he's hiding because he's afraid he'll have one of his spells and inadvertently kill her in one of his fits of madness. Funny how these fits of his only occur at night and after he's had some wine...
Meanwhile, there's the side story involving his evil uncle that is a secret coolie slave trader, and Davina's aunt who secretly works for the Crown as a spy to infiltrate his uncle's house and get proof of his illegal doings (she was actually one of the more interesting characters in the book). In addition there was the evil housekeeper, the faithful valet, and the devoted ladies maid to round out the cast, all culminating in the big rescue scene at the end to release Marshall from the insane asylum he's been whisked off to and a surprise ending of who the real culprit is.
A different story, I'll grant you that, but it just didn't thrill and excite me as much as it should have. Still, it kept my interest and I found the bedroom scenes pretty good and the author obviously did her research on Egyptian artifacts and Chinese/Anglo relations in the late 19th century.