The Pleasures Of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries
If you love Regency romance and you're not already reading Sabrina Jeffries, I can't imagine why not. Author of over 50 best-selling novels, Ms. Jeffries knows exactly what her audience want and she delivers it in spades. No historical inaccuracies here; she knows her time period inside out.
This is the fourth book in The Sinful Suitors series, and I have to confess I haven't read the previous three, but it absolutely wasn't necessary. This book stands perfectly on its own.
Seven years ago, Niall Lindsey, heir to the then Earl of Margrave, was forced to flee England after killing another man in a duel. To save his sister's honour, he couldn't tell anyone why, not even Brilliana, the woman he loved. With a wastrel father and a mother on her deathbed, Brilliana could not bring herself to trust Niall's promise that he would marry her as soon as it could be arranged, and chose not to go with him. That fateful choice set the course for both their futures, and Niall can't bring himself to forgive and forget once he finally returns to England and finds Brilliana, now widowed, more temptingly beautiful than ever.
I have to admit that Niall's refusal to accept Brilliana's motives for not wanting to go with him were valid absolutely INFURIATED me. She was seventeen and he had a bad reputation, and had just confessed to killing a man in a duel, but wouldn't tell her why. Frankly, it would have been naive of her in the extreme to blithely accept his promises and run away with him. Eventually, he comes to see the situation from her point of view, but not until after learning that his father lied to her and forced her into an unwanted marriage.
I was also not very impressed with Niall's interactions with Silas, Brilliana's son. Niall was constantly thinking about HIS future children with Brilliana and I have to say that I felt Silas would come off a very poor second best when a younger sibling came along.
While Niall had some childish moments - his jealousy over the love he thought Brilliana felt for her dead husband was extremely juvenile - Brilliana herself was absolutely wonderful. She took absolutely none of Niall's nonsense. She was the one who spent the last seven years struggling to survive, while as far as she is concerned he spent the time living the high life in Spain and Portugal. While it is apparent that he did rather more than that, acting as a spy for England, he had an easy life compared to hers, which made his behaviour all the harder to swallow.
I love second-chance romances and I loved Brilliana, but Niall's entitled attitude and refusal to believe anything that didn't quite fit his version of events throughout most of the book had me gritting my teeth. Beautifully written, I still can't quite bring myself to give it five stars.
The Pleasures Of Passion is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.