Saturday, 5 November 2011

Seduction & Scandal by Charlotte Featherstone

Title: Seduction & Scandal
Author: Charlotte Featherstone
Series: The Brethren Guardians (book #1)
Next in series: Pride & Passion

My rating: 4.5 Stars

Synopsis: Growing up as the result of a scandalous affair, Isabella Fairmont knows what poverty is and vows never to succumb to the lure of passion. Isabella’s dreams of a proper marriage are thwarted once the enigmatic Earl of Black begins to pursue her. A man with a mysterious past and dangerous secrets, Lord Black is obsessed with Isabella and will do anything to protect her even as he attempts to seduce her.

Review: An immensely entertaining read.

The intricate plot revolving around sacred Templar relics and a mysterious adversary seeking power and immortality is extremely compelling. The elements of masonic lodges, séances in cemeteries, secret messages and Death as a Byronesque hero may be somewhat melodramatic but ultimately contribute to the dark and Gothic atmosphere of the story.

The writing is well-paced and easy to follow through the twists and turns of the story. My one small nitpick is that the excerpts from Isabella’s journal are distracting and do not really contribute to Lord Black’s characterization or his developing relationship with Isabella.

Lord Black is simply incredible - dark, brooding and so sexy – he fulfills every one of my tortured hero criteria. Isabella is a sweet heroine and while she does struggle with her feelings for Black, she never allows him to dominate her. Unfortunately, her characterization is not always inconsistent (she is supposedly a sturdy Yorkshire lass but suffers from debilitating headaches and swoons from fright). Black and Isabella have a sizzling chemistry and the seductions scenes are wonderfully sensual and steamy.

The secondary characters are also well developed with their own distinct motivations and personalities. The undercurrents of tension in the relationships of Adrian & Lucy and Iain & Elizabeth, are particularly intriguing and will apparently be explored in future installments.

Even though Black and Isabella's story is resolved satisfactorily in this book, readers are left with numerous unanswered questions regarding the conspiracy subplot. The author promises to address these in the sequel, and I look forward to finding out what happens in the rest of the series.


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