I am coming to enjoy more historical romances as not all heroines are weak-willed imbeciles but are portrayed as women who are working hard to not completelysuccumb to society’s expectations. In this title the heroine is in between a rock and a hard place forced to choose a path she would normally not consider. It was a nice quick read and showed surprising depth with both the H/h.
Justin is desperately trying to get kicked out of his family. He is the third son and not needed for anything per his father. His mother is also extremely cold and more concerned with her position than her youngest child’s pain. He has been raised tobelieve he is worthless and discard-able but for some reason no amount of scandal or trouble he causes has been able to get him completely freed from them. He does have an uncle who has provided the only fatherly advice and love he has ever known. He decides to do what he thinks will finally push his father over the edge by attempting to recruit an Italian opera singer to become his mistress. He doesn’t want her love just her ability to play the part of his mistress and warm his bed.
Carmalina was a fun character to get to know. She has been singing in London for a bit but due to the weather and air quality is losing her voice. She keeps hoping it will hold on long enough for her to get enough money together to be able to leave England and head somewhere else so she can create a new life and shed the misguided reputation being an entertainer means being a whore. She initially turns Justin down even though he makes a good offer because that isn’t who she is. She is attracted to him but is not willing to truly become what others have always thought her to be. She is a good woman and strong. She unfortunately loses her voice and is robbed which leads her to make the deal with the devil. She does ask for 7 days to make a final decision. He cannot bed her during that time which drives him a bit mad. This arrangement ultimately is set to last a year with a major clause being she cannot fall in love with him.
As we all know things like this don‘t often stay the case and once she gets to know him she realizes he is so much more than the wastrel everyone thinks he is. He is just an extremely hurt man who never had any love or affection from those he needed it from most. Everyone other than his uncle treats him like dirt or scum even though he has done nothing wrong. Finding out why this treatment occurred was heartbreaking as no child deserves to be treated so poorly for the sake of revenge/pettiness. I was happy to see the two of them truly find what they needed in life and found the sex scenes to be particularly moving as more is there than just sheer lust. There is affection and love even if neither party originally sees it.
Go give this one a try!! Special thanks to NetGalley.com and Carina Press for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.
Scandal’s Mistress – Bronwyn Stuart – 3 Stars