Where has this author been all these years? I pulled this book from my To- Be-Read (TBR) pile and I’m hooked! It made me blush, laugh, cry and sigh all within 357 pages of exquisite romance, recklessness, and renewal.
She had finally come to face the one thing she had been unable to face since she was sixteen: that the dream of love was far different from the reality of it.
Lady Caroline Arabella Starling has been in love with her brother’s best friend, Ronan, since she was thirteen years old when they became friends, at Ronan’s behest and to her dismay. Her unusual upbringing by her parents who left nothing out when teaching their children the ways of the world produced a very independent and outspoken young woman who only wanted Ronan and she would do anything to make him hers. Ruination be damned! Why wouldn’t he kiss her? Why didn’t he want her?
Pleasure became both his greatest exultation and his greatest agony.
Since the first time Ronan Henry Dearborn, the fourth Marquess of Caldwell, actually met his best friend’s eldest sister, Caroline, he felt he could be himself by playing cards with her every week and leave his troubles behind. However, after her declaring love for him at 16 and then going to France to live with her grandfather for a few years, the funny, precocious girl returned as a beautiful, intelligent young woman and his feelings changed. She had made it clear that she still loved him, but he was not deserving of her love. After a night of secrecy and misunderstandings, would she forgive him for who he is and what he did?
I love Caroline and Ronan! The author accomplishes a fantastic feat of drawing the reader into the characters’ deepest emotion. The characters are so vulnerable in their love and Ronan, especially, does everything in his power, including attending Madame Therese’s School of Gallantry taught by a former courtesan, to win Caroline back. When he pours out his heartbreaking past to Caroline it is one of the most moving declarations of love and courage that I have read in a very long time!
‘[Therese] wants to help men like you, Ronan. Men who admit to having problems related to women. Men who will then be able to take her advice and make a better imprint on a society that doesn’t do much to tolerate or understand women. The idea is actually quite brilliant and one I fully support. She means to educate male perceptions about women that are usually brushed aside or kept quiet by society.
I would also like to add that I enjoyed Madame Therese who gave superb and unconventional advice about relationships be it between men and women or between friends. She is a psychologist before her time.
Don’t forget the chapters in the book have quotes taken from the School of Gallantry guide and are spot on even for today’s world. I see a future book here.
This is the third book in the School of Gallantry series and I declare “Lady of Pleasure” is now listed as one of my all-time favorite historical romances, and Ms. Marvelle is on my top list of authors to follow. I can’t wait to read more in this series and other books from Ms. Marvelle. I recommend this book highly!
Thank you to Ms. Marvelle and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book with no expectation of a positive review given.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I spent my youth studying various languages, reading voraciously, and playing the pianoforte. I confess that here ends the extent of my gentle breeding. I was a naughty child who was forever torturing her parents with countless adventures that they did not deem respectable. Confined to my room on many occasions due to these misadventures, I soon discovered the quill and its amazing power. I scribed endless stories that almost invariably surrounded the topic of love, for I felt an inane need to be rescued from a family that did not understand my lust for life. In my mind, King Arthur became my true love and I waited for the day when he would come riding upon his steed and invite me to sit at his round table, not as his queen, but as his knight. To my distress, King Arthur was never to be found anywhere except for in the tip of my quill. And so I led an imaginary life for many, many years. When I finally came of age, my family was further horrified to discover that I had fallen in love with an American. An American King Arthur who became my knight, my husband, my all. I have been blessed beyond reason and am grateful for each day I have with him. What is equally amazing is that I now have the opportunity to share my passion for stories with the public. The reason why I write romance is because it allows me to touch upon the subject of love on a much deeper, more intimate level. Many of the stories I write, many of the stories I will continue to write, will always evolve around love. And yes, gentle readers, it will also evolve around sex as I have no intention of becoming my parents and restraining my characters from what it is they truly desire to do. I challenge you, my readers, to let loose of those corsets that have been strung too tightly due to convention and enjoy 1830 to its fullest.