Thursday, August 27, 2015

Alphabet Soup Challenge: Teresa Medeiros - One Night of Scandal

Proper decorum has never come easily to Carlotta Anne Fairleigh--not even tonight, when the lovely, impetuous miss is finally making her debut. As she waits to make her entrance, she can't help wondering about the darkened house next door, the supposedly abandoned home of Hayden St. Clair, the man society has dubbed the "Murderous Marquess." Certainly one small peek through his window before the festivities would be harmless . . .
And, naturally, this latest "adventure" ends in disaster, thoroughly compromising the budding debutante's reputation and leaving her suddenly, unthinkably . . . betrothed! Soon she's en route to the wilds of Cornwall in the company of the handsome, mysterious marquess whose name the "ton" whisper with fear and loathing.
Yet there is something thrilling--and surprisingly tender--about her dark, unreachable groom, and the desire in his eyes is undeniable. But before Lottie will surrender to the yearnings in her heart, she must unlock the secrets of Hayden's past, no matter how scandalous--or perilous--they may be.

Comment: Here's another book featured in my alphabet soup challenge. I picked this title for the letter O not only because it was something I had but also because it suited the fact I read the first story last month.
This book is the second installment of a trilogy and focuses on the sister of the protagonist of the previous book.
We first met Carlotta Anne Farleigh, Lottie, when she was a child in the previous book and now it's her turn to have a story. She is about to make her debut but can't resist going to the mysterious neighbor's house precisely on that night.
Hayden St Clair has a reputation of having murdered his wife. He only wants peace and finish his business deals and leave. Mistaking Lottie for someone else, Hayden ends up in a compromising situation with her. They marry in haste and suddenly Lottie has brand new challenges to overcome in her married life...
I liked this story overall and to be honest I had an easy time reading it. But I can't say this is the most amazing historical romance ever.
The plot follows Lottie in her new life and everything that entails. She has to learn to do many things and deal with situation she never saw coming. I liked her personality but there were some scenes where I thought her attitude to be slightly childish. But overall, we do see how much she evolves.
Hayden is someone with secrets, things he's ashamed of in his past and a huge need to make things right. He just doesn't know how to act in a way where others can understand that.
I liked how the author dealt with the main character's issues and how they had to reach a compromise.
What I think wasn't as successfully done was their romance.
The romance seemed lacking in my opinion. The way they meet was supposed to be funny in a way, but I didn't laugh. I have a problem with books that aren't classified as comedies but have that tone in certain parts. I'm not very certain of how to interpret things and most times what happens is I don't find it funny at all. With this couple, from their meeting , their marriage and living together, nothing seemed quite balanced or justified. It seemed disjointed in a way and I was never convinced of their bond. Even in the intimacy scenes - not that many which was good - it looked like they weren't deeply into each other, it seemed staged or described in a way I saw as shallow. I don't know, it just didn't feel right all the time.
There are some conflicts to solve and despite the HEA in the end, some things seemed a little bit out of context. Just my impression, though. The author's writing and presenting of some situations seemed ok, others not so much. I guess the story isn't completely balanced from beginning to end.
The end also seemed slightly off. I understand the small paranormal detail and why it was used but the way it helped to create the final scenes ruined it a bit. Instead of being something mysterious but only left up in the air, suggestive, it became a bit real and brought the story from alluring to clichéd and sincerely I don't think that would have been necessary. Maybe it's the result of times but I think the author didn't have to use that as a tool to finish the story.
All in all, this was slightly above average but doesn't have all the necessary details to make me more convinced about it nor was I as dazzled by it as I thought.
I have higher hopes for the third installment, the characters seem more likable for me and many readers praise it. Let's hope it's better done than the first two stories.
Grade: 7/10

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