Christmas Awards 2011

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

An Unladylike Offer

Christine Merrill. HMB paperback

This book is a sequel to THE INCONVENIENT DUCHESS. It tells the story of the black sheep of the family, St John Radwell now a Captain retired.

Esme Canville leads a lonely life, afraid of her father she longs for some freedom and some true happiness. Since her Mother abandoned her to the sole care of her Father she has suffered for her Mothers sins. Now her Father is planning to marry her to a much older man Lord Halverston, who frightens her and makes her feel naked, as he sees her at an upstairs window.

Opposite their house a notorious rake called Captain St John Radwell has lately moved in with his latest mistress. Who from the loud noises emitting from that place was throwing everything that came to hand, at the young man. A flow of Spanish, not quite the Spanish that a discreet young lady should hear or know. Something hurled at St John hit the window breaking it, then St John walked out on to the balcony opening the windows. He was tall and very handsome. Esme felt embarrassed by listening to this quarrel but was fascinated by it. Suddenly she could hear doors slamming and a woman sobbing, she smiled to herself at least her father was right it seemed about the goings on in the house opposite. The young man turned and caught sight of Esme, he looked at her for sometime then he smiled. The look of him took her breadth away and a daring plan began to form in her mind. She could be free from her intended marriage, her Father and this hated life, if only she dared?

St John asked her if she had the slightest idea of what being his mistress would entail. She would of course be disgraced in the eyes of the polite world.

Esme pleaded with her eyes and sat down on the sofa determined to stay, she had escaped from her home and nothing would make her return. Grabbing a glass that St John had poured for himself which had a sleeping draught in it, she drinks it and lies back on the sofa. St John had tried to stop her but was too late, what to do now? He could not take her home in this condition heavens knows what would be laid at his door and this time he was trying to save a lady’s honour.

He managed to get Esme into his carriage without being seen and took her to his brother’s home where he was not particularly welcome.

Miranda, wife of his brother, takes pity on Esme and decides to befriend her. As the rest of the story unfolds, we find out how cruel a Father can be and how desperate Esme is to find some happiness in life. There are many hurdles to cross for both Esme and Captain St John. Will the Rake finally fall truly in love? Can Esme reform the rake and in so doing find true happiness or will her Father insist on her return and so seal her fate. Read this book and become Esme, experience her fears, her desires and her love; it really grabs you, a special book.
I award this book 5 Roses. As

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