Catherine Deverall. Madame Venna. Both the same woman, yet two completely different women. One, the bastard daughter of a lord. The other the infamous mistress of the Golden Pearl, a high-end brothel. But which one is the real woman Saint has fallen for?
Lord Sainthill, of the notorious Lords of Vice group, has always been one for chasing the ladies. But when he meets the mysterious Madame Venna, he's determined to woo her into his bed. She kicks him out on the morning after, and as payback, Saint soon starts bedding other women in an attempt to get the masked mistress out of his mind. Although it doesn't work, he keeps trying. Six years later and he still can't stop thinking of Madame V...but will she open up to him?
When he learns of a Catherine Deverall, he fears she is in trouble. He doesn't expect to find a lovely young miss with eyes much like his Madame's....nor does he expect to find the many secrets she is hiding....
I am not a fan of cheating in romance novels. Period. Unless there is some great reason for it (which is rare). My biggest problem with All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess was the hero's many lovers and whores in the time he was “separated” from the heroine.
True, they had only slept together that first night (they were not married or engaged). But it was clear that they would end up together, that they felt this relationship was something special, even if they wouldn't admit it to the each other yet. And when she then pushed him away, because of her secrets, he spent the next 6 years sleeping with every girl he could, just to prove he could. She took a lover or two as well, including his friend.
And I just couldn't stomach this. I know these things happen, unfortunately, in real life. But when I read a book, especially a romance, I don't want this from the hero. Or the heroine, for that matter. Especially not out of spite or revenge.
The rest of the story was fairly good. I didn't mind the idea behind it (a heroine with a very horrible and complex background, rather than the same old debutante type). But the particulars regarding the couple's relationship—well, it was enough to almost ruin the book for me completely.
I know that many will still love this book, despite the cheating, but it's one of the few things that I personally can't stand, in real life or in my fiction.
3 STARS! A good, solid choice for historical fans, All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess continues Hawkins' Lord of Vice series. I'm still interested enough to look for her future books even though this particular one turned out to be just “OK” for me. :)
Simon Jefferes, the Marquess of Sainthill, has done the unthinkable—he’s fallen in love. The so-called “Saint” has spent his life gambling, dallying with women, and satisfying his every whim. And he fully intended to continue his wicked ways, until he met the mysterious, exotic, and irresistible Madame Venna—the one woman he can’t have…and the only one he’s ever wanted for more than an evening.
The proprietress of the Golden Pearl, one of London’s most exclusive brothels, Madame Venna takes pride in the lush, decadent club she’s created. With a half-mask to conceal her identity, she’s careful to safeguard something even more valuable—her heart. But Saint is determined to tear down the walls she’s built around herself, and to finally expose the truth—that Madame Venna is a woman very much in love…with him.