on January 30th 2018
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At birth, Mick Trewlove, the illegitimate son of a duke, was handed over to a commoner. Despite his lowly upbringing, Mick has become a successful businessman, but all his wealth hasn’t satisfied his need for revenge against the man who still won’t acknowledge him. What else can Mick do but destroy the duke’s legitimate son—and woo the heir’s betrothed into his own unloving arms . . .
Orphaned and sheltered, Lady Aslyn Hastings longs for a bit of adventure. With her intended often preoccupied, Aslyn finds herself drawn to a darkly handsome entrepreneur who seems to understand her so well. Surely a lady of her station should avoid Mick Trewlove. If only he weren’t so irresistible . . .
As secrets are about to be exposed, Mick must decide if his plan for vengeance is worth risking what his heart truly desires.
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Lady Aslyn Hastings, the ward of the Duke of Hedley, has been cosseted all her life. It was always assumed that she would marry Hedley’s son, the earl of Kipwick – Kip – who has always been like a brother to her. Aslyn is the picture of propriety, even though she longs for freedom. Mick Trewlove is Hedley’s illegitimate son; Mick has crawled his way from poverty and became a wealthy and successful businessman, but with a chip on his shoulder the size of a small country. Mick wants the Duke of Hedley to acknowledge him publicly so he can take the place he deserves in Society, and Mick will make Hedley bend to his will by destroying Kip and ruining Aslyn.
First of all, had it been mentioned that Mick did not intend to “woo” Aslyn, as is mentioned in the blurb, but “ruin” her, I would not have chosen to read the book. I dislike this sort of trope, although some authors have managed it successfully. Very seldom do I dislike both protagonists in a romance, and I’m afraid it was the case with BEYOND SCANDAL AND DESIRE. The main problem was that the characters lacked depth, except for Fancy – Mick’s sister – and to some extent Kip. Another huge problem was Mick’s total lack of consistency: he abhors what is done to bastards, he will do anything to protect his sisters from being ruined, yet he is intent on ruining Aslyn, who is entirely innocent of the whole thing, thus making himself into precisely the kind of man he despises; it made no sense. As was pointed out to him during the story, why not ruin his father instead of innocents? Because. I thought Aslyn was a pathetic, spineless ninny, part of it was due to her upbringing, although she did grow some semblance of backbone at some point. I was ever so grateful to have been TOLD that she had some wanton thoughts early on, which explained her attraction to Mick. Aslyn had had no contact with men, apart from her male relatives and Kip, and from what I read, it was the only reason she could be attracted to Mick. As to Mick, I felt he possessed no charm whatsoever, in spite of being endlessly reminded how wonderful he was. I found him boastful about his money and his achievements, snobbish, and forever spouting that he was a bastard, and that bastards were mistreated, with which I entirely agree. I had gotten the idea the first hundred times or so that allusions were made about illegitimate children. Mick is jealous of anyone who dares look at Aslyn; he will be the one to ruin her. How noble. I never felt for one moment that this romance would have happened had it not been strongly governed by external forces; nothing ever felt organic. I might have started warming up to our couple ever so slightly had Mick still not been bent on ruining Aslyn eventually after some intimacy had occurred between them, even after I was TOLD that he was having feelings for her. Mick is always so careful of her pristine reputation, because when Aslyn will be ruined, it will be on his own terms, thank you very much. How quaint. And even while being TOLD that Mick was a gentleman, he certainly wasn’t.
The bright spot was Fancy: she felt like a ray of sunshine on a cold, dreary day, and even though she was not described at all physically beyond being seventeen years old, she was alive; she was the only character, besides Kip, who wasn’t two-dimensional. Everything in BEYOND SCANDAL AND DESIRE felt so predictable, with opportune and unlikely about-faces, inexplicable character “development” that occurred somewhat spontaneously, and some of the most preposterous plot twists I have ever seen conclude this novel. The vibrant descriptions were a welcome respite from the lacklustre characters, the pace was steady throughout, and the writing was flawless. A review is one’s objective thoughts on a book, we are all entitled to our opinions, and I know that mine will most likely ruffle many feathers and that I will be in the minority. So be it, and I apologise if I antagonise anyone.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.