(Marlow Intrigues, #1.5)
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
From Kindle bestselling Historical romance author, Jane Lark, comes a brand new FREE novella to accompany her breathtaking Marlow Intrigues series.
This novella tells the story of secondary characters from The Illicit Love of a Courtesan…
Rupert Stanforth, Earl of Morton, is exasperated by his sister’s choice of friend. Meredith Divine clings, using Rowena’s plain appearance as a foil for her auburn curls and fuller figure. He would break the friendship, but the more he complains, the more time the girls spend together. Ceasing his disagreement, he hopes the friendship will die, believing Meredith will take a wrong step soon…
Meredith clings to her only friend, Lady Rowena Stanforth, despite the disgusted looks thrown by Rowena’s proud, judgmental brother. Lord Morton cannot abide Meredith because of her low standing, but Meredith’s heart favours him . . . then in his single act of kindness, Meredith grasps an opportunity she cannot resist…
Last year I read and loved Jane Lark’s The Illicit Love of a Courtesan but this novella just didn’t work for me. It lacked strong character development and a believable romance.
I believe the story would have benefited from being a full-length novel. Rupert and Meredith had the potential to be such interesting and complex characters but, within the confines of this novella, they lacked the necessary in-depth characterisation and seemed very one-dimensional. So I found it difficult to relate to them and understand their thoughts and actions.
Rupert came across as a stuffy, pompous snob and I disliked how he judged Meredith to be a scheming opportunist simply because her father was in trade.
He wished nothing to do with the little schemer. Her father was in some sort of trade. Rupert had not even wished Rowena to befriend Miss Divine , let alone become so thick with her.
Even his final change of heart seemed to be based more on the fact that Meredith was “a delicious, sultry hoyden” in bed on their wedding night (hard to believe when she is a virgin!) rather than his truly falling in love with her.
Why did it have to be him her heart favoured?
I asked myself that same question. I couldn’t understand what attracted Meredith to a man whose every look conveyed dislike, disgust and suspicion. It made her seem weak. I did have some sympathy for her because of her unhappy childhood and lack of fatherly love. She was only tolerated by the ton because several of them were in business with her father and I understood why her friendship with Rupert’s sister, Rowena, was so important to her.
I never felt any real chemistry or deep emotional connection between Rupert and Meredith. Their falling in love wasn’t very believable, especially as there was no gradual build up…it seemed to happen too suddenly.
Thank goodness for Rupert’s cousin, Edward (hero of The Illicit Love of a Courtesan), who opened Rupert’s eyes to the fact that not everything can be viewed in simple black or white and there is a vast spectrum in between.
This one disappointment certainly isn’t going to deter me from reading the other books in this series because I know that Jane Lark can write romances that are passionate, intense and engrossing.
REVIEW RATING: 3/5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: WARM
Read February 2015
Marlow Intrigues series (Click on cover for more details):