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(Mad Passions, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

The Victorian era was full of majestic beauty and scandalous secrets—a time when corsets were the least of a woman’s restrictions, and men could kill or be killed in the name of honor……

Lady Margaret Cassidy left a life of nobility behind in Ireland, forsaking her grieving homeland to aid war-ravaged men in England. Still, she never expected a cruel turn of fate to lock her into an unwanted betrothal with one of her English patients—much less one as broken and dangerous as Viscount Powers.

Wrecked by his tragic past, Powers’ opiate-addled sanity hangs precariously in the balance, leaving him poised to destroy anyone who dares to utter the names of the wife and child he still so deeply mourns. So when he is forced to marry Margaret in exchange for freedom, he is shocked by the desire to earn her trust, her body, and—most alarming of all—her heart….

♥♥♥♥♥♥

**5 Dark, Compelling Stars**

Each time I read a Maire Claremont book, I find myself totally immersed in the compelling world she creates and her fascinating, flawed characters.

How I imagine James…

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“You’ve forsaken yourself and the man I know you to be.”

In Lady in Red, James was a secondary character just begging to have his own story. He was crude, dripped sarcasm and was addicted to opium. I knew his story was going to be an emotionally powerful one and I wasn’t disappointed.

Ms Claremont writes with such depth that I shared all James’s emotions as if they were my own. I felt his gut-wrenching pain at the loss of his wife and daughter…

His heart split, and grief spilled from him in wave after unrelenting, punishing wave.

and experienced the harrowing effects of his drug addiction…

Unease gripped his gut. He’d never experienced anything like this and was heading out into the wilds, no compass, no map, and no provisions.

At times, the realism was almost unbearable but it was what kept me turning the pages because I longed to see this broken man find himself again.

How I imagine Margaret…

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Everything about this world had taught her how important it was to take the correct path, to live rightly, and to never allow one’s self to be ruled by emotion.

James needs a special kind of heroine and Margaret is just what he needs… calm, unafraid and determined.

That careful gaze probed him without mercy . Pushing against his barriers, determined to breach him.

Margaret has had her share of pain as she watched the suffering caused by the famine in Ireland and the devastating emotional affect it had on her parents and her brother. She has built a thick armour around her heart because the only way to help those who need her, is to remain emotionally detached.

It was such a heart-rending, poignant, dramatic and passionate journey for these two, but ultimately seeing James finally emerging from the darkness and learning how to love again and Margaret opening her heart to him was so rewarding.

That oh so glorious smile of hers lit up the ballroom in a way that candles simply could not. It lit up his soul.

I didn’t know what to think about the Earl of Carlyle, James’s father. At first, it seemed that the only reason he wanted Margaret to help James might be because he was the Earl’s only son and heir and the line was in danger of dying out. It soon became clear that he genuinely loved James and would do anything to help him. There had been discord between them over the years because of the tragic events of the past but it was wonderful to see them finally reconciled. That scene really brought a tear to my eye.

Once again, Ms Claremont pushes the boundaries of traditional historical romance with this compelling and intensely emotional story. A must read!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read April 2014

The Mad Passions series (click on the book cover for more details):

The Dark Lady (Mad Passions, #1) by Maire Claremont Lady in Red (Mad Passions, #2) by Maire Claremont A Lady Undone (Mad Passions, #2.5) by Maire Claremont The Dark Affair (Mad Passions, #3) by Maire Claremont

 

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(Mad Passions #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Official Blurb

The Victorian era was full of majestic beauty and scandalous secrets—a time when corsets were the least of a woman’s restrictions, and men could kill or be killed in the name of honor…

Lord Ian Blake has returned from India a broken man. Years ago, he pledged to Lady Eva Carin—his childhood companion and first love—that he would bring her husband back alive. His failure haunts him. But even his jaded soul can’t anticipate the shocking sight of beautiful, independent Eva confined in a madhouse.

Locked in an asylum, forgotten by society, Eva is adrift in both body and mind. For Ian to break her free, they must cross a powerful enemy—and prove her sanity to England’s unforgiving aristocracy. But the biggest danger of all may come when the secrets of Eva’s tragic past are finally unlocked.

★✩★✩★✩★


**4.5 ENGROSSING STARS**

I do admire authors who are willing to go beyond the established boundaries of historical romance and Maire Claremont has done just that in her dark, intense, debut novel, THE DARK LADY.

MY THOUGHTS

Ms Claremont’s writing is both evocative…the chilling reality of conditions in the madhouse was so vivid that I felt that I was right there with Ian, experiencing everything he did as he entered that hellish place:

It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the gloom. And as his eyes adjusted, the scent assailed him. Lord, the smell of lye was far preferable to the wretched stench of unwashed human and raw fear permeating the stagnant indoor air.

and emotive…I found myself sharing all the doubts and fears that Eva felt…

“I don’t know myself anymore.” Her slender fingers curled as she lingered, looking out to the street below.
“How do I find myself again?”

I loved the complexity of Eva’s character as she struggles to overcome her laudanum addiction and her overwhelming feelings of grief and guilt, believing her irresponsible actions caused the death of her son, Adam. Her journey isn’t easy but she is stronger than she thinks. Ian is haunted by feelings of guilt over his friend’s death and harbors a terrible secret that makes him believe himself unworthy of Eva’s love. Not only do they have to face their own personal demons but also the malignant forces that are determined to destroy them.  I loved how Ian did everything to protect Eva and prove that she was sane.  These two truly deserved to find happiness.

There are memorable secondary characters:

Eva’s friend, Mary – who selflessly aids Eva to escape…I can’t wait to read her story in Lady in Red.

Ian’s Aunt Elizabeth – kind, perceptive and pragmatic

Ian’s friend, the Earl of Wyndham – a former spy who aides them and provides some much needed humour

Mrs Palmer who runs the madhouse -she repulsed me but, at the same time, intrigued me

Thomas , Eva’s brother-in-law – a creepy loner

The plot has plenty of heart-stopping action, as Ian and Eva keep one step ahead of the villains. The ending is both surprising and heart-warming…a truly hard-won Happy Ever After.

 If you are in the mood for something dark and intense with an original plotline, fascinating characters, suspense, romance and a heart-warming ending, I can definitely recommend this book.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Mad Passions series to date (click on cover or link for more details):

The Dark Lady (Mad Passions, #1) Lady in Red (Mad Passions, #2) A Lady Undone – 4 Feb 2014 The Dark Affair (Mad Passions, #3) – 4 March 2014

Read November 2013

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