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THE BRETHREN GUARDIANS SERIES BOOK 1

With the scandalous nature of her birth to live down, Isabella Fairmont dreams of a proper marriage, even if a passionless one. She saves her deepest desires for the novel she dares to pen, wherein a handsome lord with dark powers seduces her. But then her courtship with an appropriate suitor is threatened by the sudden attentions of the reclusive Earl of Black, whose pale blue eyes and brooding sensuality are exactlyas she described in her book.

Isabella tries to resist the mysterious Earl of Black.

Yet as he pursues her, with inexplicable knowledge of her past and kisses that consume her, Isabella fears she will succumb.

If only the earl could tell Isabella the truth. With very real, and treacherous, thieves endangering her life, Black will need to protect Isabella from the very people she trusts the most.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Having read and loved Addicted by Charlotte Featherstone, I couldn’t wait to read the first book in her Brethren Guardians series, Seduction & Scandal. Full of passion, suspense, mystery and intrigue, it promised to be a compelling read.

Having read some of the rave reviews, I know I am definitely in the minority but I found this book really disappointing. I’m not fond of Gothic novels and so I think my main problem with the book is the strong Gothic tone especially in the scenes between Black and Isabella. For me, the over-dramatic declarations somehow seem to diminish the sensual chemistry between them and the scenes feel stilted:

Looking deep into his eyes, Isabella licked her lips, her mouth suddenly dry, her breathing harsh behind her tight corset and the cuirass bodice of her gown. “My lord, this is reckless”.

“Reckless, dangerous, irresponsible, yes,” he murmured as he pressed against her, his chest slowly, inexorably pushing her backward till she was lying on the carriage bench and he was looming over her. “It is all those things, but it is also unavoidable, inevitable, inescapable.”

I couldn’t help but compare this to a similar situation in Addicted by the same author:

His eyes darkened and he rose from the settee, stalking her so that she stepped back from him. Towering above her, he stared down at her with his penetrating gaze.

No words are actually spoken but, to me, this scene is full of sexual tension.

The romantic element in their relationship seems sadly lacking. It always seems to be more about lust and need than love such as when Black says:

“I want you to close your eyes, and remember this, this moment between us right now, where our desire and need is so palpable neither of us can resist – where we will just fall into each others’ arms without thought or guilt, or fear of repercussions.”

This seems totally inconsistent with Black’s professed love for Isabella and his wish to protect her.

I must confess that I found the secondary characters more intriguing than the main love story. Lucy was very irritating at times but had fire unlike Isabella and when the reason for her obsession with the supernatural was explained, her actions became more understandable. Following the revelation at the end of the book involving Lucy and the impact it has on the Duke of Sussex who is suffering from unrequited love for her, I certainly want to read the second book in the series, Pride & Passion. There is also an obvious tension between Elizabeth, the Duke of Sussex’s blind sister and the Marquis of Alynwick, and I’m anxious to find out the reason in the third book of the series.

The subplot involving the role of the Brethren Guardians, the artifacts with their potential supernatural powers and the mystery surrounding the identity of Orpheus really held my interest and I will be keen to see the direction the plot takes in the following books.

VERDICT: RECOMMENDED TO ANYONE ENJOYS THEIR ROMANCES WITH A GOTHIC VIBE

RATING: ★★★

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