Monday, May 10, 2010

Review: A Touch of Scandal by Jennifer Haymore

Kate knows her duty to her family, yet how can she ignore Garrett's powerful pull on her heart? Or the heady temptation of his stolen-and sizzling-kisses? Scandal has followed the duke since the war. Now the greatest shock of all is on its way-the one that can separate Garrett and Kate forever.
The last thing Garrett, Duke of Calton, expects to find while tracking his sworn enemy is the delectable, mysterious Kate. This beautiful servant girl rouses a longing the battle-scarred ex-soldier had never hoped to feel again. But when she turns out to be the sister of the man he seeks, he's convinced he's been betrayed.

In Ms. Haymore's second book, a sequel of sorts to A Hint of Wicked, she's continued the story of Garrett, Duke of Calton, whom we last saw leaving his wife, Sophie, to his cousin, Tristan, relinquishing the battle for her heart.  Garrett is a scarred man, literally and figuratively, and he has William Fisk to thank for all of those.

As I was reading, I was struck by this quote, just after Garrett's and Kate's first meeting:

"She had done this to him. As they spoke, she brought him to life. How was it possible?"

And that is totally true!  Garrett is a damaged soul, wounded, angry, bent on revenge (well, not so bent that he's consumed by it).  But when the revenge plot is satisfied almost halfway through the novel, I wondered what would happen to continue the pace and to ultimately lead to a happy resolution for all parties involved.

The tone changes, the end game changes -- it has to! -- though that doesn't make the book less interesting.  In fact, it's more complex, more heart-wrenching because the stakes for happiness are so high.  Without divulging spoilers, I'll have to stop here.  Needless to say, Ms. Haymore is one of my favorite historical romance authors, and I would suggest she become one of yours too.

(A very special thank you to Mandi of Smexy Books and Hachette Book Group, who sponsored the contest where I won a copy of A Touch of Scandal.)

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