Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: Mistress by Midnight by Nicola Cornick

A wicked duke’s bed is no place for a lady…

Lady Merryn Fenner is on a mission to ruin the Duke of Farne. A beautiful bluestocking with a penchant for justice, Merryn has waited twelve years to satisfy her revenge against Garrick Farne. Her family name had been tarnished at his hands, her life destroyed.

For twelve years Garrick, Duke of Farne has kept the secret of what really happened on the night that he killed his best friend, Stephen Fenner, in a duel. Now Stephen’s sister is intent on discovering the truth and putting at risk all those secrets Garrick has protected.

When a disaster traps Merryn and Garrick together, white-hot desire stirs between the two sworn enemies. Merryn's reputation is utterly compromised and she is forced to do the one thing she cannot bear; accept the scandalous marriage proposal of the man she has vowed to ruin.

Beware of scandalous women...

The portion of this blurb -- two sworn enemies -- is a little misleading.  Merryn hates Garrick; Garrick, however, is utterly intrigued by Merryn, maybe even moreso after he discovers her identity. 

"Oh?" She raised her brows. "If I refuse to concede, what then? Kidnap? Abduction? Marriage?" She smiled faintly. "I doubt you could get away with murdering two members of this family."

"The marriage option interests me more than the murder one," Garrick said.

She laughed. "So that you could bar me from testifying against you?"

"No," Garrick said. "So that I could make love to you."

He doesn't necessarily want to be attracted or intrigued, but he cannot help feeling responsible for all the hardship Merryn swears the Fenners lived through after the death of Stephen.

Don't misconstrue that Garrick has a savior complex.  He doesn't.  He wants to be honorable and do what's right by Merryn and her older sisters, Joanna and Tess, and that includes returning their family home and funds to them.  Merryn isn't having it and doesn't want anything Garrick has to offer. 

Unfortunately, Fate has other ideas for these two and continually manages to place Merryn in danger with only Garrick around to save her.  That isn't to say Merryn is clumsy or insipid or frail.  Oh no, she's quite the contrary.  At times her ability to take care of herself frightens even Garrick. 

The book leaves some plot threads open (there are more books in this series coming in 2011), though I do hope every party we've been introduced to over the course of this trilogy receives their proper comeuppance. 

(A very special thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Mistress by Midnight.)

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