Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Notorious by Nicola Cornick

When the ton's most notorious heartbreaker…

Dangerously seductive and sinfully beautiful, Susanna Burney is society's most sought after matchbreaker. Paid by wealthy parents to part unsuitable couples, she's never yet failed to accomplish her mission of diverting a groom-to-be. Until her final assignment brings her face-to-face with the man who'd once taught her an intimate lesson in heartache….

Meets London's most disreputable rake…

James Devlin has everything he's always wanted: a title, a rich fiancĂ©e and a place in society. But the woman who's just met his eyes across a crowded ballroom threatens it all. Not because she'd once claimed his heart, or that every sinuous swirl of her ball gown takes his breath away. But because the secrets she carries could cost him everything. To put the past to rest once and for all, Dev just might have to play Susanna at her own wicked game….
Let the seduction begin!

For the past two years, he's been celibate and engaged to Lady Emma Brooke, thanks in part to her dowry and connections, both of which can provide a stable life for Devlin and his sister, Francesca.  When he's introduced to Lady Caroline Carew, he's very surprised to be reacquainted with his ex-wife whom he thought to be deceased, Susanna Burney.  Susanna as Lady Carew has set her cap for Francesca's intended, Fitzwilliam Alton.

The years apart, a supposed annulment, and a purported death do nothing to diminish the passion between Devlin and Susanna.  Because he values his sister's happiness above all else -- even above his own -- Devlin is tasked with keeping Lady Carew distanced from Fitz in order that Chessie may solidify her claim to his heart.  Unfortunately, Fitz's parents do not want a marriage between their only son and Chessie, which is why they hired Susanna to seduce him away.  It's relatively easy for Susanna to accomplish this task, given that Fitz is spoiled and conceited and not good enough for Chessie.  That Susanna and Devlin cannot stay away from one another while she hopes to gain and keep Fitz's favors matters not.

She had a body made for sin and he would take it and tomorrow he would send her back to Fitz knowing that she bore the marks of his possession on her...

I had feared the subplot featuring Chessie would be more sinister in nature and while it was a means to an end, I don't pretend to suppose she will be completely happy with her life.

It was so nice to visit the scandalous ladies (and men) of the ton again after an eight-month absence, and I'm looking forward to doing so again with Desired (November 2011).   

(A very special thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Notorious.)

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