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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review: A Most Scandalous Proposal by Ashlyn Macnamara

I really enjoyed the male heroes in this story.
A Most Scandalous Proposal 
by Ashlyn Macnamara

  • File Size: 1116 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345534743
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 26, 2013)
  • Sold by: Random House Digital, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00957T76W
Genre: Historical Romance
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
In Ashlyn Macnamara’s stunning romance debut—perfect for fans of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Sabrina Jeffries—two childhood friends in Regency England discover love with the most unlikely of partners: each other.
“A tale of high-stakes scandal and heartfelt passion . . . a most delicious treat!”—New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare
After watching her beloved sister, Sophia, pine over the ton’s golden boy for years, Miss Julia St. Claire has foresworn love and put herself firmly on the shelf. Unfortunately, her social-climbing mother and debt-ridden father have other ideas, and jump at the chance to marry Julia off to the newly named Earl of Clivesden . . . the man of Sophia’s dreams.
Since resigning his cavalry commission, Benedict Revelstoke has spent his time in London avoiding the marriage mart. But when he discovers that the Earl of Clivesden has his sights set on Julia, Benedict tries to protect his childhood best friend from the man’s advances—only to discover that more than friendship is driving his desire to defend her. He surprises them both with the force of his feelings, but when Julia refuses him, and her father announces her betrothal, Benedict fears he’s lost her forever—until Julia approaches him with a shocking scheme that will ruin her for all respectable society and lead them into an exquisite world of forbidden pleasures.
Includes a preview of Ashlyn Macnamara’s next novel, A Most Devilish Rogue.

Miss Julia is only two-and-twenty and she isn’t interested in the pain she perceives comes with love and marriage. She has watched her seemingly indifferent parents and she has seen the tears and sadness that her older sister, Sophia, has experienced while nurturing a crush on a handsome, womanizing rogue, for the past five years.

Suddenly the rogue, Ludlowe, is to inherit the title of Clivesden and he wants a beautiful, cold-hearted wife to produce children and not embroil him in emotions so he can continue his rakish ways. Julia is rumored to be just such an ‘ice queen.”  Ludlowe pursues Julia even though she makes it clear she isn’t interested in him and tries to move his attentions to her sister.

Julia’s childhood friend, Benedict, is alarmed when he sees that Ludlowe is betting that Julia will be the next Countess of Clivesden.  Benedict goes to warn Julia and soon realizes that he doesn’t want to lose her to anyone else. Before he can convince her that love and marriage have a lot to offer, entanglements occur.

Circumstances, partially contrived by Ludlowe, force Sophia into an engagement with the reclusive Earl of Highgate who has a bitter history involving Ludlowe. When the engagement is announced at a ton ball, their father also announces that Julia will wed Ludlowe. Julia is shocked and upset but that is only a mild reaction compared to the betrayal that Sophia feels and the anger she aims at Julia.

Julia feels betrayed and manipulated by her parents. She sneaks off to make a scandalous proposal to Benedict seeking a way out of the unwanted engagement. What can be done to resolve the mess that is tumbling around Sophia and Julia?

I really enjoyed this story and liked the male characters particularly. Julia is a conservative young woman trying to protect her heart because of a tragic loss she witnessed as a child. Benedict is a strong, honorable, young man who just needed a nudge to realize his feelings. Sophia is a terribly self-centered and silly young woman who has wasted five years pining for an unworthy man. I love how her new betrothed, Highgate, gently but firmly sets out to show Sophia how much he can offer her in support and affection. You actually get two romances in one story and the development of the relationships for both is warm and sensual.

The story moves along very well and I enjoyed the engaging writing style. Although it is straight romance, with no mystery or intrigue, there is good conflict that keeps it interesting. I look forward to reading more in the future from Ms. Macnamara. I recommend that historical romance fans grab this title when it releases and enjoy.
Sophia enjoys learning from tender kisses:
The tenderness of gentle nips pressed to her skin tugged at her heart and demanded she return in kind, softness for softness, heat for heat.  Location 2746.

Benedict wants to touch Julia’s passion:
Within the next hour, he planned to cure her of that reserve. He wanted to touch her at such a depth that she could no longer hold her passion in check. Location 4018.

I received this ebook from Random House Digital through NetGalley for an honest review.

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