Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Shameless by Anne Stuart


I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

I wasn't aware that the House of Rohan series was continuing after the third book, so I was surprised when I came across this. I haven't exactly been enamored by the series thus yet, but I liked it well enough to continue with it.

Shameless is, by far, my favorite in the series and includes my favorite hero. Benedick Rohan is the eldest son of the hero from book two and the oldest brother of the heroine from book three. He's been married two times already, both wives dying in childbirth, and engaged to a woman who ended up killing herself. While he puts on a strong exterior, he's clearly been emotionally scarred by these events, but sets out to marry again to a woman who will provide him with an heir and look the other way when he strays off.

Yeah, that doesn't happen. Instead, he comes across Lady Melisande Carstairs, a wealthy widow who has made her goal in life to reform women from the streets. Melisande and Benedick butt heads more than once, and tension builds.

I liked the way the relationship gradually progressed. Tension and general disdain makes for a good story. The two get into many verbal quips with each other, and I loved how Melisande made clear to him that he clearly met his match.

While The Heavenly Host plays a part in the story, thankfully Benedick's not a part of the organization, which has re-formed and has become even more sadistic than before. However, his younger brother Brandon, scarred from the war, has gotten himself mixed into it. Not to mention, Melisande has taken it upon herself to rescue the women who fall victim to the organization, and looks to Benedick for help.

Brandon is a sad sort, and I expect his story will be next. Scarred and crippled, both emotionally and physically, the guy has practically given up on life, but I expect a certain lady – also introduced in this book – will help him see the light.

Overall, a very good historical romance. It had a strong plot and some tense moments, along with some quite funny moments. I look forward to the next book.

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