Thursday, March 06, 2008

To Pleasure a Lady by Nicole Jordan

I had given up on Jordan a while back. She was one of the first Authors that exposed me to the steamer side of the romance genre but her plots had become weak and after reading a few less than satisfactory books from her I decided to retire her from my must read authors. When I heard about the premise of the first book in her new series, I was actually intrigued enough to pick it up.

Lord Danvers has inherited not just a new title, but the guardianship of three very independent young ladies. He would be happy to surrender his responsibility to them since they want nothing less than for him to go to the devil, but his honor does not allow him to do so. He has served as guardian to his sister Eleanor since she was young and he knows that the Loring sisters need protection.

The Loring sisters, Arabella, Roslyn and Lillian, have been up to their neck in scandal for the last four years. Their mother ran off with a Frenchman and two weeks after that incident their father was killed in a duel over his latest paramour. They were taken in by their uncle, the late Earl of Danvers, but he treated them like a charity case and resented every shilling spent on them. This lead the sisters to seek their own means to become independent of any man. They have established an academy of deportment for young, wealthy ladies who are not titled but whose parents aspire them to join the ton. The sisters view the new guardianship as a threat to that independence, especially when the Earl is planning on giving them a large dowry to lure husbands that will overlook their scandalous past.

At Marcus and Arabella's first encounter sparks fly. She confronts him determined to have him see reason and leave them be, but all she does is spark his interest, causing him to ride to his newly acquired estate to become more acquainted with her. Marcus is so attracted to his eldest ward, he proposes to her and offers her a marriage of convenience, where there will be no love but alot of passion. She refuses adamantly until Marcus suggests a wager. He will have two weeks to convince her to be his wife and if he fails, she and her sisters can become emancipated from his guardianship. Thus the war begins.

The beginning of the story actually hooks you a bit, but unfortunately it cannot keep it's momentum. I found the story a bit unbelievable at points and this just distracted me. Arabella was not very consistent in her character and I found myself too often confronted with the Author's pen. What I mean is that I could feel the author trying to plop a scene into the story that just didn't really go with the story itself. Arbella was a smart independent woman that took the reigns in her sisters lives. She was the guiding force that lead to a self sufficient life for herself and her sisters, but she was so easily manipulated by Marcus, a man she really didn't know or trust. The whole idea that she would throw caution to the wind and surrender herself to him was not believable since the author gave us no reason why we should believe.

In the end, the story was enjoyable and it kept me interested enough to know the fates of the other sisters, The characters are strong enough that I can hope that the next book in the series will not destroy the image Jordan has painted of these sisters. I also like that I don't have to wait a year to read their stories since the series is being released over three consecutive months.

Grade: C+


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