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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Reason to Rebel by Wendy Soliman

A Reason To Rebel by Wendy Soliman
Publisher: Samhain
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (176 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Vervain

After one daring act, two worlds collide.

Duty has always been Estelle Travis’s byword. But every woman has her limits, even a recently widowed one with few prospects. Her father’s coldly calculating plan to force her into another marriage is the final straw. In an act of rebellion, she takes up a position as companion to Lady Crawley. She soon realizes she may have just exchanged one peril for another, in the guise of Alexander, Viscount Crawley.

Alex is beguiled by the aura of mystery that surrounds the beautiful new governess. Her air of vulnerability brings out his protective instincts in spades. He discovers her well-hidden reckless streak when her sister goes missing and, rather than do what’s expected and return to her father’s austere household, Estelle embarks on her own search.

Amid a thickening cloud of suspicion and whispers of murder, what choice does a gentleman of honour have other than to offer his assistance? Then there’s the allure of her company, even if it exposes him to dangers that have little to do with her sister’s plight…

Warning: This title contains a Regency heroine who abandons conventional behaviour, breaches the social divide and renounces her inhibitions.

Estelle Travis is finally free! Forced into a marriage with an older man, she is now widowed, free to live her life as she sees fit. Or so she thinks, until her father arrives and demands that she return home to marry a man she despises. Unable to bear going through another loveless marriage, Estelle flees with her best friend, setting herself up as a companion to Lady Crawley.

Alex Crawley is mesmerized the first moment he sees his mother’s new companion. She has the most amazing eyes, lovely and arresting. He’s stunned at the reaction he has every time she’s in the same room with him, but knows he can’t act on his desires. Thinking her to be a Miss Tilling, he’s surprised when a Mr. Winthrop comes to call, claiming that his daughter, Estelle Travis, is hiding in his home. Suddenly intrigued by his house guest, he sets out to discover the truth.

Estelle immediately draws sympathy from the reader, having lived under first her father’s stringent rule and later being firmly under the thumb of a husband who clearly had no regard for her; a man who thought only of his own pleasures and took delight in belittling her. The first time Estelle stands her ground against a man you want to cheer her on. Watching the heroine grow from being scared and abused to a vivacious, outspoken, independent woman is remarkable. The hero is dashing, wanting to protect Estelle at all costs. Regardless of what is expected of his station in life as Viscount Crawley, he comes to realize that he’s falling in love with Estelle and is determined to do whatever is necessary to win her.

While I found some of the sentences a bit stilted, the book as a whole was well written. It took me a chapter or two to really get into it, but once I did I couldn’t stop reading and finished the book in one sitting. The descriptions used during the more emotional scenes leapt off the pages, leaving me awash in whatever sensations the heroine was currently experiencing. This tale is full of heartache, hope, and most importantly – love. It was a book worth reading and I would easily recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good historical romance. You won’t be disappointed!