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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries

The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries
Publisher: Pocketbooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (392 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewer Flower Name: Camellia

In the two decades since a tragic "accident" took the lives of his parents, Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville, has survived the scandal surrounding that fateful night by living as an unrepentant rakehell. And with his grandmother vowing to disinherit him if he doesn't settle down and wed, he plans to fulfill the bargain in true Sharpe style -- by bringing home a fake fiancée from a brothel! But his scheme is derailed when he rescues an American beauty in a dire predicament instead. Maria Butterfield came to London to track down her groom-to-be, who's gone missing, but her engagement won't stop Oliver from getting what he wants: her, in his bed. His rebellious masquerade may call his grandmother's bluff , but it's soon made all too real -- by a love that tempts him to be a hellion no more.

This novel is a sumptuous feast of secrets, scandal, sensuality, and sweetness, laced with sexual chemistry and scintillating dialogue. THE TRUTH ABOUT LORD STONEVILLE, a fascinating tale of love and redemption, seethes with all the machination and debauchery of early 1900’s century England; but it also has an undercurrent of desperation, guilt, and low self-esteem that tries the soul of Lord Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville.

The entrance of the outspoken, opinionated American, Maria Butterfield into Oliver’s home, with his family living there, creates a stir that sets each of the family members into a flurry of covert and overt actions as they each plan to further their own agendas.

Charming but arrogant Oliver Sharpe works hard at “living down” to what he considers himself to be because of the genes he inherited from his dead father. He frequents such places as brothels, opera houses, and gambling clubs, while leaving the running of his estate to a steward. All of which outrages his grandmother who reared him and his siblings after the death of his parents. She gives an ultimatum. Oliver sets out to out maneuver her. Taking advantage of Maria Butterfield who finds herself and her cousin in a perilous situation, Oliver sets in motion his plan. Little did he know he had bullied the wrong person. He soon loses control of events that change his life forever.

Dressed in mourning and searching the streets of London for her missing fiancé, Maria and her cousin Freddy stumble into an unsavory part of town as they follow a man they think can help them find her fiancé, Nathan. They end up in a brothel and are in danger of going to jail until Oliver makes them a deal they cannot refuse if they want to stay out of jail.

Maria, with her resourcefulness, commonsense, American work ethic, and strong sense of right and wrong, stirs up strong feelings in the aristocratic household of Halstead Hall. However, the emotions that stir inside her tantalize her curiosity and make her heart long for something that she cannot define.

Maria reminds Oliver of the ever-elusive happiness he longs for. Her innocence, curiosity, determination, and vulnerability bewitch him; but he knows she represents respectability, which is not for him in this life.

Sabrina Jefferies’ writing, with witty and pithy dialogue, sensual love scenes, subtle humor, and undercurrents of emotional stress that fuels doubts and fears, moves the plot along at a fast clip. Her secondary characters add sparkle, intrigue, and variety to the story. Her writing has a magic that makes THE TRUTH ABOUT LORD STONEVILLE captivating reading that sizzles at times.

This one is a keeper.

I’ll be watching for the next book in this series.