Type: Historical Romance
My Copy: Sent
The widowed Lady Isabel Avenbury has one remaining younger sister to shepherd into an advantageous marriage, and then she will be free. Free to take a lover to fill her lonely nights—the only option left for a woman on the delicate edge of a certain age.
Except when she chaperones her sister to a country house party, she is taken aback by her sudden, undeniable attraction to the host. And deliciously scandalized when she finds a copy of the notorious, much-gossiped-about Ladies Book of Pleasures in his library.
When Seth Rowland, Marquis Lyndham, notices his book is missing, his interest is piqued as to which of the potential young brides at his party has absconded with it—and he’s shocked to discover it’s Isabel. Though older than the women he’d planned to court, the powerful beauty exudes a sensuality he cannot ignore.
The book inspires them to begin a desperate, passionate affair. But their time together is running out and they must choose. Follow society’s rules, or take a chance at love.
Oh my. This book = swoon. I know that’s an old-fashioned term, but given that this is a historical romance, I think I can be forgiven. It has been a long, long time since a book kept me awake until the wee hours reading – only to wish I could ignore work, chores, even my family, so I could finish it. I loved this book. I loved Jess Michael’s writing. This was my first book by her, but it definitely won’t be my last. I loved Seth, and I adored Seth and Isobel together.
Seth Rowland, the Marquis of Lyndham, and Lady Isabel Avenbury have known each other for a long time. They travel in the same social circles, and there has always been a certain awareness between them. Seth first admired her when they met a long time ago, but he was too young to consider marriage then. Isabel has spent the years since the beginning of their acquaintance married to a much older man and raising her two half-sisters. While she shared a mutual affection with her now-deceased husband, it was not a love match, and her marriage of convenience was shadowed by disappointment because she was unable to produce an heir.
Now that her sister Marjorie is happy and settled in marriage, Isabel intends to do the same for her other sister before finally doing something for herself. After giving Serena a Season and hopefully finding her a suitable match, Isabel plans to have an affair. She knows the idea is scandalous and she’s not quite sure how to pull it off, but despite being barren and too old to be considered an acceptable bride, she longs for romance and passion in her life. What she doesn’t plan on is her attraction to Seth, a man she is completely unsuitable for.
Lord Lyndham needs a bride. Ever since his title was passed on to him upon his older brother’s death, he has had the weight of carrying on the family line on his shoulders. To do that, he needs a bride who will give him an heir. It is during a house party held at his country estate with the purpose of “showing off” several eligible young ladies that he once again comes into contact with Isabel. She is there acting as a chaperone for her sister Serena, one of the eligible young ladies his mother invited. From the instant he sees Lady Avenbury again, Seth is captivated. He can barely tolerate going through the social niceties with all of the silly young women in attendance. All he can think about is Isabel. When he discovers that she ‘borrowed’ a scandalous book from his library, he is intrigued and aroused. He wants the shy, almost innocent widow with a desperation that shocks him.
The fact that Isabel is completely wrong for him only seems to add fuel to the fire of their mutual attraction. They are drawn to each other like moths to a flame. I could feel how much they wanted each other. I could feel how desperate they were to be together, even though they knew nothing could come of it. Seth needed a young, fertile bride. Instead he falls for the mature, passionate, caring woman who can never give him the son his family needs.
Seth was a wonderful hero. I almost had one instant where I didn’t like him for not following his friend’s advice, but his actions only proved how desperately he wanted Isabel and that made it all the more real. I loved that Isabel gave in to her own desires despite knowing she had no future with him. She was helpless to resist Seth and came alive with his touch. I think the secondary characters were written perfectly, from Seth’s mother and his best friend to Isabel’s friends and sisters. The scandalous book aspect only added a little more eroticism to an already steamy book.
I’m somewhat of a picky reader. For me to love a book, the author’s writing style has to ‘click’ with me. The characters’ dialogue has to be real. I need to fall in love with the hero, while at the same time hoping against hope that he falls in love with the heroine. Their chemistry has to jump off of the pages, and I want to feel the romance. This book delivered on all of those counts. The forbidden lovers storyline may not be new, but the way Jess Michael’s delivers it, I’m having a hard time remembering reading anything similar.
I give A Matter of Sin by Jess Micheals 4.75 stars!