Type: Historical Romance
My Copy: Sent
Sir William Christie, ruthless tycoon and notorious ladies’ man, is dead. Now his four grown children have gathered for the reading of his will. What lies in store for stepsiblings Vivienne, Alexander, and twins Gareth and Gwyneth? Stunning challenges that will test their fortitude across a royal empire . . . and lead them to the marvelously passionate adventures of their lives.
Lady Vivienne Bancroft fled England for New York, hoping to shed the confines of her arranged marriage to unrepentant rogue Miles Durham, Viscount Bancroft—though she never forgot the fiery desire he unleashed with his slightest touch. And when the gambling man arrives on her doorstep for a little sensual revenge for her desertion, he is met with Vivienne’s dilemma: She must earn her father’s inheritance by profitably running a diamond business worth millions in colonial South Africa. Swept together in an exotic undertaking filled with heated passion and hungry temptation, will Vivienne and Miles discover that the marriage vows they once made are the greatest snare—or the most treasured reward?
Vivienne has been running from her estranged husband for over a year. He is a drunk, has a gambling problem, appears to love prostitutes and he just generally embarrasses her. She can’t be held liable in the failure of her arranged marriage, she tried, she really did. She even thought she was falling in love with Viscount Miles Bancroft. Until one night he left her alone, panting after their sexual encounter under the stairs at a gala event. She fled to America to care for her ailing father, a business tycoon with interests all over the globe. Upon his death Vivienne learns that in order to receive her inheritance she has to take over a failing business and make it thrive. Knowing her inheritance could buy the pricey divorce she needs from Miles, she readily accepts.
Miles wants revenge. Revenge on his wife for leaving him and fleeing to America. She made him appear a fool and that cannot be tolerated. Knowing she needs his help if her business venture in South Africa is going to thrive he heads that way, with intentions to make her scream his name once more. Working closely allows Miles to begin to know the woman he married. Slowly she is cracking his hardened exterior. Vivienne is feeling the sparks as well, but with the lust comes fear. Fear that her secret ancestry may finally come to light. Something she has vowed never to allow Miles to know.
I will readily admit I was skeptical when I picked this one up. In fact I wasn’t going to read it. I’m short on time this month and though the back blurb drew me in, this being a historical (which I don’t read often) made it a harder sell to me. Then I picked it up on a whim and read the first couple of pages….and was hooked. I fell completely in love with Lofty’s ability to paint a scene straight out of history and make me care, make me believe and give me a story with depth and vision. I finished all 384 pages in one afternoon and that is a feat for me!
Vivi is a complete handful and I loved how she straddled the polite English woman role with that of a outspoken, tough woman. She felt like the real deal. Often in a historical romance I get seriously annoyed with the heroine. They are way to polite, way to soft spoken and just generally annoying. Fainting over everything. Being prim and proper. I don’t like it. Hence my aversion to a lot of historical romance. Vivi felt real. She talked and acted like I would suspect a woman of that time to be. Yes she still incorporated those qualities but she was more. She was direct when she needed to be and told Miles exactly what she thought when approached.
While I found Vivi to be real, I found Miles to be rugged and misunderstood. Ok, he was misunderstood because he was horrible at talking about his feelings. He spent the first half of the book alternating between being vindictive and just downright cold at times. He was as manipulative as he was sexy. Underneath the facade though, he did care for Vivi…a lot. Constantly at war with himself over wanting to take his revenge and his need for a wanton Vivi.
These two set the pages on fire with their push and pull throughout the book. I wanted them to break down their personal walls to find some happiness. Vivi had huge trust issues and so never wanted Miles to know that she was not adopted into the Christie family as he believed. Thinking he would abandon her if he knew she was a illegitimate child and daughter of a whore.
I loved the concept of the diamond mine and thought the back drop of South Africa made for lush scenery. Not knowing much about that area myself afforded me the ability to not think, to go with the picture Carrie had painted for me. What a picture Carrie painted….complete and well rounded I didn’t have to imagine much of anything.
Flawless has a bit over everything, historical reference, erotic imagery and a story line that will suck you in and make you want to live it yourself. For just a moment in time, you too will want to be mining for diamonds in the 1800’s, working the terrain and living a life free from the constraints of this day and age. I am eagerly awaiting book two, Starlight, in July of 2012. Where we will get to read Alex Christie’s story.
I give Flawless by Carrie Lofty 4 stars!