After years of abuse at the hands of her mother, Cordelia Avery knows the only way out is marriage to the perfect man. A man who will allow her all the freedom she has ever craved. And she has the perfect man picked out. The scandalous Marquess of Haversham might not be perfect to anyone else, but taking the man’s black reputation under consideration, Cordie believes she’ll enjoy all the freedom she’s always wished for in his disreputable arms. If only she could get her heart to go along with the plan and to stop leaping whenever Lord Adonis…er…the Earl of Clayworth is nearby. But the very proper earl is most assuredly the wrong sort for her purposes.My Thoughts: I have to admit that this book hit the spot as far as what I was looking for in a historical romance. We had a woman who desperately wanted her freedom and went about it the only way she knew how, a scoundrel who might not be as reprehensible as he seems, and a proper gentleman who burns for the lovely lady he needs answers from in a decidedly improper manner.
Brendan Reese, the Earl of Clayworth, has no intention of ever marrying again. He’s still trying to clean up the mess his first wife left him, even years after her death. To all the world, Clayworth is the epitome of the perfect English gentleman, and he so wishes that image was the truth. But the truth, as it often can be, is ugly. After all, a perfect English gentleman would never have a traitor for a mother. And unless Clayworth can find the evidence his late wife hid, he could face the gallows himself. But a chance encounter with the reckless Cordelia Avery gives him the best lead he’s had in years to finally putting his family’s past to rest. Unfortunately, focusing on anything other than Miss Avery seems a nearly impossible task.
Probably the only thing that bothered me was that Cordelia had been abused for most of her life and her family seemed blissfully unaware of it. I personally would have liked a little more insight into how they could have missed that OR been given the chance to see what drove her mother to beat her own child. However, Cordelia's willingness to take matters into her own hands and find a way out of this terrible situation did help me look past that. What can I say? I'm a sucker for characters that grab life by the horns.
Coming into a series at book 4 can really be hit or miss. I don't know the previous characters, I don't know what actions have brought them to their current positions, I don't know how the current main character fits into this world. However, I honestly had no problems with this book. Cordelia and her problems were laid out nicely and we were introduced to the characters from previous books (and their stories were sketched out) without any rigamarole.
All in all, this was a nicely told tale with well-drawn characters and a fun plot. I'm not going to lie, I'm hoping Haversham gets his story told soon. I can't resist those bad boys, can I?
More books by Ava Stone
Reading challenges: The E-book Challenge, The Show Me the Free Challenge
A Scandalous Past was a free Kindle download I picked up 10/28/11.