Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath

Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (384 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

At birth, Mick Trewlove, the illegitimate son of a duke, was handed over to a commoner. Despite his lowly upbringing, Mick has become a successful businessman, but all his wealth hasn’t satisfied his need for revenge against the man who still won’t acknowledge him. What else can Mick do but destroy the duke’s legitimate son—and woo the heir’s betrothed into his own unloving arms . . .

Orphaned and sheltered, Lady Aslyn Hastings longs for a bit of adventure. With her intended often preoccupied, Aslyn finds herself drawn to a darkly handsome entrepreneur who seems to understand her so well. Surely a lady of her station should avoid Mick Trewlove. If only he weren’t so irresistible . . .

As secrets are about to be exposed, Mick must decide if his plan for vengeance is worth risking what his heart truly desires.

This is my first Lorraine Heath novel. I started this book hoping to finish it in one sitting. My interest was captured quickly enough and was held in a moderate manner. 1AM came too soon and I still wasn’t done. I had to put it down or risk being a cranky monster the next day. Turns out I was a cranky monster regardless. Even though I put the book down I couldn’t top thinking about it. It took forever to fall asleep and then it was one of those sleeps where you felt like you never really did sleep. I had to wait until after work to pick the book back up. It was a torturous work day knowing that the book was at home and all I wanted to do was finish it. Needless to say it’s a riveting book that has laid down the base work for an enthralling new series as Beyond Scandal and Desire is book one in the Sins for All Seasons series.

The plot introduced the practice of “baby farming” to me which I didn’t know existed and was widely known in the late 1800’s. I love when I learn new factual knowledge even though it was a bit appalling. At the end of the book the “Author’s Note” explains that she took “a bit of literary license with this story.” Which means that she took that horrific historic practice and made it a tiny bit less despicable by tweaking a few of the facts. Altering the facts is what has led to the “Sins for All Seasons series” to be in existence. Although it is sad to think about the reality of that time period and how people found it necessary to participate in such a cruel practice. I’m a very sensitive person so this plot point was a bit disturbing for me. It is threaded through the entire book because it’s part of the hero’s make up. Without it Mick Trewlove wouldn’t be who he is. I almost felt it was redundant and repetitive but it’s the core of the story. I mean, there is no way around it. Like I already said, without it there’d be no series. I know some readers are sticklers about their historical romance books being one hundred percent historically accurate. The author clearly states that she used that bit of history to create her fictional story. Therefore no one can complain about the historical inaccuracy.

Mick Trewlove is the hero in this story. His character was established exceptionally well to the point that I completely understood his choices and actions. Actually, all the characters were very well developed. It sounds like his siblings will all be getting books of their own starting with his sister, Gillie in September 2018 “When a Duke Loves a Woman”. I’m really looking forward to reading her story. She is an intriguing character since she is a tavern keeper and not very feminine. Anyway, Mick is portrayed as a big, strong and successful businessman with a dark, angry aura but he really is a sweetheart with some deep wounds. Wounds that Mick believes will heal once he gets his revenge but we all know that never works out. He has a plan that goes astray when he meets Lady Aslyn Hastings.

Aslyn is the opposite of Mick but they both have a heart of generosity. They complement each other to the point where they can’t function without each other. There was no turning back to the way things were before they met. Aslyn and Mick were brilliantly implemented into an elaborate storyline with unexpected plot twists. There were numerous characters that were all relevant to the well-crafted sequence of events. This story clearly took contemplation from the author. It is a well thought out story with a plethora of olive branches for future stories. I don’t think it could have been executed any better than it was.

I fell in love with Mick and Aslyn. Their romance was heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. They had chemistry that caused yearning to the point of boiling. Aslyn didn’t need to secretly communicate with her parasol. They just looked at each other and they knew how the other one felt. Beyond Scandal and Desire was the perfect romantic love story. Only true love can overcome secrets, vengeance and society’s obstacles. I appreciated all the unique and creative elements that were installed in this story. I will definitely be suggesting this series to my family and friends.

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