This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic
Expected Release Date: September 27, 2011 (Available Now!)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Imprint: Pocket Books
Author’s Website: http://carrielofty.com/
My Source for This Book: Simon & Schuster's GalleyGrab
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, The Christies
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Steamy
Lady Vivienne Bancroft is the bastard daughter of a French can-can dancer and a powerful tycoon. Growing up in squalor only to witness her mother's execution in a French prison, she was plucked from poverty by Sir William Christie -- her biological father -- who then adopted her under the guise of charity. Raising Vivienne up as though she were a legitimate daughter, he's as ruthless and exacting towards her as he is his other three children.
Upon his death, however, his will holds a shock for his four children -- they each must take a failing business and turn it around, else they forfeit their inheritance.
With her destination set as the colonies of South Africa and the diamond mines therein, Vivienne is dismayed to discover that Viscount Bancroft, her wastrel and estranged husband, has decided that he too shall have a piece of the action in South Africa.
Miles was humiliated and furious when Vivienne abandoned their marriage back in England, no matter that it was an arranged union designed to refill the Bancroft coffers while simultaneously bestowing a title on a member of the Christie family. Deciding to have his revenge, he is determined to seduce Vivienne and capture her heart, only to abandon her at her weakest moment.
However, once reunited, the estranged lovers soon discover that the all-consuming passion and chemistry that has sparked between them from the beginning is still very much alive, and that the challenge of South Africa and the diamond business.
I'll be honest. I went into this story expecting to find that it wasn't really to my tastes. Estranged marriages are really not a favorite of mine in general, especially when it's apparent that the heroine is madly in lust with her estranged husband.
This is a perfect example of why preconceived notions should never stop you from giving a book a chance -- this book was absolutely fantastic. Everything from the setting of colonial South Africa, to Vivienne's horrible childhood, to the details behind Miles and Vivienne's estrangement, were all woven together beautifully to create a rich, powerful love story.
The sensuality was exquisite, and the setting was a wonderful complement to the love story. Miles' transformation from the wastrel of Vivienne's memory was delightful to watch, and Vivienne finally coming to trust Miles with both her trust and the secrets of her past was absolutely perfect.
While there was a slight hiccup with the pacing at the final confrontation, in the end, this book will be firmly on my keeper shelf.
Recommended for fans of estranged marriages with both parties at fault, heroines who finally let go of deep-seated trust issues, and delicious sensuality, all set against the backdrop of the South African colonies of the Victorian era.