Review: Beyond Scandal and Desire

Review: Beyond Scandal and DesireBeyond Scandal and Desire (Sins for All Seasons, #1) by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #1
Published by Avon on January 30th 2018
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-stars

“Is there not some part of you, some deep dark part of you, that longs for scandal?”

FINAL DECISION: A bit slow in developing, the romance between Mick and Aslyn builds up to a wonderful finish especially as the two spend quiet time together getting to know one another. In setting up the premise of the series and introducing all the characters, some of the emphasis on the couple is lost for the first third of the book, but the ending was unexpected and made me interested in the next in the series.

THE STORY: Mick Trewlove is the illegitimate son of a duke and a self-made businessman. Determined to get revenge for his father abandoning him to a baby farmer (where he might have ended up dead), Mick intends on ruining the Duke’s legitimate son and seduce the son’s betrothed. Lady Aslyn Hastings has been raised in all comfort and in expectation of marrying the Duke’s heir. But now that her betrothal is at hand, Aslyn feels something missing and is tempted to the scandalous Mick.

OPINION: For me, the highlight of this book are the clandestine meetings between Mick and Aslyn which show growth and companionship and a true relationship. There is great beauty in how these two people find something special together.

Aslyn is a sheltered woman whose future has been planned out since childhood. It was always expected that she would marry her guardians’ son and eventually become a duchess. As this book begins, Aslyn begins to find out that having one’s future planned out means that she has missed so much of her interactions with others (especially men). Because she has never been courted or even flirted with other men because of the expectation in everyone’s minds that she is settled.

When she meets Mick, she is tempted towards the scandalous, but rather than relying on the typical scandal plot line, this book instead focuses on the wrongness of the social rules that brand an illegitimate child with the sins of his parents. This book is deeply interested in the rules and the fates of those illegitimate children and the injustice of the social ostracism.

Mick is up to no good as this book begins, but finds himself challenged by his meeting with Aslyn. As the book begins, he is also trapped by the rules about illegitimacy. He seems to believe that all will be well if he can cause his father to acknowledge him (because being an acknowledged bastard is better). In many ways, his relationship with Aslyn turns his own notions around as well. He is a self-made man who cares about others despite his own perception of himself.

I loved the relationship between Mick and Aslyn as he shows her respect and treats her as a person — not just a beautiful woman. The times that they spent together were gentle and moving. I found their discussions to be a wonderful and quiet way of developing their relationship.

I also really liked the twist in this book which was unexpected and interesting (reading the author’s note at the end gave a insight as well).

The only problem I had with this book was the first third which was slow as it introduced quite a number of characters (which will be the subject of future books). The setup slowed the book down for me, but once the story truly began, I was caught up in the developing relationship between Mick and Aslyn.

WORTH MENTIONING: I love the potential stories of Mick’s siblings.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BEYOND SCANDAL AND DESIRE is the first book in the Sins for All Seasons Series about six illegitimate children raised as siblings. I have hopes that the series will include stories for each sibling.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Edelweiss in order to prepare a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars