REVIEW: The Lady Risks All by Stephanie LaurensMonday, October 1, 2012 1:00
There is something to be said about bad boys and their romantic appeal to respectable women. Neville Roscoe, born Lord Julian Roscoe Neville Delbraith, younger son of the Duke Of Ridgewater and reknowned gambler, is the ultimate bad boy. His appeal to Miranda Clifford, who has been brought up to be a pattern card of respectability, is irresistible, particularly as she uncovers the contradictions between his image and reality. Still, a happy ending seems to be unlikely within the strict norms of the social structure of the time.
Julian, as the younger brother, led a carefree life gambling and womanizing as a darling of the ton. His successful forays into gambling bothered his sister-in-law, who feared him cursed with the gambling addiction that ran in the family. Imagine her dismay when she found out that in reality it was not Julian but her husand, the duke, who had successfully hidden his addiction until he had driven them to the brink of poverty before he died. Determined to protect his family and to ensure that his sisters made the successful marriages they deserved, Julian walked away from his family, his titles, and any chance of a marriage and happiness to use his gambling talent to restore his family coffers. He now embraces his life as the gambling king of London, content to see his family flourishing, devoting his own considerable wealth and business acumen in philanthropy. He has no regrets about the path his life has taken until chance puts Miranda in his way.
Following her brother into Neville’s home with a view to protect him from the temptations that prey upon young men of means, Miranda gets a unique view into the real Neville Roscoe as she silently observes him chairing a meeting of the Philanthropy Society. He insists on escorting her safely home and that should have been the end of any attraction between them, but fate has a diffent plan in store for them. Miranda’s brother Roderick disappears and she reaches out to the only person she knows who has the resources to help her locate and rescue him.
Soon they are off into the Engish countryside in pursuit of her brother and his kidnappers, and after a daring rescue they hide out at the Ridgewater estate so that Roderick can recover from his injuries. Neville’s family is a refreshing eye opener to Miranda, who has been brought up with her older aunt’s warped view of English society. She finds loving people with a strong sense of family values and above all a love and deep respect for Neville and the choices he made so his family lives at the pinnace of the ton. She and her brother are welcomed and made to feel a part of the family, regardless of the blueness or lack thereof in their blood. As Roderick bonds with one of the Ridgewater cousins and looks to find his own HEA, Miranda makes her place within Julian’s family and quietly starts to dream of a possible future with Neville.
In the author’s usual style, the main protagonists are strong individuals well versed with what society requires of them and how to have their cake and eat it too with the full blessing of the patriachs of society. The key ingredients of romance, mystery, an unexpected villian are all there and a few characters from previous books make brief appearances. I particularly enjoyed seeing Miranda’s journey to self-discovery and the choices she makes and her confidence in sticking her neck out and risking it all for love. It is so rare that you see people of wealth personally investing their time, energy, and money in giving to people less fortunate than themselves and really working to see these people develop a brighter future than what would have been possible for them without their involvement. I certainly wish more people had such values.
Neville Roscoe, notorious and enigmatic, lives resolutely outside society, bound only by his own code of honor – until challenged by his desire for the one woman he cannot have.
Miranda Clifford is a lady imprisoned by rigid respectability – until tempted by a passion beyond her power to deny.
Flung together in peril, through danger and intrigue, they discover a love impossible to ignore … or keep.
Read an excerpt.