REVIEW: All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess by Alexandra Hawkins

Thursday, February 14, 2013 1:00
Posted in category Review

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Sandy M’s review of All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess (Lords of Vice, Book 5) by Alexandra Hawkins
Historical Romance published by St. Martin’s 31 Jul 12

It seems I’m in the minority among readers and reviewers in liking – no, loving this latest Lords of Vice book. I’m sorry I waited so long to read it. I usually don’t read other reviews before writing my own, but even our own Veena had her doubts about the story. So I had to see what others were saying. And I totally disagree with them all.

Saint has been in love with Venna – the local madam of the Golden Pearl – for a number of years now. They shared one night together, Saint believing they’d crossed into a relationship, only to be shown the door and out of her life. So now Saint’s gone on the offensive. He’s not about to let Venna continue calling the shots in the life he wants with her.

But with the life she lived before, the violence she experienced, Madam Venna’s trust has been nearly completely broken. Saint is the one who could shatter the life she’s worked so hard to build, shatter her heart that she’s guarded so closely all her life. No one else has been able to garner her love, because no one has loved her for as long as she can remember. Not her parents, who abandoned her. Not the aunt and uncle who were supposed to watch over her and protect her. And certainly not the cousin who wanted nothing more than the money she had no idea was hers. Now the Golden Pearl is all she needs, giving her safety and freedom.

And Venna goes to whatever lengths she feels are necessary to protect that safety and freedom – and her heart. A few of those backfire on her, namely the fact she sleeps with Frost to drive Saint from her mind. Even though she and Saint are by no means an item of any sort during this time, the act only brings discord between those two Lords of Vice, and I find myself enjoying the scenes where Saint goes after Frost once he learns the truth. What I also enjoy is that as ill advised as Venna’s reasons for doing this and the momentary need for Saint to do Frost some harm, it doesn’t get in the way of the friendship in the end. Frost has always done his own thing and this time is no different, though he has no idea of Saint’s feelings toward the brothel owner. Venna also lives two lives, the other as Katherine, the normal, everyday girl next door who in no way resembles the notorious madam. Saint doesn’t recognize her at first, and in a way I wish he had. It usually takes a bit for hero to be clued in, so it would have been nice to make him more aware of Venna’s double life.

Then when her past catches up with her again, Venna’s instinct is to run, and you can’t blame her after what she’s been through. Even her father knows she’s Madam Venna, and she goes so far as to flirt with him and contemplate bedding the brother she’s never known for revenge. She does nothing more, but I can see where she would entertain these ideas as a woman who has never been loved and only wants to get back to those who have done her so wrong. Does all of that make her weak? I’d say more frightened of what could happen. She’s already suffered at the hands of these supposed relatives, so who wouldn’t want to run.

I’ve read a few reviews where it’s said there’s feelings of discontent with some loose ends not being tied up. I didn’t feel that at all. If they’re loose, hopefully they’ll be taken care of in the next couple of books. I know these are greasy characters who deserve whatever they get, so who knows what will happen. I may be one of the minority when it comes to this book, but I think it’s one of the best in the series for me. The way the Lords of Vice have lived for years, I can’t believe anyone would bat their eyes at Saint loving a madam, especially one who had her reasons, and the way the author works it out in the end gives them all a way out to keep up appearances.

SandyMGrade: A+

See Veena’s review here.

Summary:

HE’S NO SAINT

Simon Jefferes, the Marquess of Sainthill, has done the unthinkable—he’s fallen in love. The so-called “Saint” has spent his life gambling, dallying with women, and satisfying his every whim. And he fully intended to continue his wicked ways, until he met the mysterious, exotic, and irresistible Madame Venna—the one woman he can’t have…and the only one he’s ever wanted for more than an evening.

SHE’S NO LADY

​The proprietress of the Golden Pearl, one of London’s most exclusive brothels, Madame Venna takes pride in the lush, decadent club she’s created. With a half-mask to conceal her identity, she’s careful to safeguard something even more valuable—her heart. But Saint is determined to tear down the walls she’s built around herself, and to finally expose the truth—that Madame Venna is a woman very much in love…with him.

Read an excerpt.

Other books in this series:

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