A Sinful Deception
A Breconridge Brothers Novel, Book #2
by Isabella Bradford
Book/E-Book: 386 pages
E-Galley provided by Publisher for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein is my own except as noted
Lord Geoffrey Fitzroy leads a charmed existence. As the second son of the Duke of Breconridge, he has none of the responsibilities of his older brother and all of the advantages, leaving handsome Geoffrey free to enjoy his rakish pursuits. And pursue them he does, leaving hearts fluttering all over London. But one night, at a ball teeming with high society’s most sought-after beauties, only one truly intrigues him: the regal, aloof, and mysterious Miss Serena Palmer.
Magnificently dressed and wearing jewels befitting a queen, the lady is considered the prize of the season, a noble-born heiress raised in India. But even as Geoffrey’s fascination grows, Serena deftly deflects his curiosity—and with good reason: Serena’s exotic past contains a perilous secret that could destroy her. Yet her plan to live in safe solitude is thwarted by her hungry heart, and soon Geoffrey’s passionate seduction finds her blissfully bed—and wed. Will her deception destroy her chance at happiness as Geoffrey’s wife? Or will the devotion of her new husband reveal the only truth worth embracing: her undying love? http://www.isabellabradford.com/a-sinful-deception
There’s a clever device in A SINFUL DECEPTION of the brothers in this series getting together to have breakfast each morning and hashing out their problems and differences. It reminded me of a local lecture series: Eggs and Issues – hence my title. This is a series, but this book stood quite well on its own.
I was instantly drawn into this story as Isabella sets up the first meeting between the love interests, Geoffrey and Serena. WHy is she so aloof and secretive? Why does she freak out when Geoffrey addresses her in another language? Her terrible secret could toss her on the street and out of the life of a member of the Ton.
And, for some time, I wondered if the relationship and the story would have an non-standard outcome: an HEA but no wedding bells. When Serena’s uncle gets into the mix, even going so far as to abuse Serena’s elderly aunt, I began to think the story might have a different bent to it and end up as a police procedural!
I think the main themes of the story are actually “women’s issues,” with racial issues being secondary. Serena is essentially powerless against her grandfather and uncle. the uncle’s mistreatment of her aunt points strengthens the point that women held no sway over the male members of their family, except as the man’s discretion. Once married, Serena would have no control over her own money and would have received an allowance dictated by an agreement entered into upon marriage.
There was a lot of British presence in India and you know some of the men sent there brought home Indian wives. But, would they have been accepted in society? Would being higher up in society have been better or worse for what would have been seen as a mixed race marriage. Were there laws in Britain against mixed-race marriage as existed in the US?
Even though I was immediately drawn to the story, and as much as I was intrigued by what Serena’s terrible secret could be, I found parts of the story a bit expository — more “telling” than showing. It felt disjointed. I was further alienated by the mixing in of concepts from a variety of sources outside the either character’s experience (and that is admitted to in the book). My impression was of the story being a dictated outline. I felt as if the author was distracted, or even bored, as she wrote.
It’s funny — sometimes I think a writer must have had an idea for a story requiring certain ideas but the period or culture they are writing in doesn’t have that idea and they figure in some kind of machination to connect the two. Sometimes it works and sometimes it is too obvious. But, then again, I should probably refrain from assuming I understand a writer’s motivation or intent.
We are shown action, and are privy to a lot of the moments between the brash and arrogant Geoffrey and the mercurial and secretive Serena that shows how they fall in love against their own wills. There is an implication that Serena’s genetics and upbringing do make her a more passionate woman than your average English rose.
I was struck by how emotionally immature she was considering how much she knew about life given where she grew up and how much she had gone through. I mention Serena’s mercurial nature and that comes from my confusion over what Serena said she would do in a situation and what she did when faced with it. Sometimes she was confused by that too. It pulls the story along with that odd cultural mixing I also mention above.
I don’t believe I have read Isabella Bradford before, under any of her pseudonyms, but I do know she is immensely popular and that different readers like different styles of writing. My preference is for a more flowing piece where there are fewer gaps between initial emotions and convictions, and the realization of being in love.