THE SEDUCTION OF SCANDAL – Cathy Maxwell
Northern England, 1811
Lady Corinne Rosemont dislikes the shallowness and hypocrisy of the ton, and detests Freddie Sherwin, the son and heir of the earl of Bossley and her fiancé even more. But her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Banfield, will hear no argument against the arranged marriage…in four weeks. They won’t even let her cry off when she discovers Freddie in her own bed with her own maid at a pre-wedding gathering at his father’s estate. It’s all just too much for this independent minded miss, and she manages to escape, only to find herself in the hands of the local highwayman.
Thorn named himself after the legendary reiver, the Black Thorn, who once raided the border lands between England and Scotland. Thorn is not a bad man, but his loyalty is torn between the common people of the area and the earl, who is a bad man, but also one to whom he owes much. When Corinne asks Thorn, whom she recognizes and somehow trusts, to hide her just until the time the wedding is supposed to take place, he’s annoyed, but helpless to resist the beauty.
While canny readers may foresee some of what will take place before the end, the getting there and the how of it is lots of fun. Corinne begins as a likable young lady, much admired in Society, but known as unattainable. She comes to appreciate the local cottagers and villagers and the conflict within Thorn’s heart. Thorn is even more complex and goes through plenty of soul-searching while trying to stay true to his sense of what’s right and just and to keep his distance from Lady Corinne.
A fast read with smart dialogue and interesting, readily differentiated characters, THE SEDUCTION OF SCANDAL will surely please lovers of romance, historical or otherwise.