“The game is on with Pembroke’s little sister…”
Lord Andrew Framlington watched Miss Mary Marlow. The woman had been warned to keep away from him, but she had a little contrary in her soul. She had not been deterred. Perhaps she had a taste for bad hidden beneath her cold denials, or a liking for naughtiness in her soul – either of which appealed.
“Stop pretending you do not like me…” Drew had urged Mary, “Stop running…” Her body urged her to as much as he did. Something pulled her towards him. Something unknown and all consuming… and yet how could she disobey her father and her brother…
Source: ARC from Harper Impulse via NetGalley
I’ve been hearing many good things about Jane Lark lately, so I thought it was time to try one out for myself, and I’m glad I did. Mary Marlow is a young woman who has it all – looks, fortune, a family as loving as it is well connected. Everything that is the complete opposite of Lord Andrew Framlington, the scandalous son of a scandalous family, whose debts are almost as famous as his illicit liaisons. So when Drew decides it’s time to get married, Mary isn’t the only miss to be warned away from him. Yet Mary is the only one he wants, not just because she’s beautiful and rich, but because she will be faithful, and after a life of cheating and lying all Drew wants is a little loyalty.
I really enjoyed this tale of the rake and the innocent girl, because Drew never hides who he is. Or rather, who everyone else thinks he is. He’s a rogue and a charmer and he needs to marry money, none of which he ever tries to hide from Mary. Instead the things he keeps hidden are his good points – his longing for a faithful marriage, his need for loyalty, the wounds caused by his childhood, the way he cares for his sister. I loved how he treated Mary during their courtship, even if his bravado and stubborn refusal to defend himself could be so infuriating later on.
I liked Mary too – she’s nice and she’s kind and she has a stubborn streak of her own. I liked that she saw past Drew’s roguish ways, even if I did wish she trusted his word a little more. Not that he gives her much cause, thanks to his closed-mouthed approach and his foolish behaviour with his friends. So many of their problems arise from Drew’s failure to communicate and Mary’s own failure to pay attention to what he isn’t telling her. Yes, she’s perfectly capable of pushing him to do this or that, but she never quite hits on the right things and instead they end up completely tangled.
But that was great, because this book isn’t just about the chase before the pair of them romp off into a happily-ever-after marriage. The first half is about the courtship, the second is their marriage, and I really liked getting to see their relationship develop as their circumstances changed. Dear Drew, sometimes I felt so bad for him and other times I wanted to shake him. He’s so complicated and foolish, and despite everything he’s been through and all he thinks of himself, he has a touch of innocence too – at least where love is concerned. His jealousy of Mary’s family is as understandable as it is sad.
Full of emotion and tangled webs of love, secrets, jealousy and misunderstandings, this is a lovely Regency tale. However, the titles. Argh! He is the third son of a Marquess, which means he is Lord Andrew, not Lord Framlington! As for Mary’s father, where does his title come from since he’s also a younger son? Such tiny details, but so important too – at least to me. I didn’t let it spoil the whole book for me, but it is something I can’t entirely overlook.
That aside, this was otherwise well-written and enjoyable. It’s not light, it’s definitely not fluffy, but it’s not all doom and gloom either, with moments of fun and sweetness scattered throughout. A good historical read with a lovely romance, a heart-breaking hero and a journey towards love through all its myriad shades. I’ll definitely be reading more about these Marlows.
The Dangerous Love of a Rogue is out January 29th!
Visit Jane Lark for more details.