If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review: The Wickedest Lord Alive by Christina Brooke / @chrstnabrooke

Series & Title: The Ministry of Marriage, Book 6; The Westruthers, Book 3: The Wickedest Lord Alive
Author: Christina Brooke
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperback
Genre: Historical, Romance
ARC Received From: Edelweiss


Eight years ago, a tall handsome stranger entered Lizzie Allbright’s bedchamber and consummated a marriage of the utmost necessity. The Marquis of Steyne agreed to wed and bed Lord Bute’s admittedly lovely daughter to pay off his mother’s gambling debts. But once the deed was done, Steyne’s lawfully-wedded wife vanished into the London night…


Years later, Steyne has nearly forgotten about his runaway bride. But when he suddenly finds himself in need of an heir, he has no choice but to track her down. Living happily in a small village under an assumed name, Lizzie is surprised to see her husband—and to feel such a strong attraction to him. But she is downright shocked when he asks her to bear him a son. How can they possibly repeat the heated encounter of their ill-fated wedding night without falling hopelessly in love?...in Christina Brooke’s stunningly sexy Regency, The Wickedest Lord Alive.

Xavier and Lizzie's wedding was sudden but a must. Their wedding night was brief but not as painful as it could have been. Their life afterwards was spent apart with no interaction whatsoever. Not an ideal marriage, but when is anything during this era?

As if that wasn't enough, Lizzie's peaceful existence in a tiny village is upended when Xavier suddenly appears with demands for an heir. If it wasn't for his heartless mother and puppet of an uncle, I doubt Xavier would have ever gone after Lizzie. She might have been the one to run away, but he was the one who, despite knowing where she was all those years, kept his distance. Maybe she could have gone back to him, but why would she? He'd made his intentions clear on their wedding night:

Without even taking off his boots, he set one knee on the bed. "Neither of us desired this," he murmured, moving over her, making the mattress sink beneath his weight. His breath brushed her cheek. "After tonight, you won't ever have to see me again."

Time and distance, I think, were their friends; their attraction to one another hadn't changed even if their circumstances had. Lizzie was well-loved by those in her village. Xavier had a reputation that wasn't worth repeating in respectable company. But one look, one touch, one whispered word, and they fell apart for one another. That was beautiful to see because their relationship was hardly a relationship at all. Matter of fact, when the truth came to light, there wasn't a relationship to speak of. Their marriage wasn't a marriage. It was a sham.

There's something about finding a friend in your lover, someone you can lean on in times of hardship, someone you can trust with your secrets, your heart, and your life. Lizzie arrived at the conclusion that she loved him long before he understood the emotions he felt for her. But by then, Lizzie trusted him inexplicably. Xavier needed to learn how to trust her, love her, see her as more than the mother of his heir and a woman who warmed his bed.

This was an unusual take on the second chance romance trope because they hadn't been in love before. But that's what it felt like. Their journey wasn't easy (what couple ever has it easy?) but the bumps and scrapes, bruises and cuts they acquired along the way to love and happiness made this story a worthwhile read. Definitely sweeter than I thought it'd be too. There's sex and violence on these pages but they couldn't dampen that new beginning feel to it. Or maybe it was that they were both so deserving of a new beginning. Whatever it was, it worked because this one's why I'm gonna find the other five and read those too.

Christina Brooke is a former lawyer who staged a brilliant escape from the corporate world and landed squarely in Regency England.

She was the first Australian to win the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award for the manuscript which became her first published novel. Christina is a two-time RITA nominee and her books have also been nominated for RT’s Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best and the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award as well as for various Australian Romance Readers Association awards.

Christina makes her home in sunny Queensland, Australia with her husband, two boys and one enormous girl dog called Monty. Monty is the inspiration for Ophelia, the Great Dane in the Ministry of Marriage series. However, the resemblance of any human characters to real life people is purely accidental.

Christina loves to travel, particularly to England for research and to see her dear friends, readers and colleagues in the United States. She also loves walking, window shopping for antiques and enjoying good food, good wine and good times with her friends and family.

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