Friday, September 21, 2012

A WOMAN MADE FOR PLEASURE (Promises Trilogy #1) by Michele Sinclair

Mass Market Paperback, 345 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Zebra 
Genre: historical romance novel, Regency England
Rating: 4.5 stars
Bound by their common love of adventure, Millie, Aimee, and Jennelle decide to seal their friendship with a pledge: they will never get married unless they each meet a man who will accept, appreciate, and share their unusual interests  and spirit of independence.  Daughters of earls, they are uncommonly smart and bookish to be members of the ton, and they each pursue hobbies that good society doesn’t consider suitable to young women of their high station: to Millie, Aimee, and Jennelle, exploring a cave and reading a philosophy treatise seem to provide more excitement than the social gatherings usually attended by debutantes eager to land an advantageous marriage  and secure a respectable place in society. They will marry for love, or they won’t marry at all. Of The Daring Three, Lady Millie Aldon seems to be the most adverse to the idea of shackling herself into marriage, but when her childhood friend (and Aimee’s brother) Charles Wentworth comes back to his ancestral home after years of military training and war missions, Millie will need to revise her priorities…loving Charles, now a dashing man, will be for Millie the most daring and exciting adventure of all.

This was a good historical romance novel. It read smoothly and was enticing enough  to keep me turning page without putting it down too often. I always appreciate a certain degree of historical accuracy in a HRN and Michele Sinclair added her own touch of fictional fabrication (in reference to some real historical events) that sounded plausible and certainly helped structuring the plot and interlacing the romantic element with a solid thread of suspenseful mystery. The events unfold at a nice pace and the Sinclair’s writing style treats us to an elegant and historically consistent prose. Right from the start, the novel features an engaging plot, a good storyline structure, lively dialogues, sultry sensuality, and well developed characters, both main and supporting cast.

The characterization of the lead couple is effective and convincing: Sinclair delivers an interesting take on the friends-to-lovers trope, predictable at times, but enjoyable all the same, with a good balance of angst, light-hearted tones, and suspense. Millie is a spitfire of a young woman, and yet likable with her brave temper and good heart:

She had sworn never to marry, and of the Daring Three, she believed most strongly in her pledge. Or at least she had. Now, Millie wanted so very much to break it. Who would have thought a man’s kiss could ruin such a well-intentioned promise?

As for Charles (identified as Lord Chase most of the time),  his transition from the emotionally detached, poised, stoic personality of a born war spy to the man in love, passionate, protective and possessive beyond redemption, is believable, but I had to wrestle a bit with the idea of him exposing Millie to the dangers of his undercover mission in order to "protect" her and unveil a political conspiracy.
An engaging and gratifying read, A Woman Made For Pleasure, is the first installment in the Promises Trilogy. I look forward to Aimee’s and Jenelle’s stories.

*The publisher graciously offered a complimentary copy of this book in exchange of an unbiased opinion.

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