This month’s TBR Challenge theme was “a new-to-you author”. Well I had plenty on my shelves to choose from for this theme so how did I choose this book and author? Well, I’ve actually met Ms. Enoch and have a book autographed by her. She was charming to my little one and even signed her Disney autograph book (right next to Goofy, if I remember correctly). I have 5 of her books sitting on my shelves…so why the hell haven’t I read her before? I have no flippin clue! And frankly after reading this book I’m pretty much kicking myself because I let them sit. I hate it when I do that! So on to the review…
A Notorious Gentleman . . .
Sullivan Waring wants only two things: his rightful inheritance, and revenge against the man who stole it from him. By day, Sullivan is the most respected horse breeder in England; by night, he plunders the ton's most opulent homes to reclaim his late mother's beautiful paintings. His quest is going swimmingly . . . until the night he's discovered by Lady Isabel Chalsey. Clad only in a revealing nightdress, she's an entrancingly different kind of plunder, and how can a thief resist stealing a kiss?
A Curious Lady . . .
Surprised by a masked man in her own home, Isabel should be quaking with fear. Instead the sight of the sinfully handsome Sullivan makes her tremble with excitement. Who is this man, and why is he so set on this reckless pursuit? Lady Isabel loves a challenge, and she'll dare anything to uncover Sullivan's secret—but she may instead convince him that she is the greatest prize of all.
One night Sullivan Waring was going about his business stealing his mother’s painting from an aristocrats home when he runs into trouble. She is ethereal in her night rail and threatens to expose him. He manages to distract her and when she gets read to scream…he kisses her. Nice distraction. The next day when Isabel Chalsey is at a horse breeder’s with her brother the last person she expects to see is the thief! But there he is and she’s determined to figure out his game and decides to blackmail him. Ok, it’s not really blackmail but she manages to force him into training a horse for her.
The problem with Isabel’s plan: #1 is that she’s afraid of horses and really had no plans to ride one…ever. Number 2 is that she finds Sullivan, a horse breeder and thief, quite fascinating. Their attraction to each other is quite mutual and they find themselves falling in love. But there are so many issues to deal with: The fact that he’s the bastard son of a nobleman…and completely unacknowledged; the fact that she’s being courted by his half-brother; the fact that he’s taking extraordinary risks by continuing to steal (with good reason, mind you, but still!). Theirs is a relationship that can go nowhere.
I have to start by telling you that Ms. Enoch had me wrapped into the story from almost the first page. Sullivan Waring was such a compelling character who had such issues! The poor man, I just felt sorry for him at first but he grew during the story and I love when the romance is as much about the love story as it is about the characters finally seeing themselves. Isabel too grew in the story but she seemed to grow in character as well as grow up. I loved seeing the pair come together and the sexual tension was amazing between the two.
On top of the great central characters we got some wonderful secondary characters as well. Sullivan’s friend Bram played the bored nobleman but he was quite different, I think, on the inside than he showed to the world. I loved his sarcasm and dry wit. Then there were Isabel’s brothers – Douglas in particular. Her was Isabel’s 16 year old younger brother and was quite the young adult. He had the protective thing going on for his sister and loved an adventure but he also was smart. Some of his lines had me cracking up.
There were a couple of niggles I had with the story that I can’t actually tell you about without giving you major spoilers but they had to do with Isabel’s parents and Sullivan’s acceptance of who he was. That’s not very forthcoming, I know, but if you haven’t read the book I just don’t want to give it away.
Overall I really loved the book. The love story was great and I really liked that Sullivan wasn’t a nobleman – it just made things so much more interesting. I do have the next two books in this series and I will definitely be reading them soon.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5