Amongst the gossip-hungry ton, no name has become more synonymous with sin than that of Lady Caroline Rider, cast out by her husband and disowned by her family. Rumor has it that the infamous Caro is now seeking oblivion in the opium dens of London!
There's only one man who can save her: notorious rake Sebastian Conway, Marquis of Ardhallow. Soon Caro is installed in his country home, warming his bed, but their passion may not be enough to protect them once news of their scandalous arrangement breaks out.
Lady Caroline “Caro” isn’t in the best place when Sebastian Conway finds her. In fact she’s ingested opium and is at death’s door. Despite the fact that Sebastian tells himself that it’s a bad idea to get involved he still saves her and takes her back to his country home to recuperate.
Caro and Sebastian have a tumultuous relationship that started 10 years earlier when Carol was just 16. They met a time or two over the years and there was always an attraction and to me, an intimate tension that neither knew what to do with. Two years before current times they had met yet again – after Sebastian had been gone to the Continent for 4 years. This time the sexual tension was palpable and they ended up having sex. Needless to say when Sebastian found out that Caro was married and had been for 3 years he was pissed at not being told. They parted with bad words and planned to never see each other again.
Now Caro is at his home and they find that they can eventually forgive each other and become friends. Caro’s husband has spread rumors about her which aren’t true just because she left him. Caro left him because she felt trapped in a horrible relationship – one where her husband physically abused her. Sebastian isn’t about to let her return to her husband but Caro can’t see how she can stay as a guest at Sebastian’s house without creating more rumors. Caro’s father has disowned her and she sees no help in removing herself from the situation with her husband, but she refuses to go back to him. When Caro and Sebastian finally realize they love each other it’s a wonderful thing but Caro’s husband still refuses to divorce her. They can’t live together but how can they live without each other?
I have to say that you just never know what you’re going to get when you open a book. This was indeed true about Rumors That Ruined a Lady. When I read the blurb I thought for sure that rumors would be spread, rumors would be found out not to be true and then all would live happily ever after – in the end, a fun read. Wow, I couldn’t have been more wrong. This story was much darker than I expected but much better as well. Not that I expected a bad book but I was moved more by the story than expected
The past story between Sebastian and Caro was a slowly unfolding one that I found myself anticipating the next meeting between the two. The relationship took turns that I was surprised at at times but it was all so good. Sebastian was a bit too easily angered at times but he finally dealt with all of his demons and that smoothed everything out. Caro had so very many issues to deal with and while it would have been easier to ignore them forever I admired her for deciding to finally face them. The resolution of the issues - and those that were not resolved – was something I never would have seen coming. The ending could have been a pat and boring one but it SO wasn’t. I definitely commend Ms. Kaye on her decision to write the story as it truly would have happened rather than making it a storybook ending.
Rumors That Ruined a Lady was a great read. This is my first read by this author but I don’t think it will be my last.
Rating: 4 out of 5