Thursday, June 21, 2012

The White Swan Affair by Elyse Mady


London, 1810
After the tragic death of her beloved, Hester Aspinall vowed never to be ruled by her passions again. Still, she is drawn to her landlord, handsome adventurer Thomas Ramsay—but she doesn't fool herself that a man of his station would look twice at a poor tailor's sister.

With the sea for a mistress, Thomas has no intention of entering into matrimony. And yet, he can't get the plain-spoken and desirable Hester out of his mind, even though she's never tried to secure his attentions as other women do.

Everything changes the night Hester's brother is arrested during a raid on a gay brothel, the infamous White Swan. With no one else to turn to, and terrified Robert will hang for his crime, Hester accepts Thomas's offer to bear the cost of the defense. A true gentleman, Thomas expects nothing in return—but Hester can no longer deny her own desires...
She may offer her body eagerly, but can she protect her heart?

Reviewer: Dolce Amore

Thomas Ramsay is the third son of a Wiltshire baronet and the landlord to Hester Aspinall's brother Robert. When Robert is accused of sodomy and thrown into Newgate Prison, Thomas helps Hester to discover his whereabouts. If only it could have been someone else! Thomas is the only man for whom she has felt attraction since her fiance’s death.

A smile. A nod. A few brief words. She’d collected their encounters like a naturalist collects treasured specimens, to be taken out at a later date and scrutinized.

Hester Aspinall can’t believe her brother could be accused of such an awful act and knows if he is found guilty, he will be hanged.

Now the only person who can help her save her brother is the same one who saved her life from the violent crowd that tried to make her pay for her brother’s sins … Thomas.

Attracted by Hester from the first moment he saw her three years ago, Thomas knows she'd be the perfect woman for him, but he doesn't want to settle down because he loves adventure and travel which doesn't go hand-in-hand with wedded bliss. Intent to keep his bachelor lifestyle, he does his best to ignore the attraction. However, having her under his own roof has made that a lot more difficult.

Her mouth, full and soft, called to him. He wanted to disrobe her, slowly and lingeringly. To lock the door and lose himself in her for days at a time.

He was a cad.

Thinking such things about a respectable young lady who had just risen from the sickroom. His conscience—whose inner voice sounded a great deal like the Right Reverend Hathaway, the stentorian presence who had occupied the pulpit of the church of his childhood—remonstrated him volubly.

He was worse than a cad. A rake. A reprobate.

It didn’t seem to matter though. He still wanted to kiss her.

Hester is naïve and too trusting. She discovers too late the solicitor she pays to free her brother is not an honest man, he is involved in illegal doings. The man kidnaps her and asks ransom from the wealthy Thomas.

Ms Elyse Mady has written a book about a woman who experiences the shock and trauma of her world falling apart around her not once, but twice. The first time she lost her parents, her beloved fiance and their baby. She has suffered terrible loss, she can't lose her brother too.

“What a strange thing it is, to say about a person who had died, is it not?” she observed in a raw voice, folding the handkerchief into ever smaller squares. “One loses a glove, a book, a letter. Things. But people? To say that Jamie is lost. Our child, lost. My mother. My father. All lost.”

With her brother's life hanging by a thread, she is attacked by those she thought friends and she is now on the run without money.

But this book is not about loss, it is about love and second chances and I loved it. The story is wonderfully written, the characters outstanding and the storyline … one of the most interesting and involving I've ever read. Ms Elyse Mady caught my attention with one of her previous historical books, “The Debutante’s Dilemma”; and, with this one, she receives a special place in my favorite author’s list. Well recommended, compelling read! 5 stars.

Publisher: Carina Press
Review Courtesy Of: Manic Readers