- Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Avon Books (Dec 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0380807734
- ISBN-13: 978-0380807734
- Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 10.6 x 2.7 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,462,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ana St. Albans, aka Oriana Julian, has led a most unusual life. Born into a family renowned for its illegitimate ancestors, it was not so unusual for Ana to be born on the wrong side of the sheets herself. However, because of her high-class relations and her incredible musical talent, Ana has made her way into the homes and hearts of many members of the aristocracy.
Unfortunately, she has also become a favorite topic of conversation, gossip, and dirty little ditties uttered by people from all walks of London life. Scandal has plagued her consistently since she entered the theatrical life at a young age, but especially since a failed love affair and false engagement. When a new scandal threatens, Ana takes refuge on the Isle of Man, where she seeks peace, quiet, and a bit of anonymity.
Darius Corlett considers the Isle of Man his home, although he owns properties in other areas of England as well. He is ready to marry and settle down, having built himself an incredible new mansion, but he fears fortune hunters after a close call and broken betrothal. When he meets the Widow Julian, he is intrigued by her unspoken secrets and attracted to her outstanding beauty. They eventually become friends, but after one wild night of passion, Ana flees the island.
Dare follows her to Liverpool and on to London, intrigued by her disinterest in marriage, her eccentric lifestyle, and her genuine affection for him. However, he begins to see that her life is not as carefree or easy as she has led him to believe. While under her spell, he finds that he himself is forced to question exactly what he wants out of life and with whom he wants to spend eternity.
The chemistry between Dare and Ana is wonderful, as much for the luscious lovemaking as for the lively, humorous and intelligent conversation between them. The unorthodox lifestyle that Margaret has crafted for this couple is fascinating, from Ana's professional performances and love of horse racing to Dare's scientific research on Manx minerals. The tale that Margaret spins to leads these lost souls to each other is warm, witty, and engaging and certainly, not to be missed!
Meeting Dare Corlett, she feels an instantaneous flame spark between them. Dare is determined to have her and is a gentle persistent suitor. The evolution of the emotion he declares as "an affectionate, loyal, decent feeling" to the true discovery of his love for Oriana is displayed against the background of the Isle of Manx and the lives of the people high and low.
The author has let us peer back into the daily life of estates in 1799, when landowners in essence were the givers of life and death to the people living and working on their lands. The mines were a dangerous place to work and Margaret Evans Porter has shown an insight into the hero's attempt to help his people live a decent and healthy life.
Though "Improper Advances has several sensual scenes, they were tastefully done. It was nice to see a hero really contemplate his actions and try to understand why the heroine acted as she did. This coupled with his sincere desire to win her love, gave this book an undeniable glow. Thank you Margaret!
Deciding to do something that she will enjoy, albeit even temporarily, Oriana pushes for a romantic rendezvous with Darius. Even as she falls in love with him, she knows their relationship has no future. He has vowed to never wed anyone not at least as wealthy as he is nor marry any person with hints of scandal blemishing their name. Oriana realizes scandal is her reputation right now so decides to enjoy the small time she can have with the obstinate Darius who will toss away love to keep his pledge.
IMPROPER ADVANCES is an entertaining historical romance that places two flawed lead characters into a strong plot. The story line works because the values of the lead couple take them into conflicting direction between each other and their love for one another. Margaret Evans Porter delivers a winning tale that is sure to become a sub-genre favorite.
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