When we first meet Jasper Hedges, scholar and antiquarian, he is visiting with his brother John and his wife Celia. Jasper had an affair with Celia fifteen years ago, and asked her to run away with him but she didn't. Her son, the new heir, is really his son. John and Celia sail to an evening party, and both die in a sudden storm. Now Jasper is the guardian of their two children.
Marina, Countess of Gorham, widowed second wife of questionable origins, writes popular romance novels to make ends meet. She's thought to be the lover of the much younger Sir Anthony Hedges, Jasper's nephew/son, but they've decided they make better friends than lovers. They plan to maintain the illusion to help boost sales of her upcoming book release.
Marina sees Jasper at the museum and is drawn to him, and then he comes to a dinner party in her home. Not knowing that the man she saw in the museum is Anthony's uncle, she expects him to be a musty, doddering old man, and is surprised to see such strong shoulders, such virility nearly hidden under his worn and rumpled clothing. They feel an unusual spark of attraction, despite coming from completely different worlds. He returns to her home later that evening, after the dinner party, and is unsure if he read her signals correctly. They make love and agree to have an affair for the season, but they will keep it private and will keep their personal lives to themselves. It's fascinating to see how this separation and supposed lack of intimacy affects their relationship throughout the book.
I was moved by how stoic Jasper is, and what a calm and endearing character he is. It's easy to see how Marina is drawn to him. This is an eloquent and captivating love story - two, actually, which is always a nice treat for romance readers - filled with blackmail and other unexpected twists.
I love that The Edge of Impropriety is about an older hero and heroine. Marina is thirty-six, and Jasper is sporting gray hair around his temples. I also like that he's the rumpled and scholarly type. It's a nice change of pace from the usual suave heroes, and it makes him very sexy.
Pam Rosenthal's enjoyably unique writing style is in a class of its own. Tastefully erotic love scenes add just the right amount of spice to this brilliantly executed novel, without bogging it down with gratuitous sex. Readers will find that they won't want to put this book down. I'm very much looking forward to reading more of her books.
5 Kisses, 1 1/2 Peppers
Reviewer, TwoLips Reviews, LLC