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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fan of this authoress and another good read!, 15 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Rumours that Ruined a Lady (Mills & Boon Historical) (Paperback)
Lady Caroline Armstrong, the second eldest of the five Armstrong sisters finds herself attracted to the rake 'next door' when she accidentally meets him aged 16yrs, while trespassing on the grounds of his ancestral home, Crag Hall. But her father, Lord Armstrong has better plans for this, his most dutiful of daughters; and her potential to further his own political career more advantageously, than to allow her to wed Sebastian Conway, Marquis of Ardhallow and the notorious rake from the adjoining estate even although Sebs father is Lord Armstrongs old friend and is extremely rich and the holder of one of England's oldest titles

Caro knows that she will dutifully be a pawn in her ruthless father's game for political supremacy and she will agree to marry a man selected for her to that end. Sebastian knowing the futility of a future relationship with Caro, despite a growing mutual attraction and after receiving warnings from Lord Armstrong and his father to keep away from Caro, forsakes his rakish behaviour and decides to travel abroad - staying away for four years. In the mean time, unbeknown to him Caro marries the selected, Lord Rider, a facsimile of her ruthless, heir seeking, ambitious father! The marriage deteriorates - an heir is not forthcoming and the frustrated Lord Rider abuses Caro physically until she reaches a state of total desperation and that is where this tale begins.

It all begins at a pivotal point in Caro's life. Sebastian, who is at a ton party and bored with the tedious goings on there, and his old dissolute habits, wanders into the 'opium' room. He had encountered rather pleasant occasional experiences with the drug on the continent. However he is appalled by the degradation of the addicted humanity that he witnesses there and turns to leave when he sees a fall of a certain copper colour of hair that he knows only too well as being that of Lady Caroline Armstrong. It IS in fact the prostrate form of Lady Caroline Armstrong lying amongst the other drug users .. and she is showing signs of having seriously overdosed on Opium and is imminently at deaths door! After Sebs last pained contact with Caroline, when he told her 'If I never see you again it will be too soon' and the gossip branding her as an adulteress, he momentarily considers leaving Caro to her tragic fate, but his heart tells him that no matter what, she does not deserve such an end and he picks her up and carries her off to where she can be purged of the drug and to finally awaken in Sebs country home, Crag Hall where he takes her to recuperate and heal.
A new Caroline is born as a result of her brush with death. She realises that her whole life has been an apology and she determines to now live life on her own terms. The relationship between Caro and Seb is initially strained as he was hurt by her when she turns to him one night, after his return to England when they meet by chance at the theatre, for comfort and 'oblivion' in her beloved Seb's arms and bed. He is furious to learn that he has just made love to her as a married woman and she has failed to inform him of this important fact, only revealing same when he seeks to continue seeing her.

Later, of course, Seb learns the truth from Caro that all the rumours are just lies put out there by a rejected husband. Seb had himself witnessed bruises and a crooked finger on Caro's hand the night they had made love after the theatre. He questioned her about the bruises but not wanting his sympathy, she makes excuses and does not reveal that she is in an abusive marriage.

The old attraction begins to come alive again between Seb and Caro and there are happy, teasing and fun-filled times between them at Crag Hall during Caro's convalescence. The happiness and lightness between them brings in a welcome relief from the general atmosphere of hopelessness that dominates because of the plight of womenkind in society in that era where unhappily married women had little hope of gaining a divorce and were seen as the property of their husbands who could virtually deal with them as harshly as they wished and not be penalised or ostracised. Seb,had been living at Crag Hall as a recluse, beleagured by a haunting, pained past with his now deceased father. With Caro's promptings Seb begins to heal emotionally too.

If it becomes known that Caro is temporarily dwelling with Seb - it would mean that she would become even more of an outcast. Even in the face of their burgeoning love and passion for each other there seems no way out for them, but to permanently part so as not to further ruin the chances of the other by their remaining together at the risk of the anticipated societal condemnation and shame.

I felt the psychological 'darkness' of the times and it highlighted how things have changed these days which are not so far removed. I felt so deeply for the thwarted love between Sebastian and Caro - nowadays people who fall in love can be together so naturally unless, they too, fall under their particular cultures restrictive dictates.

There is so much more I could say about this absorbing book. I do not want to give too much away, however, I am resolved to seek out Marguerite Kaye books on Amazon, in libraries and bookstores or wherever I can find them. Seb and Caro remained with me long after I had read the last page of the book. Marguerite is not only a novelist that dreams up wonderful, creative, new and even 'risque' situations for her leading characters, but she also invites the reader to reflect on different challenging issues highlighted in her different novels. She is a teacher of sorts as well as a wonderful fresh voice in the world of historical romance and her novels do not seem like mere variations on a theme, but grip and entertain me for one, most delectably! As to the whether there is a 'happy ending' for Seb and Caro - well, although it seems nigh impossible considering the iron rules governing marriages in this era - however, just maybe, the innovative creative pen of Marguerite Kaye's could pull off just such a happy ending!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating Historical Romance, 17 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Rumours that Ruined a Lady (Mills & Boon Historical) (Paperback)
'Her hair was as vibrant as ever, shimmering in the flame of the candlelight, and her eyes were still that remarkable shade of summer blue. Four years. He thought he had forgotten her. He was mistaken.'

---My thoughts---

I was very generously given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. As I'd read 'The Beauty Within', the story of Caro's sister Cressida, I was eager to read this one and discover more about the notorious Caro. Caro has been very unlucky lately; her husband has cast her out, and the shame has caused her father to disown her. With nobody left in the world,life is difficult for Caro and at this point I really felt for her.

I loved the relationship between Caro and Sebastian, it's obvious from the start how perfect they are for each other. Their conversations would always make me laugh with the back and forth between them. As I read on, I could see that their personalities were very similar, and the scenes between them really made this book special for me.

When I read 'The Beauty Within', I started to dislike Lord Armstrong, Caro's father. The way he treated his daughters was appalling, especially when he had sons. He seems to use his daughters for his gain, trying to marry them off with rich and powerful men, and as soon as they defy him, he disowns them. This book definitely made me dislike him even more, he doesn't appear to care for any of his daughters, especially Caro. Having a character to dislike definitely added to my enjoyment of the story however; there always needs to be a villain and for me, that's Lord Armstrong in this book.

I loved how this book was written; it starts off with Sebastian finding Caro in an Opium den, and we get the impression that they have a history together, but he doesn't go into any detail at first. As you read on, there's flashbacks from the previous occasions when Sebastian and Caro met. The first flashback is from the first time they met, when Caro was sixteen. As the story progresses, the flashbacks become more recent, and we get a clear picture of what happened between them in the past. I found this way of writing to be very interesting, instead of finding out what happened straight away, we're left in suspense until the next flashback, and this kept me coming back for more.

Overall, I loved this book and was completely hooked on it. It only took me a few days to read, and it kept me awake until the early hours reading. I just couldn't get enough of Caro and Sebastian; as their lives and histories unfolded I was unable to put this book down for more than a few hours at a time. I love to read Historical Fiction, I've always found it intriguing, and this is definitely up there with my favourites. I'd definitely recommend this for anyone looking for a fascinating romance story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scandalously sexy, 11 Nov. 2013
"I loved, loved, loved this book. From the first chapter this was something I could not put down. Twists and turns, keeping me turning page over and over. The faster the story got, the faster I turned.

The chemistry between Caroline and Sebastian is bordering on nuclear. Yet the descriptions of 18th Century England are fluid and smooth as a baby's bottom. I loved the emotion and the baggage Caroline carried. Sebastian, the perfect romantic hero, yet with an edge that borderlines on dangerous. A wonderful read. Highly recommended. Make sure you have plenty of tea and the kids and husband are out of the house. This is a book that is to be devoured."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another amazing Armstrong sister, 16 April 2014
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I love this author's work, and the Armstrong sisters never disappoint. They aren't your usual Regency misses!

This particular story has a hero and heroine who have both made mistakes in the past and are trying desperately to understand each other and start over.

As usual with this author, this is an immaculately researched story with main characters who are very much their own people. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The hotest Armstrong sister a page turner from the word go, 11 Nov. 2013
Caro and Sebastian meet in an unusual place an opium den. A notorious nut normal past time in England during the 18th/ 19th century England. But their relationship is one that simmers away from the first meeting or at least we think it is their first meeting. Marguerite Kaye cleverly uses flashbacks to give the reader an insight to their past when they had previously met when Caro was sixteen. Lord Armstrong was evil and nasty from the get go as I have come to expect from him having read the previous armstrong sisters books.

To me this was actually the best one in the Armstrong sisters books. I couldn't put the book down even breaking a house rule of no phones or reading at the dinner table.

Each book can be read as a stand alone but I recomend reading them all as they are all great books in their own right.
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Rumours that Ruined a Lady (Mills & Boon Historical)
Rumours that Ruined a Lady (Mills & Boon Historical) by Marguerite Kaye (Paperback - 1 Nov. 2013)
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