15 March 2013

An Amazing Debut from Ms. Macnamara

Book Title: A Most Scandalous Proposal
Author: Ashlyn Macnamara
Publisher: Ballantine Books, February 26, 2013
Source: Netgalley
Review: ✩ (3.5 stars)

In Ashlyn Macnamara’s stunning romance debut—perfect for fans of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Sabrina Jeffries—two childhood friends in Regency England discover love with the most unlikely of partners: each other.

After watching her beloved sister Sophia pine over the ton’s Golden Boy for years, Miss Julia St. Claire has foresworn love and put herself firmly on the shelf. Unfortunately, her social-climbing mother and debt-ridden father have other ideas, and jump at the chance to marry Julia off to the newly-named Earl of Clivesden…the man of Sophia’s dreams.

Since resigning his Cavalry commission, Benedict Revelstoke has spent his time in London avoiding the marriage mart. But when he discovers that the Earl of Clivesden has set Julia in his sights, Benedict tries to protect his childhood best friend from the man’s advances—only to discover more than friendship driving his desire to defend her. He surprises them both with the force of his feelings, but when she refuses him and her father announces her betrothal, he fears he’s lost her forever—until Julia approaches him with a shocking scheme that will ruin her for all respectable society…

…and lead them into an exquisite world of forbidden pleasures.

A debut novel from Ms. Ashlyn Macnamara: a story of two sisters finding love in the most unusual circumstances.

The Girls
Julia St.Claire
She's the youngest among the two sisters. She was also the practical and sensible one. Her reputation is pristine. Unlike girls her age, she haven't really dreamed of falling in love. After knowing what love can do to a person, she had lost fate in love. That's why Ludlowe had chosen her to be his bride. I liked her character because she loved her sister, and she didn't want her to get hurt. Julia tried to dissuade Ludlowe as much as possible. But her parents got other ideas. To escape her fate, she offered her dearest friend, Benedict, a scandalous proposal he couldn't refuse.

Sophia St. Claire
The oldest among the St. Claire siblings. She nurses a tendre for Ludlowe for more than five years. Although she's a stunning beauty compared to her sisters, she had refused several offers and had patiently waited for the man she had set her eyes on. Yet, she remained non-existent to him - every time they met, it feels like her heart is breaking inch by inch. Little did she realize that her heart is about to get crushed when Ludlowe asked for her sister's, Julia, hand in marriage. I hated her. As the older sister, she should be the one with more sense. How can she remain blind to Ludlowe's shortcomings when she had witnessed one right before her eyes?

The Boys
Rufus, The Earl of Highgate
Love the name. It's very - ancient. Anyway, he's our tortured brokenhearted hero who had suffered so much not only from the ton's idle gossip but as well as from his previous wife's indiscretions. He preferred the solitude of the country side. But due to his sister's insistence - he came to town in search of a wife. Another looming scandal is hanging over his head when he and Sophia were discovered alone.

Julia's childhood friend. He's your typical prince charming-slash-older brother. Someone who was always there to listen and be with Julia during the times that she needed him the most. Their lands are adjacent to each other in the countryside and they spent a lot of time playing together as children. But all grown up - Benedict never really have feelings for Julia, if ever he has, he hasn't acknowledge it until that night at a certain ball where they danced a waltz. Suddenly, he saw Julia no longer as a friend, but a lady to be desired.

I fell in love with him - his humor, wit and plain old happy-go-lucky charm. No page is left dull if he's on it. He's Benedict's trusted and loyal friend. Upperton is the one who encouraged Benedict not only in pursuing Julia but in other aspects as well. If the next book is about him - I'd gladly grab a copy.

Ludlowe, The Earl of Clivesden
Since gaining the earldom (or even before it), he wanted to find a suitable bride to be his countess - and among all women in the ton, one caught his attention: Julia. But is it her who really caught his attention, or is there something more to his choice of bride? He may look like he's a gift from God - with his looks, charms and soon-to-have-riches, but what lies beneath is soon to surface when all his dark secrets will finally unveil.

Cliche Plot: What could be more sweeter than two childhood friends finally realizing that they are meant for each other?

A Debut Novel: I have been a fan of regency romance since my mother allowed me to touch her Lindsey collection. I was really excited to receive a copy from Netgalley, especially from a first-time author. With two love tales in one book - there were literally a band of characters to get to know. Nevertheless, she made sure that two couple are given the same attention and no one was left behind. But for a first novel, A Most Scandalous Proposal went well (so yes, you can easily breath now Ms. Ashlyn): nice plot, great group of characters and sizzling romance. I enjoyed reading this book and will look forward for your future writings!

Fans of regency romances will surely let her into their hearts as well as into their shelves. Great work!

  • “I believe I've come to understand something. Love isn't always big and dramatic. It's big, it's deep, but it's also quite and calm.” 
  • “Ah, sarcasm. The final refuge of the desperate.” 
  • “It's easy enough to smile at a man if you want to capture his attention, but once you realize he's not really looking at you, that perhaps he never really saw you, smiling becomes much more difficult” 

Ashlyn Macnamara

Ashlyn lives in the wilds of suburbia outside Montreal with her husband and two teenaged daughters. When not writing, she looks for other excuses to neglect the housework, among them knitting, reading and wasting time on the internet in the guise of doing research.


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