A Mad Passion

Scarlett Scott
A Mad Passion
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Ellora's Cave (Blush)
Release Date
February 2011
Historical Romance

Blush: This is a sensual romance (may have explicit love scenes, but not erotic level).

Seven years ago, the Marquis of Thornton broke Cleo's heart. He's the last man she wants to see at the country house party she's attending with her sisters. However, fate has a different plan when she finds Thornton standing before her, as devastatingly handsome as ever.

Thornton's resolve is tempted by Cleo's reappearance in his life. He'll stop at nothing to have her back in his arms. Now a respected politician, he jeopardizes his career and reputation with each secret moment he spends with her.

A steamy interlude in a darkened chamber, the crackling tension of a shared Shakespeare scene before the rest of the house guests, and one too many secret kisses prove to Cleo and Thornton that despite their scarred hearts, their feelings for one another may never have changed. But neither is free to pursue the other. Cleo remains hopelessly trapped in a loveless marriage, and Thornton is on the cusp of making an advantageous match.

Together they must battle against ruin and swirling scandal to discover if their mad passion is worth the price.

Book Review by Tiffy (reviewer)
Apr 09, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
346 people found the following review helpful
Scarlett Scott has aptly titled her latest novel A MAD PASSION and there is certainly a great deal of passion going on between the main characters, Cleopatra and Alex! In addition to the lusty lovemaking and alpha male fisticuffs, there's also a lot of witty banter being exchanged between all the characters in this novel.

Cleopatra and Alex meet and fall madly in love, but there is no wedding for the lovers. Alex leaves for America and shortly afterward Cleo discovers that she is pregnant with Alex's child. A hasty marriage of convenience is arranged between Cleo and John, the Earl of Scarbrough. Cleo has a miscarriage shortly after the wedding and is devastated.

Seven years later, Cleo and Alex are reunited at a country party given by Lady Cosgrove and they fall in love again. Cleo's sisters, along with Lady Cosgrove, nurture the romance by taking every opportunity to pair the reunited lovers together. Alex's mother and his sister spend their waking moments conspiring to break the lovers apart. True love wins out in the end and Alex and Cleo leave the country party together. However, several problems must be solved before the lovers have their happily ever after ending. Will Cleo divorce her husband or live in sin with Alex? How will their living arrangement impact his career as an advisor to the Prime Minister?

I really liked Cleopatra's sisters, Hypatia and Helen. Did you know that Hypatia was a female Greek mathematician who taught philosophy and astronomy? Feel free to throw that tidbit out when someone asks you why you're reading a romance novel!! (Thank you Scarlett!) The interplay between the three sisters really makes this novel work. At times they are supportive and at other times they are so cheeky, especially during very formal dinners, it makes you laugh out loud.

Cleo's sisters, Tia and Helen, posing as Cleo, pen a note to Alex requesting a private audience in Cleo's room at midnight to avoid the gossiping guests. The sisters have decided that Cleo needs a fortnight romance and after careful review of the available men, Alex came up as the winner!

One of the most entertaining exchanges in the novel was the notes that were flung back and forth after Alex spends the night with Cleo and has to apologize for his boorish, drunken behavior. They begin with "Cleopatra, I am a bear. An utter bear. I beg you a hundred fold. Forgive me. Thornton (Alex)." Cleo's response is "My Lord Marquis, True, your conduct was appalling. Indeed, I should think that if both you and a bear were entered into a comportment and manners competition, the easy winner would be the bear. However, one bear does not a listing of faults make. Do try harder. Cleopatra, Countess of Scarbrough."

Even the disagreeable characters add a wonderful dimension to the novel. Alex's mother, the Dowager Countess, and his sister, Bella are appalled that Alex has renewed his relationship with Cleo and are not shy about voicing their disapproval. I don't believe that the Dowager had anything nice to say about anyone or anything in the novel. It's amazing that she was not banished to the furthest corner of England that Alex could find!

Cleo's husband, the Earl of Scarbrough, is another one of those characters that you love to hate. He lied to her about Alex having an affair with an actress in order to marry her for her money. He beds Cleo to seal the marriage and then goes his own way, gambling, drinking and installing a mistress in his own residence. He does get his just comeuppance at the end of the novel!

All in all this was a well-written and researched Victorian romance. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to reading one of the author's other novels!
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