Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath | Pre-Release Review

Publisher: Avon
Release Date: January 30, 2018 (TOMORROW!)
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Sins for all Seasons #1
My rating:

At birth, Mick Trewlove, the illegitimate son of a duke, was handed over to a commoner. Despite his lowly upbringing, Mick has become a successful businessman, but all his wealth hasn’t satisfied his need for revenge against the man who still won’t acknowledge him. What else can Mick do but destroy the duke’s legitimate son—and woo the heir’s betrothed into his own unloving arms . . .

Orphaned and sheltered, Lady Aslyn Hastings longs for a bit of adventure. With her intended often preoccupied, Aslyn finds herself drawn to a darkly handsome entrepreneur who seems to understand her so well. Surely a lady of her station should avoid Mick Trewlove. If only he weren’t so irresistible . . .

As secrets are about to be exposed, Mick must decide if his plan for vengeance is worth risking what his heart truly desires.

Beyond Scandal and Desire was my first historical romance read of the year and what a great book to start 2018 with. Beyond Scandal and Desire reminded me of why I love reading historical romances, which gives a different sort of angst in the characters because they operate under different set of societal rules. In reading Beyond Scandal and Desire, I'm reminded how much I love the drama and the different turns a story can take because it's bound to the time period it is set in.

Reading Beyond Scandal and Desire also reminded me how much I enjoy Lorraine Heath's historical romances. She's one of my favorite historical romance authors, but it's been a while since I picked up any of her books, mostly because I've mostly been reading contemporary romances and new adult the last couple of years. But, Beyond Scandal and Desire reminded me how much I love her books and I have since purchased a bunch of her backlist titles.

With all of that said, YES, I absolutely and completely enjoyed Beyond Scandal and Desire. I do have to mention that I did spoil myself of the biggest twist in the book because I read the author's note first before starting the book--yep, there's a reason why it's placed at the end of the book. However, my being spoiled did not take away any of my enjoyment of the story and characters, but it does mean that I had a different reading experience from someone who wasn't spoiled. I do think it's best to go in unspoiled so I highly suggest you don't read the author's note first.

My favorite character in the novel was our heroine, Aslyn. I love her spirit and she doesn't take shit from any body. She was sheltered by her guardians most her life, so she had a deep desire to see and experience the world. She had spunk, but she's not one of those heroines who take stupid chances just to prove how independent they are. Nope, Aslyn had a good head on her shoulders and in falling in love with Mick she struggled with the unfairness of society and how unaccepting they were of hardworking, successful people like Mick, just because they were born on the wrong side of the blanket. As for Mick, I liked him too. I liked how close and how much he loved his found family, how hard he works to bring forth his vision, and his desire to help other people like him who society turned their backs on because they were illegitimate.

Speaking of, I like how Lorraine Heath incorporated the topics of bastardy and "baby farming" into the story. I was not of aware of the the whole "baby farming" issue from the late-Victorian Era and after reading about it in Beyond Scandal and Desire, I did a little googling and holy shit! Especially the case of Amelia Dyer (who was mentioned in the book), it was so, so horrible and heartbreaking and the pictures alone that come through through a simple google search will make you sick. Those poor, poor babies! I really like it when authors incorporate real-life issues and historical events in their books. It's always interesting to see the characters living through it or discussing it as they're living through it. It's a refreshing way of learning history.

I thought Beyond Scandal and Desire was well-written, engaging, and a great start to a new series. Besides Aslyn and Mick, the author introduced us to secondary characters who are just begging for their own book, especially Mick's "brothers" and "sisters." I don't want to give anything away, but I really enjoyed the revenge plot and how it got turned on its head as Mick fell in love with Aslyn. Although I was spoiled by the ending, I still every much enjoyed the journey up to the climax. And, the romance was actually somewhat of a slow burn because while the actual length of time took place in a couple of weeks, page-wise Aslyn and Mick did not get together until the latter part of the novel. All the yearning and restrained passions on both Mick and Aslyn's part kept the sexual tension high. 

If you're a fan of historical romances, don't let Beyond Scandal and Desire pass you by and it's a must-read for fans of Lorraine Heath. There's a reason why Lorraine Heath is one of the reigning queens of historical fiction, and it's that she continues to pen these outstanding historical romances with captivating plots and engaging characters even after having written many, many books. I haven't met a Lorraine Heath novel I didn't like and I'm so glad I got a chance to read Beyond Scandal and Desire now as it reminded me that I need to read the books in her backlist that I missed while I wait for the next book in her Sins for All Seasons series (which, ICYMI, will feature Mick's sister Gillie).

Beyond Scandal and Desire will be available at your favorite book retailers starting tomorrow, Jan. 30th. 

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