What a fantastic book, Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath. It is the first in her Sins For All Seasons series. This series follows the Trewlove family, who from the unfortunate circumstances of their births emerge into remarkable characters worthy of love.
“The deep voice sent a summer of awareness through Aslyn, and she found herself staring at the man who approaches, as quietly as fog rolling in, through the encroaching darkness as though he were at once swallowed by it and master of it.”
Mick is the first unwanted baby who was given to Ettie Trewlove to care for. After Mick came several other babies, who Ettie cared for as her own. Mick knew that the father who abandoned him was the Duke of Hedley, and he decided to make it his life’s mission to force the Duke to acknowledge his bastard.
Mick’s plan of revenge involves destroying the fortune and reputation of the Duke’s son, the Earl of Kipwick, and seducing the Duke’s ward, Lady Aslyn.
“She’d longed to do something she shouldn’t, to take a chance, a risk, and then Mick Trewlove had come along.”
Aslyn is rather sheltered, having grown up in the confines of the Duke and Duchess’s estate. Her world is so protected and small. I absolutely loved seeing the growth of Aslyn, watching her open her eyes to the people around her and the injustices in society. It felt very timely and relevant.
“Aslyn couldn’t help but think that being important to Mick Trewlove would be one of the finest experiences of someone’s life.”
This book was filled with intrigue, revenge, suspense, and a very romantic love. For most of the book, there is a love triangle between Aslyn and her intended, Kip, and the man she is completely drawn to, Mick. The conspiracy that Mick conjures in order to determine the truth of his birth is fascinating to watch unfold.
“She was at home here, comfortable, and it occurred to him he’d built this place for her before he’d even known she existed.”
I loved this book and am desperate to read about the rest of the Trewlove children.
“She loved him. It was that simple, that complex.”
Review by Michele W.