Friday, September 19, 2008

Michelle Styles - An Impulsive Debutante

Lottie Charlton is eager to have her first season; her family expects her to marry well, preferably someone with a title. Social appearances mean everything to Lottie and her mother. Then at an assembly she meets the fascinating Tristan again and out on the terrace he kisses her passionately. They get caught in the act and to avoid a scandal she must marry him, unfortunately he is just a mere Mr., cousin to Lord Thorngrafton. She is determined to use his connection to Lord Thorngrafton to improve their social status, but he is not interested in improving his social status and he gives her an iron band as a wedding ring! On their homeward journey she learns that social status is really not so important and that her husband means a lot to her. Only then she discovers that Tristan is not who he claims to be…

After the death of his uncle and a long stay abroad, Tristan Dyvelston is back on English soil. He is now Lord Thorngrafton and has an one-track mind, to rebuild the family estate and make it prosper again. It turns out quite differently than he had planned and thanks to his own actions he is now married to Lottie, who covets a title and her social status. Due to a misunderstanding she doesn’t know that he has a title and he does not undeceive her. He wants to find out if she can truly love him and not just for his title, so he pretends to be without a lot of means. But his deceit weighs heavily upon him for Lottie turns out to be everything he ever looked for in a wife…

The first chapter of this book kicks off with a pleasant, sometimes brusque conversation between Tristan and Lottie at a graveyard. It immediately grabs your attention and it sets the tone for the rest of the story. Michelle Styles writing is easy and compelling to read, her characters are fleshed out well and as always she has an eye for accurate, historical details. She does not overwhelm you with lots of supporting characters and difficult storylines. She keeps it straight and light to read and makes sure that at all times the romance takes precedence.

That does not mean that her stories are shallow or common, Michelle Styles gives her stories depth by making her characters undergo changes and grow stronger throughout the story. The hero of this story, Tristan, has his past to deal with. He does not want to end up as his uncle and is determined to restore the family estate and name. But he tips the scales with his scheming and deceit when trying to find out if Lottie truly loves him and not his title, and so almost end up as his uncle. Still, it is simple to see where he is coming from and therefore it is easy to connect with him. He is a very likable guy.

Lottie Charlton is the typical result of her mother’s upbringing. She is always busy with improving her social status and appears to be shallow. It takes a rude wake-up call from Tristan for her to grasp that there are more important things in life than her social status. For the first time she sees beyond her nose and realizes that she is not a better person just because she is wealthy. She also possesses a great inner-strength for she easy accepts all the drastic changes in her life, tries to make the most of things and she is always attentive.

The character development of the main characters is the pivot on which this book hinges, therefore the interactions between Lottie and Tristan are crucial for the story. Their interactions are energetic, passionate and powerful. The secondary characters really stand back, you will meet Lottie’s family at the beginning and at the end of the story, the same goes for her friends. This story is really all about Lottie’s and Tristan’s relationship.

Once again, Michelle Styles has written a solid, uplifting romance. This story is so easy and light to read, once you start you can’t stop. It is an emotional laden romance with captivating characters, witty and brisk dialogues and a fluently written plot. It is a great read for everyone out there who enjoys a good historical!

4 stars

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