Friday, October 10, 2008

The Romantic, by Madeline Hunter

The Romantic is the last book in  a series by this author. Previous books, all read by me and thoroughly enjoyed, are The Seducer, The Saint, The Charmer and The Sinner.  All of the characters, life long friends and members of the Dueling Society, make an appearance in each of these, so by the time I read The Romantic, their character development was pretty well along.  This made for a great conclusion to the series.

The Romantic is the story of Julian Hampton,  Solicitor,  the ton's endless target of romantic speculation,  and Penelope Leclere, or as she is known by her married name, the Countess of Glasbury.  Penelope has been hiding the past decade. Hiding from the man she married and his interesting way of looking at marital relations and household management. What makes this book so sinister is not the actual description of some of those interests of the Earl, but the sly references to his treatment of his wife and his servants, including sexual abuse and slavery.  You get enough of an idea to realize that Pen had no choice but to run.  Julian, the Leclere family solicitor, arranged a scheme that would have exposed  Glasbury's secrets if he did not let Penelope go.  Unfortunately, that blackmail threat lasted only so long, and Penelope is forced to return to England and face down her husband, who holds all the cards, so to speak, in the eyes of English law.

What she doesn't anticipate is the secret Julian has been harboring since they were children together. And when she finds out what that secret is, she realizes that she needs to be free of the Earl forever, no matter what it takes. But can Julian continue to protect her? And can he avoid the Earl's anger and determination to get Penelope back and take his revenge?

I've read many other Madeline Hunter novels. and they are all very well written with exceptional character development and intriguing plots. This book is no exception.  While the book is part of a series, each one can stand alone, as explanations and backstories are given in each.  Quick reads, all, they will keep you warm and toasty (if you catch my meaning) as the nights get colder. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you may want to turn up the air conditioning. Enjoy!

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