A Little Deception

Beverley Eikli
A Little Deception
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Robert Hale Ltd
Release Date
June 2011
Historical Romance

When she embarks on charade one night to save the family tea plantation, spirited Rose Chesterfield gets more than she bargained for: marriage to the deliciously notorious rake, Viscount Rampton. Unwittingly implicated in a series of high profile jewel robberies, Rose must outwit a jealous adversary in order to clear her blackened name. But can she regain the love and respect of her husband?

Book Review by CarolAnn
Jul 15, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
217 people found the following review helpful
I have my favourite historical romance must-read authors but I'm also happy to try new and upcoming authors. So when I was given the opportunity of reviewing A LITTLE DECEPTION by Beverley Eikli, a new author to me, I was looking forward to reading this story of love, deception and revenge.

When the story opens in London, Rose Chesterfield and her brother, Charles, are desperate to find some way to save their family sugar plantation in the West Indies. Charles's wife, Helena, a compulsive gambler and laudanum addict, lost the plantation in a card game and now they must find a way of delaying Viscount Rampton from claiming the debt until they can raise the funds to pay him off. With Helena under the influence of laudanum, Rose intends to pose as Lady Chesterfield at the dinner being held by Lord Rampton, despite her brother's misgivings.

Ashley Delacroix, Viscount Rampton, does not normally combine business with pleasure but, having heard his friend, Adrian Babbage's account of the wild night he spent with Lady Chesterfield, he finds his interest piqued. However, there is something about her that does not quite fit in with the image Baggage painted.

Wearing one of Helena's ‘outrageously daring' gowns, Rose plays the part of seductress well. She is aware that she has captured the handsome Viscount's interest and she finds his ‘unconcealed admiration' heady.

Ashley has every intention of making the exquisite Lady Chesterfield his mistress in return for writing off the debt. When attending Lord and Lady Barbery's ball, Rose is wearing a diamond necklace belonging to Helena, a gift she says is from one of her many admirers. Rose is therefore shocked to be accused by Lady Barbery of stealing it from her. Rampton steps in and manages to placate Lady Barbery, who happens to be his former mistress.

When Rose and Rampton are found in a compromising situation by Charles, Rampton learns that Rose is not Lady Chesterfield at all but the unmarried Miss Chesterfield. He believes it has been a ruse to trick him into marriage until he discovers Rose is intent on returning to the West Indies. Honor compels Rampton to ask Rose to marry him but will she accept his proposal or choose to sail away from him forever?

I found A LITTLE DECEPTION a pleasant read but certain elements I require in a book were missing. I always look for a wonderful chemistry between the hero and heroine, but from the beginning, I just didn't feel any real passion between Rose and Rampton. Rampton should have been far more dynamic in my opinion and his initial encounters with ‘Lady Chesterfield' far more intense. After all, here's a seasoned rake eager to convince ‘Lady Chesterfield' to be his next mistress. I think sharp and witty dialogue between Rose and Rampton would have helped to create a more vivid picture.

When Rampton swept Rose into his arms and carried her upstairs on their wedding night, ‘she felt no apprehension, only delicious anticipation'. So did I! Unfortunately, I was to be disappointed because there was no love scene at all. I appreciate that the author may not want explicit love scenes but I think some kind of intimate scene, however short, would have helped establish a physical bond between them.

I thought the conflict between Rose and Rampton was rather drawn out and I did get irritated by Rampton's constant acceptance of his wife's guilt regarding the thefts and a possible affair. It was, therefore, hard to accept when he suddenly decided to accept his wife's innocence without question!

One character who really came to life for me was Helena, Rose's sister-in-law. Beautiful, bitchy and totally ruthless, she plots and schemes to get what she wants and I love how she constantly uses Oswald, Rose's cousin, in her schemes luring him with the promise of sexual favours, a promise she has no intension of keeping. There are a number of other secondary characters but none are as colourful as Helena.

I liked the dramatic and quite shocking ending but it was almost spoiled for me by a specific action on Rampton's part! I can't say any more because it would spoil the ending, but if you do read the book, I think you'll understand what I mean.

A LITTLE DECEPTION will appeal to anyone who enjoys a light entertaining story with a touch of drama but those readers who like their books with plenty of passion, angst and hot love scenes will have to look elsewhere.
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