One Night Scandal

Christie Kelley
One Night Scandal
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Zebra Books
Release Date
June 2011
Book 5 of The Spinster Club
Historical Romance

A Night With A Marquess

Born on the wrong side of the blanket, matchmaker Sophie Reynard understands the consequences of unbridled desire all too well. Despite the many highborn friends she has matched, falling in love with an aristocrat without a pedigree of her own would be an act of futility. But that doesn't stop her from succumbing to one evening of anonymous passion…

A Lifetime Of Desire

Nicholas Tenbury, Marquess of Ancroft, knows nothing of Sophie's lineage. He knows only that the enchanting beauty captured his heart in one night and then fled, leaving no trace of her identity. But when he seeks answers from London's finest matchmaker, he finds none other than the woman herself—stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the attraction they share! Now the enamored Marquess has no choice but to sway Sophie with seduction…

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Aug 19, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
162 people found the following review helpful
Get ready for yet another winning entry to the Spinster Club series. This story sizzles with uncontrollable passion, dark secrets and vibrant, spirited characters that all together make for a wickedly wonderful read.

Sophie Reynard is the illegitimate daughter of an earl and an actress who has been forced to hide her identity from the world her whole life. After matching all her close friends with their soul mate, she has come to Venice, praying that the time has come for her to find her match. But whenever she tries to use her gift of sight to see into her own future, she can see nothing but darkness. Nothing, that is, until one dark night when she topples off a bridge and into the canal near the gondola of a handsome stranger. She is rescued and brought to his house, where the two of them seem helpless to ignore the passion that suddenly flares when they set eyes on each other.

But when Sophie awakes, she makes several shattering discoveries: not only is the man she slept with a future Duke, but he is both a dear friend and relation to some of her closest friends. Worse still, her intuition tells her that he is still in love with another woman whom he can never have. Heartbroken and terrified that he might learn her true identity, she flees, leaving with no explanation, praying that she will not be found out.

Nicholas Tenbury, Marquess of Ancroft, awakes stunned, confused and determined to find the woman who may have already captured his heart. He returns to England, determined to track his lady by the earring she left in his bed. His friend's advice sends him to a Miss Reynard, who is known for her sight and matchmaking skills. Imagine his shock when the matchmaker turns out to be none other than the very woman he wishes to find!

Sophie agrees that their relationship can indeed continue—but only as long as neither party admits to falling in love with the other. She knows her illegitimacy could ruin Nicholas, and that his father will be willing to stoop to any level to keep them apart. But Nicholas has suffered the loss of his love once before and refuses to lose Sophie again. It merely remains for him to prove to Sophie that the matchmaker has finally met her match.

I had the benefit of reading a few other books in this series, so I was acquainted with a few of the secondary characters who were scheming to bring Nicholas and Sophie together in spite of themselves. Still, I don't think any one picking this book up without reading the others will be disappointed or confused. Christie Kelley's characters are so well-crafted and vital that they feel like old friends after only a few paragraphs. Sophie and Nicholas were no exception. I believed in them and the escalation of their relationship from lust to love, from heartache to redemption. Sophie's friends are a wonderful, liberal and humorous bunch, and Nicholas' father is perhaps one of the most subtlety odious men I can remember meeting in any recent novel.

The Spinster Club is full of unconventional, delightfully scandalous romances, and this book was no exception. It was a refreshing surprise to see Sophie reach out and make such a surprising offer to a man she thought she could never marry. Though she never forgot her background or her station, I thought it was terrific that she was such a strong, independent person. Nicholas is equally, if not more, complex, beloved by his friends regardless of his checkered past. That past includes a young daughter, to whom Nicholas is completely devoted, and who was left on his doorstep when his father meddled in his love life in the most nefarious of ways. His situation also makes him far more understanding of Sophie's plight than she gives him credit for, and his interactions with his daughter are completely heart-warming. He is an utter libertine with a heart of gold, and watching that heart emerge through the layers of cynicism and pain that life has built up on him was one of the best parts of the story.

My only criticism is that the writing style sometimes feels a little clipped. I'm used to my historical romances being lush and descriptive, and Ms. Kelley's prose tends to be much more straightforward and at times it comes across as terse. It's not nearly enough to detract from the story, but it did take me out of the story occasionally. Thankfully, the wonderfully engaging characters brought me right back into the plot, and the terrific chemistry between Sophie and Nicholas made sure that I would be flipping the pages until the very end of their saga.
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