Silk & Scorn

Cassandra Dean
Silk & Scorn
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Decadent Publishing
Release Date
February 2014
Book 2 of The Silk Series
Historical Romance

No matter how much their mothers wanted Sarah and Arthur to wed, Sarah had loathed him. However, circumstance and her late husband's father conspire against her, and she is forced to turn to Arthur for help. Perhaps she needs his legal expertise, but she refuses to acknowledge how handsome her oldest foe has become…or her reaction to him.

His childhood nemesis is the last person Arthur Davenport expected to require his services. When a spurious claim against her late husband's estate brings Sarah Wetherall to his door, he can't refuse the pretty widow, no matter how much he wants to.

Thrown together by fate, will they discover there is a fine line between scorn and passion?

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
May 03, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
213 people found the following review helpful
It takes a special kind of talent to craft a compelling short story--it takes very unique talent indeed to create characters as engaging and sympathetic as those found in Cassandra Dean's stories, and to do it in only 60 pages. The second in her Silk series, this story of childhood enemies and their journey together is a marvelously diverting, entertaining story that will delight fans and hopefully attract plenty of new readers as well.

Years ago, it was determined by their meddlesome mammas that Sarah Wetherall and Arthur Davenport should marry. Forced into an utterly unpleasant correspondence at an early age, Sarah made it quite plain that there was nothing on earth to which she was more adverse than a union with Arthur--which was perfectly fine with him. Time, however, has a funny way of changing even the most stubborn of people...

Following the death of her husband, Sarah is facing increasingly vindictive attacks from her father-in-law, and realizes there is no one who can help her, except the man she swore never to set eyes upon again. Now a successful solicitor, Arthur is stunned--and mildly infuriated--to see Sarah enter his chambers, and re-enter his life. Despite his rising ire, he can't bear the look of fear and worry on her face, and agrees to do everything in his power to help in her defense. The last thing either Arthur or Sarah expect is the desire that flares between them during one of their many heated arguments, or the realization that what they have always wanted may just be right before their very eyes. But can they put years of animosity behind them for the sake of a future together?

Cassandra Dean offers a unique insight into both her characters, recognizing their faults and glorying in their strengths. Arthur's impassive, almost stoic professionalism hides a charming sense of honor and a confidence in Sarah's individual strength that is absolutely endearing. I also loved that he wasn't the suave, alpha males that are growing increasingly common. Instead, Arthur's strength is more understated, and all the more powerful for it.

Likewise, it was genuinely revelatory to look behind Sarah's shimmering personality and outward bravado to see the very realistic insecurities that have sent her to Arthur for help. Most of all, I loved watching these two come together, and realize that their animosity might very well be a front for different emotions entirely. These two characters are such strong individuals that when they come together, their chemistry is completely compelling, and, more often than not, a bit combative. But it is this push-and-pull, this constant battle of wills, that makes their interactions so much fun and so absorbing.

This series explores a less privileged side of the traditional historical romance, and though there are some anachronistic phrases here and there, it is overall a world that I would love to visit more often. The small details, the tiny histories that are revealed in the course of each scene, the sights and smells of this environment all combine in a very short space to immerse the reader, and provides an excellent backdrop for these vibrant characters.

Though the ending felt a bit rushed, this book was an overall delight. I particularly enjoyed the correspondence that bookended the story, featuring Sarah and Arthur as both children and adults. It's no secret that I am a huge fan of love letters (or, in the case of young Sarah and Arthur, perhaps hate mail is the better phrase), and these notes provided the perfect insight into their characters to get the story off on the right foot, and to bring it full circle in the most romantic way possible. I have always enjoyed Cassandra Dean's writing, and this book is full of her trademark sense of humor and eye for ideal (if unlikely) couples. It's remarkable what she can do in such a small space, and I, for one, can't wait to see what the next story in the Silk series will bring!
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