Silk & Scandal

Cassandra Dean
Silk & Scandal
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Decadent Publishing
Release Date
May 2013
Book 1 of The Silk Series
Historical Romance

Eight years ago…

Thomas Cartwright and Lady Nicola Fitzgibbons were friends. Over the wall separating their homes, Thomas and Nicola talked of all things – his studies to become a barrister, her frustrations with a lady's limitations.

All things end.

When her diplomat father gains a post in Hong Kong, Nicola must follow. Bored and alone, she falls into scandal. Mired in his studies of the law and aware of the need for circumspection, Thomas feels forced to sever their ties.

But now Lady Nicola is back…and she won't let him ignore her.

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Jun 20, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
284 people found the following review helpful
I adore novels, but there is something special about a short story that I truly love. When a short story is as emotional and engaging and well done as this one is, it's a treat to be savored. Cassandra Dean knows her craft, and it shows in every scene of her first Silk Series installment.

Once upon a time, Thomas Cartwright and Lady Nicola Fitzgibbons were childhood friends who grew up next door to each other, meeting on either side of the garden wall to share all their secrets. Thomas discussed his dreams of becoming a barrister and making his adopted parents proud, while Lady Nicola whispered of her abhorrence of society's rules that keep ladies in their restrictive place. Then Lady Nicola's diplomat father was sent to Hong Kong, and for eight years, she and Thomas have been able to communicate only through letters—or the occasional mention of Nicola's scandals in the newspapers.

With each new bit of gossip that reaches his ears, Thomas knows that a man in his position cannot afford to consort with a lady with such a reputation and resolves to sever all ties with her. It's a resolution he somehow manages to keep—until Nicola herself returns to England. Now, though eight years may have taken their toll on their relationship, Nicola is determined to prove that some things never change…

The characters at the heart of this story are so vibrant and compelling that they leap off the page, capturing the heart and imagination within just a few pages. While Ms Dean's descriptions and insight are marvelous, readers are also treated to a peek at the correspondence between Nicola and Thomas, which added enormously to the foundation of their relationship, and also provides a glimpse beneath the facade each present to the world.

Though Thomas is all seriousness and focused on his career, he also has a sharp wit and a fabulously dry sense of humor, especially when Nicola is the focus of that attention. Most interesting though was Nicola's complexity--the contrast between her bravado and bravery and the fears and concerns she hides from all prying eyes. Though they couldn't be more different, this is a beautiful case of opposites attracting, and becoming better for the interaction. Once they are reunited, the chemistry between these two is utterly compelling, making it clear that their relationship is something truly special and worth every moment of heartache their distance may have caused.

The historic details and world-building in this story were also beautifully done, especially considering the space limitations inherent. I loved the snippets of description regarding Nicola's travels and the various scandals in which she found herself, and delighted in hearing about Thomas' studies, his dedication to his work, and his abiding need to repay the trust his family placed in him. Everything added up to a reading experiencing that was completely enthralling and heartwarming, leaving me as satisfied as if I had spent weeks with Nicola and Thomas.

Cassandra Dean is an author whose work I always enjoy, but this story was a special and an irresistible one that I wholeheartedly recommend!
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