Friday, June 29, 2012

The Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden

Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden
"Crispin, Lord Cavratt, thoroughly and scandalously kisses a serving woman in the garden of a country inn, he assumes the encounter will be of no consequence. But he could be more mistaken--the maid is not only a lady of birth, she's the niece of a very large, exceptionally angry gentleman, who claims Crispin has compromised his niece beyond redemption. The dismayed young lord has no choice but to marry Miss Catherine Thorndale, who lacks both money and refinement and assumes all men are as vicious as her guardian uncle.
Trapped between an unwanted marriage and a hasty annulment, which would leave his reputation tainted and Catherine's utterly ruined, Crispin begins guiding his wife's transformation from a socially petrified country girl to a lady of society. Their unfolding relationship reveals encouraging surprises for both of them, and privately each of them wonders if theirs may become a true marriage of the heart. But their hopes are dashed when forces conspire to split asunder what fate has granted. As a battle of wits escalates into a life-threatening confrontation, will it be possible for Crispin and Catherine to live happily ever after?" (jacket summary)

After enjoying Friends and Foes so much I decided to pick up another Sarah M. Eden novel. This novel has tie in characters with the previous novel that I read and it was fun to find out more about the characters in this book. Crispin ends up marrying Catherine, but plans to annul the marriage as soon as he can, but finds that the legal issues behind such an action to be more complex than he anticipated. Not being able to bring himself to drag Catherine through a very public and embarrassing trial against her uncle in order to obtain an annulment Crispin decides to hold off until he figures things out. Especially since he has started to enjoy his wife company and wants to learn more about her.

Catherine is at first just grateful to be away from the abuses of her crazy and controlling uncle and finds herself fortunate that Crispin is so kind to her despite the circumstances. Knowing that Crispin is looking for ways to annul their marriage, she must try to find arrangements suitable for a woman with a ruined reputation, which is what she will face one the entire marriage is over. Catherine finds herself depressed about the prospect of annulling the marriage as she grows more attached to Crispin. She fears that he does not feel the same and wonders if it would be better to live life ruined rather than unloved. Then her uncle come back in town, encouraging an annulment to the marriage he forced her into in the first place. This causes great confusion until they discover that Catherine was left a sizable inheritance by a relative.  With such a prize at stake her uncles actions become more desperate and dangerous.  

I really liked this book, but found myself really wanting to know what exactly Catherine’s uncle was after. He kept insisting that he was after more than just the money and I wondered exactly what he meant by that. I wanted to know more of his motivations but that plot line isn’t ever really followed up. Other than that I really liked the rest of the book and the interactions between the characters. I enjoyed Friends and Foes more but this was still an excellent story and a good read.

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