Thursday, January 16, 2014

To Please a Lady by Lori Brighton

Eleanor wanted a night of passion. James just wanted to survive. Instead, they found an unexpected and forbidden love that threatens all they hold dear.

With her stunning beauty and impeccable reputation, Lady Eleanor Beckett is a society darling to emulate, respected by everyone in the ton. But Eleanor’s seemingly perfect life is marred by a dark secret. Determined to know happiness and passion just once, she travels in disguise to a place she’s heard whispers about for years: the infamous Lavender Hills Estate, a brothel that caters to women. There, she meets the surprisingly kind, strikingly handsome, and completely inappropriate James McKinnon, a man who may be just what she needs to melt the ice surrounding her broken heart.

James McKinnon is content at Lavender Hills Estate. Affable and handsome, it’s not surprising that James is one of Lady Lavender’s most popular men. He found the path out of crippling poverty through Lavender Hills, and with the money he makes from his work, he is able to support his widowed mother and young sister. James is surprised to find he cares for Eleanor, the beauty with the sad eyes. After all, he’s never cared for a client before—caring interferes with business. Unfortunately, society would never accept a relationship between an escort and a lady.

Despite their stations, Eleanor and James can’t extinguish the passion they’ve ignited. Will they be able to break through the confines of London society, or will their forbidden love and complicated pasts destroy everything they care about—including each other?

This book is apparently the last in a series, and in my opinion doesn't work as well as a stand-alone; I felt like I was behind from the first page. Despite the interesting twist of having the hero be a gigolo, this book just never really captured me. The revelation that Eleanor's husband is abusive adds some much needed depth to the tale, but then the whole story descends into an almost farce. It is especially difficult to understand how James can continue to ignore the reality of his situation or why his friends haven't been completely honest and forthcoming with him about their true circumstances. I wanted to like this book, but ultimately finished it only because I had started it.

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