Once a Mistress
Once a Mistress by Rebecca Hagan Lee seems to be the first book in a series about the children – legitimate and otherwise – of the Marquess of Templeston. Judging by this book, the series should be worth reading.
Four years ago, Drew Ramsay, son of the Marquess, intended to marry Kathryn Markinson, an old friend of the family. She never showed up for the wedding and refused to see him afterwards, and in typical hero fashion, Drew went off to fight in Waterloo to assuage his broken heart. Now, four years later, Drew’s beloved father has died, leaving to Drew the marquisate. When Drew goes to his new estate, he discovers that Kathryn has been living there as his father’s mistress, and is the mother of a child that resembles his father almost exactly.
This is a lot for a guy to take, and Drew’s reaction is both furious and vengeful. He first intends to evict her, and then plans to make her his own mistress, whether she likes it or not. But Kathryn’s vulnerability soon wins his sympathy, and he begins to suspect the secret crime against Kathryn that led her to this.
The thing I liked best about this book was its hero. Drew’s rage at his father’s and Kathryn’s betrayal seems entirely justified, and it soon becomes clear that his enduring love for them both underlies his anger. He becomes Kathryn’s champion long before he understands the truth about her. Kathryn is more difficult to get to know, partly because she is keeping secrets, and partly because she does ridiculous things like keeping foxes and hedgehogs as house pets. Also, there are times when she blows annoyingly hot and cold – flinching away from Drew one minute, then hugging him the next.
Most of my complaints with this book are minor. For instance, not that I’ve ever tried, but something tells me that foxes aren’t easily domesticated, and would probably object to being carried about in knapsacks even if they were. And Ramsey is a Scots name, not an English one.
A larger problem is the rather bewildering revelation of the villain at the end. The bad guy simply didn’t make sense: if he’d been that evil all these years, surely someone would have noticed? I thought that the ending was a bit disappointing for a few other reasons, as well – none that I can reveal without spoilers, unfortunately.
Though Once a Mistress has a few problems, all in all it is a nice read overall. The hero is very sweet and some of the love scenes are quite sexy. Once a Mistress looks like the start to a worthwhile series and one that I plan to continue reading.