One Night of Passion
One Night of Passion by Erica Ridley is a delightful read. Our hero, Thaddeus Middleton is a true romantic, a friend to everyone and an all-around good guy. And he is unapologetically looking for love:
Surely he’d recognize love when he saw it. Love was impossible to miss. Love felt like the singing of angels and the thunder of fireworks…..That was what Thad longed for. Not just “until death do us part” but “in love from now till death, and forever after.” He’d been searching for it for as long as he could remember.
Priscilla Weatherby is searching for adventure. Her father and grandfather are adventurers, combing the globe in search of new fun, and she longs to join them. She stands to receive ten-thousand pounds if she is still unwed by her twenty-fifth birthday – provided she puts herself in situations where she could meet a husband – and is undeterred by her grandmother’s continual admonishments to get married.
The goal was adventuring with Papa and Grandfather…not that Priscilla doubted their sincerity in welcoming her aboard after her twenty-fifth birthday. They might not remember to come and fetch her, but wasn’t that what the inheritance was for? …Once she found them…once she proved herself….she’d be positively indispensable, wouldn’t she? ….And finally become non-leave-behind-able.
So, she is biding her time, and attending Marriage Mart functions while doing her best to dissuade would-be suitors. It’s a plan that has served her well – only a year and a half to go – until she is approached by Thaddeus at Almack’s.
Sparks fly. But Priscilla is committed to her plan and snubs him. Thaddeus is only slightly deterred, however; he has noticed Priscilla before and is determined to follow where the sparks lead. Thaddeus keeps showing up and eventually, a friendship ensues and he ends up teaching her to read French by writing her letters every day. What follows is a sweet series of interludes and letters that are sprinkled with delightful humor:
A hesitant maid appeared in the corridor and wrung her hands just outside the threshold. “Mrs. Weatherby said…”
“To let Mr. Middleton ravish me,” Priscilla concluded drily. “Duly noted. You can be dismissed if any bosoms start heaving. Meanwhile, he’s about to let the cat out of the bag. If it attacks Koffi hit Mr. Middleton with a skillet.”
The maid sent her startled gaze toward Thaddeus.
“Fair enough,” he assured her. “Mostly because I see you’ve forgotten your skillet.”
Priscilla is a smart and feisty heroine. She hates that she’s been left alone with her grandmother for years while her father is off on adventures and is sure she can only be happy when she finds and joins her father and grandfather. All she has to do is wait a little longer and her life will begin. But Thaddeus is turning her well-laid plans to mush.
Thaddeus is convinced that the right woman will make his life perfect. He’s waiting, too – for destiny to sweep him into his future. At first glance, Thaddeus seems a little bland but there is more to him than meets the eye. He is a refreshing hero who is truly looking for love and is willing to do the work to find it. There is no game-playing or unnecessary angst. Just a lot of sweetness and humor – which are missing in many heroes these days!
The story unfolds at a good pace and is resolved in a very satisfying manner. Thaddeus and Priscilla have their obstacles to overcome but the story is well-written and interesting the whole way through.
Ms. Ridley doesn’t always stick to the conventions of the time about which she’s writing, and Priscilla is more aware of her sensuality than many heroines in this genre. But, if you can let go of the parameters of the era and just allow the story to unfold, you’ll be in for a good time.
One Night of Passion is the third installment in the Wicked Dukes Club series. (The series is not just about dukes but rather the members at the Wicked Dukes Club – which hosts some amusing characters.) In an interesting turn, Ms. Ridley is writing some of the stories and Darcy Burke is writing the others. I haven’t read any of the other books but I will probably pick them up since the supporting characters in this one (who will star in the other novels) are engaging.
I was pleasantly surprised by this story. I’ve read and enjoyed some of Ms. Ridley’s books before but this is the funniest and most enjoyable so far. Pack it for your vacation – it would make a great beach read!