Provocative in Pearls

Grade : B+
Reviewed by Ellen Micheletti
Grade : B+
Book type : Historical Romance
Sensuality : Warm
Review Date : March 10, 2010
Published On : 2010

The impoverished peer who must marry for money is a well-known character in romance land. So is the woman whose father is a wealthy cit. It’s to Madeline Hunter’s credit that she takes these shopworn figures and makes them fresh and new.

Verity Thompson’s father built a prosperous ironworks business and she is his only heir. She knew that she would eventually marry and her husband would take over the business, but she wanted some say in the matter. However, before Verity reached her majority, her father died suddenly, leaving her in the care of her greedy cousin who arranged to marry her off to Grayson, Earl of Hawkeswell who needs money in the worst way.

When she discovered that her cousin lied to her, Verity ran away on her wedding day, and made it appear she has drowned. She’s been hiding ever since, and plans to reappear when she turns twenty-one, seek an annulment, and take back control of the ironworks from the cousin.

Hawkswell has been living in a legal limbo since Verity disappeared. He cannot touch her funds, cannot seek an annulment, and has been living his life as an object of gossip. One day quite by chance, he discovers Verity living quietly with several other women and is happy that at last things will be set straight. He plans to make her his wife in fact as well as in law.

Except Verity is no longer the meek girl she once was. She is fiercely independent and adamant that she will seek an annulment as soon as possible. Hawkeswell is equally adamant that they will stay together and plans to seduce her, demanding three kisses a day.

Provocative in Pearls is a wonderful book. After a bit of a slow start, the story kicks in and from then on I was engrossed in it. It was such a treat to read a book with intelligent characters who were realistic and of their time. Verity is intelligent and independent but not, thank heavens, feisty. Hawkswell is autocratic and quite His Lordship, but not cruel or vicious. I was very engaged in their story and loved the both of them.

Madeline Hunter also excels in filling the background with supporting characters who are alive and vivid and not a bit wallpapery. Since this is the second book in a quartet, I am sure we will meet some of them in the other two books.

As soon as I finished Provocative in Pearls, I went to the bookstore and bought the first book Ravishing in Red, and I will definitely read the rest of the series. Intelligent characters, an engrossing story, and an elegant writing style – this series has it all.

Ellen Micheletti

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