I’ve never done this before, but after reading the LoveSavesTheWorld review of The Madness of Lord Westfall, I had to write and ask for permission to repost the review here. I’m always interested in what catches my readers’ eyes, so it was very instructive. Fortunately, Tin gave her permission so here are her beautifully expressed thoughts:

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THE MADNESS OF LORD WESTFALL smallI really enjoyed the first book in Mia Marlowe’s Order of the Muse series, and I’ve been waiting for the second book to come out. When it did, I was able to muster a bit of willpower and waited for the third book to come out, because, I knew that, after reading Pierce’s book, I would want to read the third book IMMEDIATELY — and, that’s exactly what happened.

In terms of “superpowers”, many would think Pierce Langdon, Lord Westfall, has a really great one: his ability allows him to hear people’s deepest darkest thoughts. I could think of a million ways that Pierce could use his talent to take advantage of people, but, in reality, Pierce sees what he has as a great burden, and he’s had to train with the Duke of Camden in order to build a wall to block out the invasion of other people’s thoughts.

Pierce is such a great character — he spent most of his formative and adult years locked away in Bedlam, and, before that, he lived in the countryside, so he hasn’t really had any real experience of the outside world. Ever since he was liberated from Bedlam by the Duke of Camden, Pierce has worked with MUSE within the safe confines of their house/headquarters. But now Pierce is needed in the field, to locate an object with psychical powers, that the Duke suspects will be used against the Prince Regent. It’s a rare, and unwanted, moment for Pierce, who is happy to live away from people — but, he knows he owes the Duke his life, and so he risks succumbing to madness and ventures out to help MUSE with its latest mission.

Pierce finds himself inside the mind of Lady Nora Claremont, a famed courtesan.

This is where it gets very interesting, because Pierce has had no previous knowledge of Nora, he sees and accepts her without any prejudice or regard for the past. For Nora, this is a godsend: for the first time in her life, someone is seeing her beyond her youthful mistakes and her tarnished reputation. At the same time, Nora, while a member of the aristocracy, but has long been exiled from it, had never heard of Pierce, or of his life. Maybe it’s a strange choice of words to describe a “madman” and a courtesan, but there’s a heartbreaking innocence to their encounter. It is a clean slate for both our hero and heroine, and a chance for them to show the other their real identity.

… “Have I offended you in some way, sir?”

If not, it wasn’t for lack of trying. Something about him made her uncomfortable. She’d be just as happy if this man left Albemarle’s party. He wasn’t the jovial sort Benedick Albemarle usually cultivated at his routs.

“No, you’ve given me no cause for offense. Though I suspect the world has offended you more than once,” he said. “I am sorry for it. You deserve a full measure of respect.”

That took her aback. While she was arguably the most sought after high-flyer in London, no one had ever cared if they offended her.

It’s innocent meets jaded, as Pierce disarms Nora with his earnestness. Nora has never met anyone like Pierce, who genuinely appreciates her and talking to her. Most men of her acquaintance only want one thing from her. It’s a challenge for Pierce not to listen to Nora’s thoughts — again, this is a testament to Pierce’s heart — he could easily just read her mind and become her ideal person. But he would rather try on his own, without the use of his powers. I loved imagining the delight in a new beginning, a fresh start, for both of them. In Pierce’s case, it was a revelation to him that he could be with someone, and that someone could love and accept him — “madness” and all. It is rare in historical romances for the hero to be the one to discover love for the first time, but that is the case with Pierce — and it is a breathtaking moment.

Nora looked up, aware that most men loved to catch a woman in this state. She was wearing half-dress, her hair unbound, her expression appropriately dewy-eyed and hopeful after supposedly letting Byron’s lush verses surge over her.

“Hullo, Westfall,” she said.

“Your book is upside down.”

“Oh!” She laid it aside as quickly as if it were a viper.

“But you looked lovely pretending to read it. I assume that was the point, so, well done.”
 
But things were never easy for Pierce or Nora, who have had to fight to survive up to this point, so it comes as no surprise that their own relationship would prove to be a seemingly insurmountable struggle: Nora is in an arrangement with Lord Albemarle, and Pierce is investigating him. The weakest part of the story is the psychical object, which is Fides Pulvis, which allows the user to control whoever consumes the powder.

“Trust Powder. One pinch and whoever takes it from me will believe whatever I tell them is gospel. Damned handy thing in the right hands.”
 
The plan is to slip some in the Prince Regent’s drink, and then control his decision regarding the …, which would, therefore, extend the armed conflict between France and England. Part of me wasn’t convinced that the truth powder was a game changer, if it was ever used on the King. Maybe it’s a lack of explanation or history/backstory on the powder — but, it just felt, harmless to me. But, it does create a very complex test of love and loyalty for the characters in the story: Nora loves Pierce and wants to help him, but she understands Lord Albemarle’s situation and why he has the Fides Pulvis. It’s a crisis of priorities and sides, and it falls on Pierce to make the correct judgments — he is in an intimate position to know Nora’s thoughts, but does he have to share these discoveries with the Duke of Camden? Is his love for Nora greater than the needs of his country?

But the Sensory Extraordinaires believed that it would change the tides of history, and they all put themselves on the line in order to locate it. Mia Marlowe uses Pierce’s story to develop Meg Anthony’s story a bit. She’s a “finder” and little else is known of her — Marlowe delves a little bit deeper into her history and explains her abilities a little bit more. (Yes, when I finished Pierce’s book, I immediately started reading Meg’s book.)

What I love about this series is this: while the stories have a touch of paranormal in them, Marlowe uses it as a vehicle to highlight the very, very human needs and wants of the Sensory Extraordinaires. Lord Stanstead needed to feel hope, Lord Westfall needed to feel wanted and accepted, the Duke of Camden needs closure, and Vesta needs the Duke’s love.

~~~

THE MADNESS OF LORD WESTFALL smallThanks so much for that thoughtful review, Tin. And thank you to everyone who posts a review of my work, whether it’s on your own review blog or at the etailer’s site where you purchased it. I truly appreciated each one.

And if you haven’t read THE MADNESS OF LORD WESTFALL, the story is available in print and as an ebook. Here’s where you can find it:

Amazon  
Barnes & Noble 
Book Depository 
BAM
Entangled 

iBooks 
Kobo

Happy Reading!

 

Never_Resist_a_Rake-300 (2)Yes, my friends, I’m delighted to share that my publisher is running an amazing sale on Never Resist a Rake! For a limited time, it’s only $0.99 for your Kindle. Nook or  iBooks.

I love the relationship between Rebecca and John and so did RTBookReviews:

4 1/2 STARS “Marlowe’s delightful tale is replete with unexpected characters, a wonderful romance and a page-turning plot. Marlowe cleverly turns a rascal into a hero readers will adore, while adding a depth of emotion that will touch their hearts.” ~ RTBOOKReviews

Hope you love it too!

When I was little girl, I wanted to be a boy scout.

Not a boy, mind. Just a boy scout. After all, they got to go camping and learn to tie knots and all that fun stuff. All we girl scouts got to do was sell those stupid cookies.

The heroine in my new Regency romance, Lady Caroline Lovell, feels a little bit the same. Her brothers all get to complete their educations by going on a Grand Tour. She gets to be “finished” and is trotted out for a Season or two where she’s expected to snag an eligible husband, marry and produce a gaggle of heirs for him.

Caroline, however, has other plans…

 

Is there a more alluring sight in all the world than the sun rising over an unknown sea?

~from the diary of Lady Caroline Lovell, daughter of the Earl of Chatham, who has never in her life set foot on a water craft larger than a row boat.

Chapter 1

London, The Ides of March, 1818

“And then, because Lord Ware arrived late,” Horatia Englewood said, pausing for effect, “Lady Jersey ordered him to remove from the premises forthwith.” When this bit of information was met with a shocked gasp from Frederica Tilbury, Horatia added, “Politely, of course.”

The breath of minor scandal was almost enough to pull Caroline away from the parlor window and back into her friends’ gossipy patter. But there were so many carriages moving past her family’s town house in St. James Square, she couldn’t look away. It was too delicious to imagine where they might be going.

Granted, most of the travelers were bound for parlors like hers, where dainties would be offered, both in the form of petit fours and in juicy tidbits about the ton. It was the time of day reserved for calls, after all, and Polite Society lived to see and be seen.

But surely some of the carriages rolling by were headed for the docks. And perhaps a fortunate few of the passengers would board ships.

Bound for far off Zanzibar or Madagascar or . . . some other exotic place ending in “–ar.” The colors would be brighter there, I’ll be bound, and even birdsong would sound deliciously foreign. Best of all, when I went to the beach, I’d feel warm sand beneath my feet instead of those horrid pebbles at Brighton.    

Caroline sighed, wiggling her toes inside her slippers, dreaming about what that mysterious sand must feel like. She squeezed her eyes shut and, for a heartbeat or two, she actually thought she felt a soft breeze drift past her.

When she opened her eyes, the gossamer curtains were swaying a bit. One of the parlor windows had not been locked down tight when the maids dusted last.  

Caroline sighed again. She wished it’d been a trade wind that caressed her cheek. Her imagination was almost always more interesting than what was actually happening around her.

However, her friend Frederica, who, it must be admitted, did not suffer from an abundance of imagination, was riveted by Horatia’s story about Lord Ware. The girl giggled loudly over the tale, mostly out of nervousness.

It was a bad habit from which Caroline was trying to wean her. Freddie was pretty enough and her dowry several notches above adequate, but more than a few young bucks might scamper away from that giggle.

“Surely, Lady Jersey never did such a thing,” Frederica said, her words tumbling over each other instead of flowing gently in a calm, ladylike stream. It was yet another thing Caroline was trying to improve about her friend. The rapid delivery betrayed a lack of confidence, Caroline insisted, and Frederica was making some progress. But when excited, dear Freddie reverted to her jack-rabbit manner of speaking. Now she rattled on, “Not even a lady patroness would dare turn Lord Ware away from Almack’s. Indeed, she wouldn’t.”

“Oh, yes, indeed, she did. As I live and breathe.” Horatia straightened her spine to ramrod uprightness. Then she looked down her nose in a surprisingly good imitation of Lady Jersey at her imperious best. “She said, ‘If we turned away Lord Wellington for neglecting to honor the rules of dress, do not think for one moment we will not refuse to admit you, Lord Ware, since you have the temerity to arrive late to supper.’”

“Not that supper at Almack’s inspires punctuality,” Caroline murmured. To call the meager refreshments served promptly at eleven ‘supper,’ was charitable in the extreme. The weak punch and thinly sliced bread were famous for their awfulness.

“Still,” Frederica said with a shiver, “imagine having the courage to snub Lord Ware?”

“Oh, Freddie, you little goose. Lady Jersey doesn’t need courage. She has the rules on her side.” Horatia raised her teacup and sipped delicately, pinky properly out.

She was right. Lady Jersey had the power of revoking Lord Ware’s voucher to Almack’s permanently. It was acceptable not to have that coveted ticket because one had not applied for a voucher. It was quite another to have been awarded one and then have it stripped away for behavior judged to be déclassé. No matter how wealthy, how influential, or how important the Earl of Ware might be in the House of Lords, Lady Jersey wielded an even heavier club in matters of Polite Society.

Frederica shivered again.

Like a wren fluffing out its feathers. There’s another thing I need to correct before the Season starts in earnest.

Since traffic had dwindled, Caroline left the window and rejoined her friends. She settled into the Sheridan chair opposite the settee and helped herself to a biscuit. “Horatia, tell me. Did you see this astonishing exchange between Lady Jersey and Lord Ware with your own eyes?”

Her friend’s lips pursed into a disgruntled moue. “Well, no, but—”

“Then, may I ask how you happened upon this extraordinary bit of intelligence?”

“You see, my cousin Violet’s bosom friend, Amelia, heard it from—”

“So neither your cousin nor her bosom friend witnessed Lord Ware’s humiliation?”

“You didn’t let me finish,” Horatia complained. “Amelia got it straight from her Aunt Harriet, whom she swears is the soul of discretion. And Amelia’s aunt heard about the incident from Penelope Braithwaite, who was there.

“Penelope Braithwaite,” Caroline cast about through the myriad of introductions she’d suffered through during the last two Seasons, trying to remember the lady.

“Didn’t we attend one of her recitals?” Freddie prompted.

Suffered through one was more like almost escaped Caroline’s lips, but she held it back. Her dear mother always warned that speaking ill of others was a prayer to the devil. Caroline wasn’t sure she believed it, but it didn’t do to take chances.

“Yes, now I remember,” Caroline said. “You and I have heard her perform.”

“As have I, but only once,” Horatia said with a snicker. “She abused the Mozart Alleluia with such gusto, one hearing was more than enough.” Horatia shook her head. “And she fancies herself a lyric soprano.”

“Yes, I believe she does,” Freddie said innocently.

Dear Freddie. If Horatia said Miss Braithwaite fancied herself a trained chimp in a Parisian frock you’d be tempted to agree.

Caroline recommitted herself to shepherding her suggestible friend through the coming Season. She had no doubts that fair-haired Frederica would turn heads. She was as pale and dimpled as the prevailing standards for beauty required. But fashionably pretty girls possessed of large dowries and small imaginations might easily fall prey to all manner of deception.

It was no trouble for her to guard Frederica’s interests. After all, this would be Caroline’s third Season. She was clearly on the shelf and not likely to be plucked down from it. Not since she’d turned down half a dozen proposals and avoided a few more by tactfully discouraging her admirers.

Which upset her parents no end, but suited her just fine. The sooner they realized she was unmarriageable, the sooner she’d be on her way to being her own mistress. Once she reached the magical age of twenty-one, she’d have access to the minor fortune bequeathed to her by her grandmother. Alas! She lacked another year before she attained this great age.

Caroline only needed to remain unmarried until then to retain control of the means to her freedom.

Then Zanzibar, here I come!

~~~

Hope you enjoyed this little snippet from Book 1 in The House of Lovell series. Sign up to receive my newsletter if you’d like to be notified when the book is available!

 

Have you ever had a dream that ran contrary to what was expected of you?