Thursday, March 25, 2010


Publisher: Berkeley Sensation
Date published: April 2010
ISBN: 978-0-425-23508-9
Historical Romance
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained from Publisher

Jordan Winthrop, future Earl of Sunderland arrives at Barnes Manor to meet his bride along with two of his closest confidants, one Mrs. Bainbridge and Mr. Paxton Adair. He hasn't come courting Miss Felicity Barnes out of any sense of love and devotion. Oh no. You see Jordan Winthrop is a scoundrel and a rake and a gambler and among the worst rogues around. Cut off from his inheritance, penniless, he needs to marry a woman of means. No easy feat given his reputation, for philandering, but there is always a young woman with her sights set on a man with a title.

Felicity Barnes has spent her entire life dreaming of her perfect wedding. She has imagined it from the moment her love drops on bended knee and asks her to be his bride to the most spectacular wedding ever. Spoiled and petted by her social climbing mother she firmly believes the world is all about her. Together with her over blown mother and less than charming sister, they make Mary's life a living hell. After all, what else would you do to your older step-sister when no one is there to protect her?

When fate brings Jordan to Felicity's door -- well actually when Mrs. Bainbridge brings him to Barnes Manor, he is prepared to go forward with a marriage to Felicity for the sole reason he needs her money. Things move along quite nicely until Jordan spies Mary. Despite her lack of fancy clothes her sweet innocence touches something inside Jordan he thought no longer existed for him. Against his own best judgment he begins to pursue Mary while continuing his courtship of her egotistical sister. Despite knowing nothing good can come of his pursuit, Jordan relentlessly seeks out Mary. When their budding romance is discovered it bodes ill for the couple.

Cheryl Holt's PROMISE OF PLEASURE does much more than promise a pleasurable read -- it delivers. I'd been looking for a historical romance to lose myself in and in PROMISE OF PLEASURE I found it. Sometimes you just need to leave the modern day cares and concerns and travel back to another time where things were just so, rules clearly defined and engaging heroes unravel them. Ms. Holt delivers that need to escape and entertains so well.

The characters are well drawn and credible. While the "Cinderella" story has been told and retold, Ms. Holt offers up a slightly different twist in that Jordan isn't exactly prince charming material. She throws another curve in the story with a secondary romance that is interwoven with the first. The second couple doesn't start out as very nice or likeable, but with a carefully crafted story Ms. Holt brings you into their relationship and before long you find yourself rooting for them.

Added to the mix are Mr. DuBois and his sister. DuBois also starts out as a less than savory character yet along the way Mary brings him around. There were a few moments where I rooted for DuBois to be the one to get the girl.

The ending left me a little bemused. I wanted Mary to walk away with it all. Instead the possibilities are dangled before the reader, letting you, in a way, write your own ending to the story. There is a happily every after, but the reader has the chance to imagine a few other tidbits that flesh out the tale.

If you are looking for a great springtime read, look no further than the PROMISE OF PLEASURE.


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