What they say (book info): Mirabella can hardly remember the man she married as a girl. And it’s just as well. She feels nothing but contempt for the man who wed her for her fortune and promptly forgot she existed. The ton may call him “The Saint” but Bella knows better.
Forced to marry as a teen to rescue his family from certain ruin, Sebastian has been apart from his child bride since their wedding day. When he encounters an enchanting impish beauty at the opera, he’s is thrilled to find she is none other than his long-ago bride and he is more than ready to make her his wife in truth.
Too bad the beguiling beauty has no intention of coming meekly to the marriage bed.
- ebook format - Expected publication: September 9th 2013 by Entangled Publishing.
I received an ARC of Tempting Bella in exchange for an honest review.
What I say (review): Tempting Bella is the second instalment in Diana Quincy's historical fiction series. You can read my review of book #1 Seducing Charlotte here. Tempting Bella focuses on Sebastian Stanhop, who is the younger brother of Arthur 'Cam' Stanhop from book #1, and Lady Mirabella Wentworth (a future Duchess in her own right).
Bella and Sebastian were forced to may years ago by their fathers and haven't seen each other since. Bella thinks Sebastian is a fortune hunter and resents the potential power he has over her life and the Duchy. Sebastian did his duty and married a young girl and has been happy to leave her to her own devices, until her father the Duke of Traherne, decides she needs to return home and produce an heir.
As you can probably tell from the blurb, the two meet and are unaware of who the other is. This results in some hilarious situations (the library scene comes to mind). As with Seducing Charlotte, Diana Quincy does a great job of incorporating romance into historical fiction. Although it's set in a fictionalised version of the past, sometimes the story especially Bella's ranting seemed very modern. It still remained historically accurate in that even something as simple as holding a man's hand or being left alone with an unrelated male was considered highly scandalous. Bella is aware of potential scandal, yet she spends a lot of time alone with her friend Orford.
I was expecting Sebastian to be very similar to Cam, but thankfully he's an entirely different character, bringing his own unique POV to the book. I liked Bella because she wasn't meek, nor was she bratty. Bella's main aim is to look after her inheritance and secure the Duchy for her future sons.
The premise reminded me a bit of Connie Mason's A Taste of Sin (but Tempting Bella is much better). A good fun, historical story, which is easy to read and will have you wanting to travel back to the times of the ton and courting.
4 Stars in my Sky!
My fav non-spoilery quotes:
- "I'm sure my looks are secondary. They all want to gawk at Sebastian Stanhop's mystery wife."
- "I agree to absolve you of all guilt - for marrying me as a child and deserting me as a wife." Mischief glittered in her sun-shot almond eyes. "But mostly for denying me the extraordinary pleasures of the marriage bed for far too long."
- "Yes, wedded but not bedded." He ran an appreciative gaze over her petite, curvy frame. "Which I cannot begin to understand." "I comprehend perfectly," she said tartly. "There's no gold hidden on my person."