Temptation Has Green Eyes by Lynne Connolly
Overview by Amazon:
She holds the key to more than a fortune…
There’s more to love than meets the eye…
The daughter of a wealthy merchant, Sophia Russell has no interest in marriage, especially after a recent humiliation—and especially not to Maximilian, Marquess of Devereaux. But it’s the only way to save herself from fortune hunters—and those who wish to seize a powerful connection she prefers to keep secret—even from her future husband…
Marrying Sophia is the only way Max can regain the wealth his father squandered on an extravagant country palace. And while Max and his bride are civil, theirs is clearly a marriage of convenience—until a family enemy takes a questionable interest in Sophia—one that may lead all the way to the throne. Forced to become allies in a battle they hadn’t foreseen, the newlyweds soon grow closer—and discover a love, and a passion, they never expected…
I recently read one of Lynne Connolly’s books, Mad for Love, which was a great book, so I was excited to get this ARC from Netgalley. It wasn’t part of the Gods Series, but a book set in Georgian times. Quickly I realized that I have read very, very little about this era in time. Connolly made references to places, events and fashion that I was woefully ignorant of. I must admit the vast majority of books I read are set in the Regency or Victorian eras.
I discovered that there was a whole world that I didn’t know about from this book. There is the ‘City’ and the ‘country’. The City refers to the commerce centre of London. It is a totally different realm from the aristocracy and their palaces in the Mayfair and the country. Men do commerce here, usually in coffee houses. This is not the demi-monde; it is a society that rarely crosses paths with members of the ton.
That is how we meet Max. He is a Marquess and does business in the City to restore the family finances. He has been meeting with Russell to make a deal that would make him extremely wealthy. I really liked learning about the types of business the men undertook. It was usually in cargo and insurance for ships. I found this fascinating. I tried to research more about the topic, but I didn’t find anything through my cursory Google searches.
The plot revolves around Sophia and Max’s hasty marriage. He will become Russell’s heir and Sophia will be safe from fortune hunters after an unfortunate attack. There is daring adventure, misunderstandings and passion, but the story really centres around the relationship between the two.
I found Sophia to be a well-developed and enjoyable character. She has strong reservations about being married off to a Marquess, but her father gives her very little choice. She has a strong and agile mind and was involved in most of her father’s business. She brings that skill set to the marriage, which was great to see a feminist character set in the Georgian era. I felt so sad for her as she seemed lost in her marriage and her place in society for a healthy chunk of the book. It must have been so scary for her to leave one world and enter another where the rules seem arbitrary or silly. Sophia has been victimized by a trusted aide of her father’s and she carries this terror into her new married life. I was so angry for her that Max couldn’t see how terrified she was and didn’t make an effort to help her. Sophia has such strength and character,
Max was truly lucky to find himself with Sophia as his life partner.
I was angry with Max for his lack of perceptiveness and attention to Sophia at the start of their marriage. He does realize the error of his ways. He is pleased with Sophia as his wife, but keeps himself closed off from her. I think it was really because he didn’t know how to be a husband. When his cousin Julius points out the ways he is letting Sophia down, I respected the fact that he took steps to correct his behaviour. Like most men in historical romance novels, he could be highhanded and rigid about her safety, but in this case it truly came from a desire to keep her protected.
The mysterious elements to the story made the relationship more solid. Max’s family has warred with the Dankworth’s for decades. The Dankworths are loyal to the Stuart line for the throne and will do anything to see that lineage back. They cause trouble and manipulate events to suit their purposes. There was a huge surprise at the end of the book that had me shocked. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but I couldn’t have seen this plot point coming – which I adore! It’s so great to be surprised and delighted with the twists and turn of a story.
The sexual relationship between Max and Sophia had me worried. The first time was not a resounding success – I actually thought if this was how the rest of the scenes were I would just skip over them. Fortunately Max realized what a beast he had been and then set out to seduce his wife – repeatedly and with much success. Once they became lovers, it was so steamy. They have sex for days on end. Every position, every kiss, every stroke was electric on the page. Once the flood gates opened for them, they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. This intimacy was central to their relationship developing into a partnership and a love match.
I really enjoyed learning about a new era that I hadn’t explored very much. The author was very descriptive with the clothing and style that men and women wore at this time. I found some images that fit with the detailed descriptions the author provided. It sounded painful to be trussed up like women were and I still don’t get why men wore powdered wigs, but they would probably find our clothing outrageous!
Part of the plot involves Max’s family estate, the Palace. His father nearly bankrupted the Marquisate building this enormous palace. Max has felt the burden of finishing the job for his whole life. I loved reading about the architecture and decorating – it sounded gaudy and elegant at the same time.
I enjoyed the experience of learning new things from this book. I found it refreshing to be out of my element when reading a historical romance novel – I plan to read more about this era and learn as much as I can! I hope there will be more with some of the secondary characters, especially Julius!