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The Truth About Lord Stoneville - Hellions of Halstead Hall, Bk 1 Author:Sabrina Jeffries HELLIONS OF HALSTEAD HALL:They're the scandalous Sharpes, five hell-raising siblings tainted by a shocking family legacy. Now each faces a daunting ultimatum: marry by year's end -- or kiss their inheritance good-bye — In the two decades since a tragic "accident" took the lives of his par... more »ents, Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville, has survived the scandal surrounding that fateful night by living as an unrepentant rakehell. And with his grandmother vowing to disinherit him if he doesn't settle down and wed, he plans to fulfill the bargain in true Sharpe style -- by bringing home a fake fiance from a brothel! But his scheme is derailed when he rescues an American beauty in a dire predicament instead. Maria Butterfield came to London to track down her groom-to-be, who's gone missing, but her engagement won't stop Oliver from getting what he wants: her, in his bed. His rebellious masquerade may call his grandmother's bluff , but it's soon made all too real -- by a love that tempts him to be a hellion no more.« less
Evelyn D. (EKD) reviewed The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, Bk 1) on
10 member(s) found this review helpful.
5 stars - I loved it! I've read all of Sabrina Jeffries books and this is one of my new favorites. Once I started reading it I could not put it down.
1st Book in the Hellions of Hallstead Hall series - Their parents died when Stoneville was only 16 and he and his siblings have been running amuck for years. Their Grandmother is in trade and has kept the family plump in the pockets but no more, she has had enough of their scandalous behavior and it is time to straighten up and get married so she can have great-grand children. They have 1 year for all 5 of them to marry or be disinherited. Stoneville thinks it's time to really shock her by his choice in bride and make her give up this quest since he has no intent to ever marry but as we all knowâ€¦love wins in the end.
I found this book to be fun and entertaining the whole way through. I could really feel these characters come to life on the page and am looking forward to the rest of the series.
American Maria Butterfield is in London with her cousin Freddy to try and track down her fiance, Nathan. Her father has recently died and although she's tried to get in touch with Nathan to let him know, she hasn't heard from him. Due to a sequence of very odd events involving a brothel and Maria holding a sword to Oliver's (Lord Stoneville) throat, they wind up making a bargain: he won't have Maria and Freddy brought up on theft charges and will hire someone to track down Nathan, while she will pretend to be his fiancee.
Lord Stoneville's grandmother has decided that her five grandchildren are taking far too long to get married and give her the great-grandchildren she so wants, so she is taking matters into her own hands: they all must marry within the year, or they will be completely financially cut off forever. None of the siblings are happy about the ultimatum and Oliver hatches a plan to call her bluff and try and present an unsuitable woman as his bride-to-be. When Maria hands him the perfect bargaining chip, he decides she is as good as any other to help him throw his grandmother's plans in disarray.
I'm not even going to split my comments into "Pros" and "Cons," because frankly I don't know what I would put under the first section. I loved Lord Stoneville in "The School for Heiresses" series and was one of the many who thought --- and hoped --- that he was the mysterious benefactor "Cousin Michael" that would be revealed in WED HIM BEFORE YOU BED HIM, the final book of that series. I was very happy with who it ended up being and how that book turned out, and all the more excited by the idea that Stoneville's story still lay ahead!
I'm sorry to have to say it, but I was very disappointed by this book. I rushed out to get it before work this morning and was anticipating getting home this evening, snuggling up, and enjoying a great new read. I *never* start a book without finishing --- I'm just unable to do it --- but here I skimmed through about the second half of the book and will be posting it on Paperback Swap after I finish writing this review.
What didn't I like exactly?
1) THE CHARACTERS --- They were not at all three-dimensional and if you're a longtime historical romance reader, many of them feel very, very familiar. You have Freddy, the clumsy can't-hold-his-tongue completely clueless side character; Maria, the innocent, pure, spitfire of a heroine who somehow instantly sees through the hero's devil-may-care facade to the lost-boy who feels guilty and only wants love; and the tortured hero who has been sleeping his way through society until he meets the woman who immediately changes his views on everything and makes him realize the burden he carries is not his fault.
2) STONEVILLE'S WICKED WAYS --- For those of us who read "The School for Heiresses" series, we're very familiar with (and dare I say fond of) Stoneville's bad-boy ways. Here, we hardly see any of that --- we're *told* repeatedly what a rake and charmer he is, and everyone harps on this fact, but after meeting Maria (in the first few pages) he so quickly begins to experience the I-feel-about-a-woman-the-way-I-never-have-before phenomena that the remarkable change he is supposedly undergoing is not very remarkable at all. If you've never been introduced to his character before, you'll be left floundering, and if you have . . . well WED HIM BEFORE YOU BED HIM came out 6 months ago and maybe it's just me, but I've read so many other romances since then that his wicked ways are not all that fresh in my mind.
3) THE ROMANCE --- I did not find this romance at all believable because everything happens *SO* quickly! It's almost impossible (IMHO) to have a book span 1-2 weeks of time and contain a credible romance, however when it does work it's only because the characters have known each other for a lengthy time before the book starts, so although the reader is meeting them for the first time they already have a history together, whatever that history may be.
Also, echoing what I wrote in another review for an equally disappointing book (Suzanne Enoch's THE CARE AND TAMING OF A ROGUE): We're never really shown why he is THE ONE for her and she is THE ONE for him. I didn't understand why Maria is the first one to be able to see past Stoneville's defenses; we're told on two different occasions that he's surprised when she remarks on things that even his closest friends haven't noticed --- I'm sorry, is she psychic or is everyone else just absolutely clueless? I think even Dr. Phil could have picked up on some of those clues and made those insights into Oliver's personality. Likewise, I'm not sure why Oliver is all of a sudden drawn to this one young woman when for the past two decades he's viewed the female sex as valuable for pretty much only one thing --- and even that is done without any attachment, as he only has bed partners and no short- or long-term mistresses. What's so special about *her* in particular?
4) THE ROMANTIC ACTION - Another romance-related problem I had was one I've had with a few other of Jeffries' books, the main one that comes to mind being NEVER SEDUCE A SCOUNDREL. After literally only 24 hours of knowing one another, Maria and Oliver are getting hot and heavy in his carriage on the ride between the investigator's office and the dress shop --- they practically do everything but have sex. Going that fast is not usually something I like when reading contemporary romances, so in historicals forget it! We're supposed to be watching them fall in love, but all I really saw was a strong case for lust, which is great but definitely not why I buy romance books.
"THE HELLIONS OF HALSTEAD HALL" SERIES:
I enjoyed the family's interactions and am hoping that the other siblings' books will be better. I'm particularly looking forward to Minerva and Celia's stories, as I think they'll be strong and unusual heroines and I'm hoping that one of them will have Jackson Pinter (the investigator) as their hero. I really liked him in WED HIM BEFORE YOU BED HIM and was happy to see him again here. He seems like he would be a very interesting and definitely not run-of-the-mill hero.
Though it pains me to say this because I'm a Sabrina Jeffries fan, skip this book and read one (or more) of the following instead:
~ By Sabrina Jeffries: WED HIM BEFORE YOU BED HIM, THE PIRATE LORD, or IN THE PRINCE'S BED
~ Fake engagements: Mary Balogh's A SUMMER TO REMEMBER, SLIGHTLY SINFUL, or AT LAST COMES LOVE; Amanda Quick's THE PAID COMPANION
~ Where the bad-boy-turned-good is done right: Suzanne Enoch's LONDON'S PERFECT SCOUNDREL, ALWAYS A SCOUNDREL, THE RAKE, or TAMING RAFE; Gaelen Foley's LORD OF FIRE; Mary Jo Putney's THE RAKE or THUNDER AND ROSES; Lisa Kleypas' WORTH ANY PRICE
England Early 1800s
THIS WAS FABULOUS! My only regret is that I have to wait for her to write the remainder of the series. I am extremely glad that I didn't wait for this on-line but went and purchased it myself.
The first in a series of siblings led by a grandmother in the attempt to bring respectability to a scandalous family. The chemistry was great. the story-loine fantastic. The other characters (the other siblings) were great and I can't say enough good about this book. Just go read it already!:)
Tonya B. (sasfras72) reviewed The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, Bk 1) on
This was my first read by this author. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I would rate this one as better than average. I found the hero to be just the sort that I like. Dark, tortured, but beautiful in his soul. He didn't think he deserved anything good in his life. And then of course, the right woman came along and showed him he was so much more. I liked the family and look forward to their stories as well. The love scenes were slightly steamy and strategically placed so that they added to the story.
"They are the scandalous Sharpes, five hell-raising siblings tainted by a shocking family legacy. Now each faces a daunting ultimatum: marry by year's end or kiss their inheritance good-bye"
Sabrina Jeffries is a new author to me. I already read "How To Woo a Reluctant Lady" and found out that it was third in the Hellions of Halstead series. So I immediately hunted down the other two. A Very Good read! compelling characters, one and all. H/H was a good mix of passion and romance. Hero was portrayed as a rake but was a lovable rake. Female character was strong yet properly innocent. Excellent! Overall, 4 stars, can't wait to read the next ones!