Sunday, November 6, 2011

Because of You by Cathy Maxwell

Because of You. Cathy Maxwell. Avon Romance Publishers. October 2011. 384 pp. ISBN #: 9780380797103.

"It's not right to hold onto the past once it is done and over." These are words that Yale Carderock thinks and feels on a daily basis. Being a rake is often depicted as fun, adventurous, and far above the mundane thoughts and actions of the majority of people. Yale would have agreed years ago when he was in the throes of his own hedonistic lifestyle, but he's paid dearly for those years, not so much in money as in wrecked relationships. First, he's come back to find his father, with whom he'd hoped to have a stormy but ultimately successful reconciliation, is dead. Second, his reputation is so besmirched that it seems almost hopeless for him to resume living in that village within Northumberland, England in 1806. But he's in for some unanticipated challenges, the chief one being a very spunky female.

Samantha Northrup is living alone and on the verge of being evicted from the vicarage home where she's lived her entire life, the home where her father the Vicar earned the respect and reverence of his parish, that is until he died and they had grander ideas for new residents. It's not easy being treated like an old shoe and Samantha doesn't know what to do next. How shocked she is when an unknown man appears and insists on her giving him the keys to the secret Ayleborough vault.

After their initially charged conversation and reaction to each other, Marvin Browne as he calls himself becomes deathly ill and Samantha will be the one who fights for his life and nurses him back to health. From there on the plot spins wildly with the neighbors forcing the two to marry because "Marvin" has been naked in front of Samantha, then remarried because she was first married to a man with a stolen name. If one doesn't read this as an obvious tongue-in-cheek satire, one would fail to appreciate this as being downright silly.

Not wanting to provide a spoiler, suffice to say that now the larger conflict follows with Yale's brother, the Duke, wanting Yale to assume his rightful place in the family and village and then a devastating loss to his personal business. Through it all, the passion between Yale and Samantha increases, with each vowing no attachment to the other person. It's a rather futile goal in the face of the steamy sex and connection that's being solidly forged in more ways than one.

Romance fiction lovers will love this novel which adds interesting local and foreign elements to an exciting and endearing story of seduction out of conformity in so many ways.

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