Title: “Miranda’s Dilemma (Fashionably Impure Book 1)”
Author: Natasha Blackthorne
Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian/Erotica
Release Date: November 27, 2015
Emotions Run High!
Generally, by chapter two of a book, I have some idea of what character or characters I’m behind. Not this time. Not only did I not like ANYONE, I was hoping this read would have a George R.R. Martin ending and everyone died. The constant battle of wills, polite personal slights, and put downs from both sides was exhausting. But, I’ve read this author before, and each and every word is applied in layers for a reason. So I persevered.
Chinks in steely personages began to appear. Internal thoughts became more honest, and while the words might never pass through a character’s lips, they at least were honest with themselves.
My heart broke as Miranda’s life is revealed. Her life was not her own. Women were already second class citizens, and as a courtesan, she wasn’t even considered a ‘lady’. It wasn’t hard to understand her attitude and choices. I didn’t always agree with her actions, but I understood. To be so young, yet responsible for so much, AND dependent on the whims of men…was indeed a dilemma. Now without a ‘protector’, Miranda must once again ‘shop around’ among the eligible men to find the best offer.
From the beginning, it’s obvious Adrian is struggling with inner turmoil…he just has no idea how to handle it. Living in the constant shadow…and ruin of his father weighs heavily on Adrian. I felt he was always trying to be the man people expected him to be, trying to cast a bigger shadow than the one his father – a man of poor judgements and frivolous pursuits – left him in. Never truly saw him as happy or joyful until he was around his sons.
The tension between Adrian and Miranda is actually two-fold. Each blames the other for their actions – or inactions – in the untimely death of the Duke of Carrville, Miranda’s former protector, and Adrian’s father-in-law. They’re also fiercely attracted to each other, and disgusted by that fact. She thinks he’s much too arrogant, and he believes her a manipulative schemer. Opinions begin to change though, after a gathering held at Adrian’s estate. Miranda is in need of medical attention, and not only does Adrian makes sure she gets it, he doesn’t leave her side. The battle of wills…and emotions truly begins.
This read really had me in knots. The constant need to hide emotions and not appear weak was exhausting, and time-consuming for them both. I do wonder how long they would have continued their sparring had not Miranda’s Aunt Cassandra betrayed her. Miranda is truly desperate now thanks to the vile actions of…her own father. Just when I believed this author couldn’t write a more repulsive character than ‘Meeker’ from ‘The Delicate Matter of Lady Blayne’, along comes the Duke of Winterton to win the prize. He goes to ridiculous lengths to make Miranda – his illegitimate daughter – suffer because of his hatred for her and her mother, and because of an incident that was purely HIS fault. In order to provide for her mother, Miranda must now seriously consider mistress offers made to her, or end up in the streets. While he has a title, Adrian has very little wealth, and cannot help her. Or can he?
Miranda’s dilemma begins in earnest with her love for one man, her fear and hatred for another, and her need to provide for her mother…all while the judgmental and cutting eyes of the English elite watch.
A well-developed plot and complex characters make this read hard to put down. I was cheering Adrian and Miranda on by the end of the book. Mind you…they had not changed from the people I disliked at the beginning of the story, but they had learned to accept each other for who they were, and open their hearts. Definitely looking forward to book 2…and you will too!