Reviewer: Marlene Breakfield
Title: The Truth About Lord Stoneville - 1st in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: February 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Historical Romance
Year/Setting: 1806 & 1825 England
Overall Rating: 5.0
Sexual Content Rating: Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: None
Sabrina's Website: www.sabrinajeffries.com
Oliver Sharp, the Marquess of Stoneville, and his four siblings have no wish to marry, but their grandmother, Hetty Plumtree, issues a decree that she will disinherit them all if they aren't all married in a year. Since Hetty has most of the money and owns a brewery, she, basically, controls the purse-strings. Oliver comes up with a plan to find a pretend fiancée, who will be unacceptable to his grandmother, so she will change her mind about her ultimatum. Oliver goes to a brothel planning to hire a whore as his pretend fiancee. While there, Oliver meets Maria Butterfield, an American, who has come to England searching for her fiancé. Maria and her cousin, Freddy, have followed a man, who was carrying her fiancée’s bag, into the brothel. When Freddy gets into trouble for taking the bag, Oliver helps them get out of being charged but wants Maria to pretend to be his fiancée in return for his aid.
The Truth About Lord Stoneville is a very entertaining historical romance with a wonderful, tormented hero, who finds his salvation in love. After his parents are killed in what looks like a murder/suicide, Oliver blames himself because of the argument he had with his mother before she went in search of his father. Maria is just what Oliver needs, because she is strong, independent, and thinks for herself-- she sees Oliver's true self, which he hides behind a rakish facade. At first, Maria believes the gossip but soon sees the real, hurting, Oliver, who thinks himself incapable of being loved. While many of the scenes deal with heavy subjects, Ms. Jeffries manages to flawlessly weave in humor to lighten the mood and strike a perfect balance between light and dark. This reader grew to care for Oliver and Maria and to greatly anticipate the upcoming books about Oliver's siblings, who were all adversely affected by their parents' deaths and the subsequent scandal.
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