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 parents, 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 fiancée 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.
1900's England was known for it's debauchery and Lord Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville was doing whatever he could to add to that description. He frequented brothels and gambling establishments, much to the chagrin of his grandmother who raised him and his siblings after the death of their parents. When his grandmother comes up with an ingenious plan that will see all five Sharpe siblings married before the year is out, Oliver is livid, but not without a plan of his own. Initially he decides to choose a woman from a brothel and bring her home, but he stumbles upon Maria Butterfield who finds herself in a predicament that will probably end her up in jail. When Oliver offers her a deal she can't refuse, he gets much more than he bargains for.
I really enjoyed the first book in the new Hellions of Halstead Hall series. Sabrina Jefferies has a way of creating a scene that allows the reader to visualize even the emotions that might be crossing the faces of her characters. Her sensual love scenes and witty dialog give The Truth About Lord Stoneville a subtle, yet poignant sort of atmosphere. Jefferies' character development was excellent. Not only do we get to know more about Oliver Sharpe, but his wayward siblings as well as they try to figure out how to use Oliver's situation to their own advantages.
Lord Oliver Sharpe is such a great character. Jefferies has used him as a supporting character in another one of novels and got such good response to him she decided to tell his story. I'm certainly glad she did. Oliver is the epitome of a rakehell. Gambling, visiting the brothels, the whole nine yards. But, underneath all that the reader easily can see that he is punishing himself. He has some serious issues but one thing is for sure, he does not want to be ordered around by his grandmother. He longs for something that he feels he will never be able to obtain, real love. Maria Butterfield may be just the girl to change his mind.
Maria Butterfield is on a mission to find her fiancée who is missing. When she gets herself into a tight spot she is resourceful enough to realize that Oliver is offering her the only foreseeable way out. She has a great determination about her and her curiosity and innocence draw Oliver like a moth to the flame. She offers him the possibility of happiness which is something he didn't even know he longed for. Her vulnerability is also a very winning characteristic. She is able to let down her guard with Oliver, which makes for some very sensual scenes.
This is great beginning to a new series. Look for my review of the second book in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series, A Hellion in Her Bed coming in October.
The Truth About Lord Stoneville is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
Here is a look at the book trailer.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag and look forward to the second book in this wonderful new series.
Here is some additional information about Sabrina Jefferies.
By the time Sabrina Jeffries was eighteen, she'd eaten chicken heads and jellyfish, been chased by a baby elephant, seen countless cobras and pythons, had the entire series of rabies shots, and visited rain forests and rubber plantations. But that wasn't enough excitement for her; to escape her mundane life as a missionary's daughter, she read romance novels.