Author: Maggie Robinson
Series: Book #3 in the Courtesan Court series
Release Date: 30 August 2011
Number of pages: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington Brava
Source: eARC provided by author
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Book Depository
Grade: 3.5 stars
Too late for cold feet. . .
Baron Edward Christie prided himself on his reputation for even temperament and reserve. That was before he met Caroline Parker. Wedding a scandalous beauty by special license days after they met did not inspire respect for his sangfroid. Moving her to a notorious lovebirds' nest as punishment for her flighty nature was perhaps also a blow. And of course talk has gotten out of his irresistible clandestine visits. Christie must put his wife aside—if only he can get her out of his blood first.
Too hot to refuse. . .
Caroline Parker was prepared to hear the worst: that her husband had determined to divorce her, spare them both the torture of passion they can neither tame nor escape. But his plan is wickeder than any she's ever heard. Life as his wife is suffocating. But she cannot resist becoming her own husband's mistress. . .
This review was originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.
My Thoughts: I discovered Maggie Robinson's Courtesan Court series by chance when the first book in the series (Mistress by Mistake) was a Kindle freebie on Amazon. As I love historicals and the cover looked great and the blurb sounded unique I jumped right in and read it, and let me tell you, you don't come across nice surprises like that often. I loved Mistress by Mistake to pieces, it is the kind of book that I'll re-read often as a comfort book. I just wanted to tell you this introduction so you can see I went to read book #3 in the series, Mistress by Marriage with a lot of expectations.
Could one have an affair with one’s husband? Apparently so.
Mistress by Marriage is a very unique romance novel as it features a married couple as its hero and heroine: Edward, Baron Christie and his wife Caroline have been married for 6 years and have been living apart for 5 of those. These two are like fire and ice, cat and dog, always quarreling but when they jump at each other, they jump each other. Their chemistry is inflammable and usually most of their quarrels either end by fighting sex (make no mistake, it is definitely not make up sex) or door slamming.
Caroline had never fit easily into his routine. Edward had felt smothered by her affectionate attention, appalled by her artless conversation, her endless schemes, her temper. She had no place in his carefully-constructed Christie world. Except in bed.
Edward Christie is all that is proper and serious. He has been taught to behave with dignity and he wears his name and family legacy as one of the things most determining his character.
While Caroline is his complete opposite: starting with her fiery red curls, her loud mouth and explosive temper. Caroline's life has been as far away from respectable and proper as it can be: she grew up in a vice and pleasure house (her brother was running it), and she is no blushing virginal heroine. Caroline is a vibrant woman, her looks, her words her whole being screams to be noticed.
"You’re light and fire, Caroline, meant for love. For life. For laughter."
Her voice was low, all honey and sex. One could come to crisis simply listening to her read newspaper advertisements in The London List. Wanted, one man to muck out stalls. Serious inquiries only. Semen would be everywhere.
What I absolutely did not expect from Mistress by Marriage was the amount of humour and witty banter Maggie Robinson infused in the story.
"If I’m so cold, why do you love me, Caroline?" he asked quietly.
"I don’t know!" she cried. "It’s terribly inconvenient. I shall stop at once."
Caroline's sarcastic, acerbic thoughts about her husband made me chuckle out loud several times.
She’d be in a haze for the foreseeable future. But perhaps Edward would be similarly afflicted. She could only hope he’d be so befuddled from lust and lack of sleep that he’d walk in front of a dray cart and be crushed.
Despite Caroline's humour she was a character I couldn't warm to. She was too loud for me, I get that she is passionate and not a cold fish, but throwing hissyfits all the time like a spoiled brat, throwing vases around (even when she is at other people's home!) screams time for anger management to me, and I couldn't agree more with Edward when he said:
The curbing of your temper is, of course, the most critical. I cannot have you destroying property and screaming like a banshee every time you do not get your way.
The path of these two characters doesn't run easy, but after all the heartache, drama and fights I loved how Edward finally let himself confront his feelings instead of burying them and realized that deep under all the lust and attraction he truly did love Caroline. That he, the most proper English nobleman meticulously planned the kidnapping of his wife, down to the last small detail, it showed how important she, and their relationship was to him. It was incredibly endearing. :-))
"I didn’t have the same feelings toward Alice as I have for you. There. It feels good to say it. I mean no disrespect towards Alice---she will always be a part of me. She was my youth, as Andrew was yours. She gave me my children and was a wonderful wife and mother, but she wasn’t Caroline Parker. I can’t live without you, Caro. I don’t want to. I’ve tried, and it hasn’t worked."
I also enjoyed the small references to events and characters of the previous novels, it was a nice way to link the different novels of the series together.
Verdict: If you are looking for a seriously HOT historical romance series, search no more, you've found it! Even though Mistress by Marriage wasn't my favourite of the Courtesan Court series, I urge you to discover this series, it's like a historical erotica series, it doesn't come any hotter than this!
Cover: 8/10 - love the golden tones, it is my favourite cover of the series.