Read Beguiling the Beauty by Sherry Thomas Online

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When the Duke of Lexington meets the mysterious Baroness von Seidlitz-Hardenberg on a transatlantic liner, he is fascinated. She’s exactly what he’s been searching for—a beautiful woman who interests and entices him. He falls hard and fast—and soon proposes marriage. And then she disappears without a trace…For in reality, the “baroness” is Venetia Easterbrook—a proper younWhen the Duke of Lexington meets the mysterious Baroness von Seidlitz-Hardenberg on a transatlantic liner, he is fascinated. She’s exactly what he’s been searching for—a beautiful woman who interests and entices him. He falls hard and fast—and soon proposes marriage. And then she disappears without a trace…For in reality, the “baroness” is Venetia Easterbrook—a proper young widow who had her own vengeful reasons for instigating an affair with the duke. But the plan has backfired. Venetia has fallen in love with the man she despised—and there’s no telling what might happen when she is finally unmasked…...

Title : Beguiling the Beauty
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780425246962
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 281 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Beguiling the Beauty Reviews

  • Kerrie
    2018-11-12 13:53

    (This review contains spoilers, and I don't care.)I don't know about my fellow buddy readers, but for me this Buddy Read was going to ask a Very Serious Scientific Question:Do Sherry Thomas books always blow chunks?Now, it wouldn't make sense to read the same book. This is scientific, you see. But as the Sherry Thomas Pain Train commenced, one truth became evident:Miserable characters living in a hell of their own making that they created with their eyes wide open.It's all about the wangsty emoz.Clunky infodumps straight out of the Encyclopedia Britannica:"Tetrapodichnite was the scientific term for the fossil footprint of a saurian. It would appear she was quite familiar with paleontological argot."Overwrought prose that treads the line of pedantic triteness:"And he would maintain his dignity and composure, even when his heart had been dragged through a forest of knives."This book sucked because (among many other reasons) the characters didn't make sense. Christian has loved Venetia from afar for 10 years (another ST trope - unrequited miserable love). He believes nasty gossip about her and uses her as an unnamed example across the pond at a lecture about the evolutionary role of beauty and how beauty can be nasty and heartless, and Venetia is conveniently present to hear. Does she take him aside later and simply say, "You're wrong and what you said was sooo gauche?" Why no, because that would be too easy!Since apparently the only thing she could have said to him was the truth and spill her guts to a total stranger which would be entirely out of the question, Venetia has a brilliant plan to disguise herself with a veil, sail on the same ship as Christian, seduce him, and then leave him and break his heart. What could possibly go wrong?Of course they fall in WUV, bond over their common love of dinosaur fossils, he even presents her with a 6 x 4 foot slab of above fossilized footprints, and there's some "witty" banter about masturbation, another common ST theme. Previously infertile Venetia conceives in a foreshadowing as subtle as aThen just as shit is supposed to be wrapping up, it... drags on. After pages and pages of dialogue on ship hashing over feelings, childhood twauma, dreams and aspirations, etc., suddenly they both develop that Stiff British Upper Lip and make their misery worse (did you doubt it?) by marrying each other when neither trusts the other and they know it will be Hell on Earth.And then the final scene! The two gossips responsible for spreading the nasty rumors about Venetia show up and declare that their 25-year reputation as responsible gossips (LOLWHUT?) is on the line because what they spread turned out not to be true. (It's too confusing to explain because it makes no fucking sense.) In this ridiculous and improbable scene, Christian and Venetia finally come together and it's allSo on top of the total improbability and boring overwrought writing (there's a paradox!) the constant vignettes of the secondary characters (of Books 2 and 3) were beyond obnoxious. The "action" (and I use that term in the loosest sense possible) kept stopping in order to get a glimpse of Millie and Fitz's WEIRD no-sex-for-8-years marriage agreement and Helena and Hastings' hate relationship that you know is going to be totally hawt in Book 3.I'm giving this a 1. It doesn't deserve negative infinity stars - there was no sleep rape or repetitive passages about lit flares, for instance. But just the lameass plot, the nonsensical characters and their actions simply for the purpose of wangst, and the WTFery of the final scene with the gossips definitely merit it 1 star. (Ok, 0.75 stars, but I'm feeling generous today.) I was also unaware that there was an excerpt for Ravishing the Heiress at the end of my ebook so I was always further along than I thought I was. Go me! Sorry, Karla - I think you got the shaft big time this go-round.

  • Jill
    2018-10-19 13:56

    Her beauty was staggering, excessive, as if she were not quite flesh and blood, but an artist's conjuration, born of a bout of fevered ecstasy.Christian de Monfort, Duke of Lexington at nineteen was smitten. Venetia Fitzhugh Townsend, a married lady was simply the most beautiful woman Christian had ever seen. Two years later, Venetia's husband dies. She remarries a wealthy, older man, and it is rumoured she had an affair with one of her second husband's best friends. Christian now realised that the Great Beauty, was at heart shallow and greedy, encased in a beautiful, outer shell. But still, he remained a man obsessed.Ten years later, Christian, a man of science, trained in natural history is at Harvard University to deliver a lecture. Venetia, her sister and sister-in-law are in attendance, but during question time are shocked when Christian blames Venetia (without naming her) for her first husband's death and for callously allowing her second husband to die alone after flaunting her affair during their marriage. When the opportunity for revenge presents itself, Venetia takes it. Disguised as Baronesse von Seidlitz-Hardenberg, she boards the same ship home to England as Christian, determined to make the Duke of Lexington pay.Very few authors can make me forget my first rule-of-thumb when reading a romance. The romance. The romance in Sherry Thomas's historicals doesn't always work for me, yet invariably she wins me over. Most notably due to her unique and beautiful prose. Beguiling the Beauty runs true to form. The romance at times left me wanting. Yet, whilst on board ship Christian and Venetia's romance was lovely. Their passion heartfelt and honest. Some of the plot points are simply unbelievable, some predictable. As expected in a series there is quite a bit of time devoted to introducing characters who star in the upcoming books. The plot is couched in deception and misunderstandings, some of which are so slight a five minute conversation would clear the air. Christian's love-at-first-sight is based on nothing more than Venetia's outstanding beauty. He's a man as shallow as he believes she is. Implausibly, she keeps her identity secret on board ship by the use of a veil, or when they are alone, a blindfold for Christian. The irony is of course that he fell in love with a woman years ago because of her beautiful face. And now has fallen in love again despite never seeing her face. Venetia is so incredibly lovely that she makes men literally stare, stumble and obsess. Some of these themes are Harlequin-esque in their silliness. Yet, Ms Thomas manages to pass off these overused and tedious plot devices, making the situations convincingly realistic, the characters' stories compelling. This is one of her charms as a writer, being able to make me overlook these contrivances. Other writers haven't the skill.Sherry Thomas has once again in Beguiling the Beauty transcended what would be considered predictable and trivial in lesser novels through her prose, characterisations and detail, making you believe you're reading a novel of much greater substance than it actually is.Steam: 2.5

  • new_user
    2018-11-08 18:12

    Hrnghin, I'm incomprehensible, LOL. I loved Beguiling the Beauty. I don't even know what to say. Venetia Easterbrook remained disguised for just long enough, and Sherry Thomas' characters attacked compelling questions, primarily, appearances vs. reality. Genre novels engage this theme halfheartedly in Beauty & the Beast tributes. Will she love me despite my hairy toes? Thomas engages the implications relevant to modern audiences. Is Venetia judged at first glance as just a pretty face? Is she resented as a "seductress," an evil honeytrap for hapless men? Should Christian stop blaming her for his obsession? Yes. LOL. Her characters think about this.Venetia and Christian begin Beguiling the Beauty as antagonists who slowly fall in love. They share anecdotes, dreams, interests, histories, humor and sweet, significant moments before suffering a poignant separation, where we witness their daily angst. The resolution was satisfying, the tension was superb, especially their first encounters. Venetia's drawn to Christian despite herself, believably. Likewise, their connection. Realistic characters, fleshed out setting. Witty, fun banter. Fantastic prose, per her usual. What else is there to say? I did feel a little odd because Christian is so similar to me, except for the obsession, LOL. Right down to the frivolous father. How bizarre, how bizarre... Anyway, I can't wait for Millie's story in July! It'll be so sweet to see the married strangers become married for real. I always like those. Five stars!PS. I don't like Helena, LOL.

  • Katrina Passick Lumsden
    2018-11-11 19:07

    Sherry Thomas is an excellent writer, technically, and her prose can sometimes be beautiful (when it's not crossing the line into emo uselessness), but I'm not sure her work is really in line with what I enjoy in HR. She's capable of crafting interesting, sympathetic characters and keeping the reader hooked (I had an enormously difficult time putting this one down to get anything else done), but the payoff wasn't what I'd call satisfying. I liked the characters, for the most part, but Venetia was vain and silly, Christian was narrow-minded and cynical, and the abrupt, saccharine, Happily-Ever-After ending was not at all in keeping with the rest of the rather drawn-out, angst-riddled story. I expected an emotionally-fueled confession, some tears, some serious conversation and reflection... Not a declaration of love befitting a quirky, irritating and irrational romcom and some giggles. After spending hours in a tormented state, truly feeling the pain of both characters, the ending was an insult. It was like Thomas just got tired of writing and gave up. Had this book had an ending befitting its gravity, it would probably rank amongst my favorite historical romances... As it stands now, I kind of want to forget I read it.

  • Mei
    2018-10-27 15:20

    Since I read the 3rd book first, I already know how this one will end, but, ah, what a beautiful story this was!!!We get to discover everything Venetia went through in her two marriages! Poor girl... the first disastrous one to a pompous, egocentric idiot; the second one a gay.... Poor, poor girl...Christian, as all the other men, was mesmerized with Venetia's extraordinary beauty and he fancied himself in love with her. But he also resented her for the oull she had on him. So when her first husband depict her like a vapid and greedy woman, he accept his word without question.During a public lecture, he makes heavy accusation against beautiful women and make reference to her past marriage without making names, but those who knew the scandal that erupted when her first husband died will also know who's he was referring to... And Venetia, present at the lecture, sees her dirty laundy washed in front of everyone, reacts in a bad way...Thus begins her impulsive revenge... She presents herself like a german countess, always wearing a heavy veil... And Christian, intrigued, seeks a carnal relationship with an alluring mysterious woman...In this way their story begins: she succumbing to his appeal, he falling for an unknown.But soon, in the darkess of his cabin, under her heavy veil, with blindfolded eyes and murmured conversations after bousts of lovemaking, they discover thier true selves. A wounded, lonely woman; a lonley wounded man.... and they fall in love!But Venetia cannot unveil for obvious reasons and she runs away, while Christian cannot stop thinking about the mysterious countess...They both suffer: he because of the rejection and she because she must reject him when she deosn't want anything elso, but to fall in his arms!A beautifully written, unsual love story! I loved, loved it!

  • Dorothea
    2018-11-04 15:08

    First please indulge me as I spend a paragraph or two hating on the cover illustration. I have read SO MANY romance novels and know all about their silly covers but for some reason THIS one bothers me. Mostly, it's this horrible dress she's wearing. It looks so uncomfortable! The scratchy-looking lace on the neckline is digging into her breasts, but if she lowered her arm, the bodice would fall right off. Her posture may be physically possible (although who knows what she's doing with her right arm that's mostly out of the frame), but it evokes the attitude of someone who really, really has to pee. I'm not quite certain that people got French manicures in the 1890s, but if they did, wouldn't they get them on all of their fingers? And I've been sick of covers that cut off bits of people's heads (usually women's heads), but this one really gets to me. I think her mouth is supposed to look sultry, but what I see is someone gasping for breath because her ill-sewn bodice is cutting into her ribcage and THE COVER DESIGNER HAS REMOVED HER NOSE.The main character is supposed to be almost supernaturally beautiful; if the illustrator (Gregg Gulbronson; the designer's name is George Long) didn't feel up to that, couldn't he have just done a nice floral pattern instead? Frankly, what would really have attracted me (had I been buying this book based on the cover, rather than Sherry Thomas's name on the cover) would have been a picture of a dinosaur skeleton. That would definitely have been truer to the story than this uncomfortable lady who's lost her shoes and stockings.***Thanks, I feel better now.So, the story! You know, if someone had told me that the next Sherry Thomas book would involve two people who grow affectionate towards one another thanks to their shared love of paleontology, I would have been ecstatic.Then, if someone had told me that it was going to have one of those plots that I'm a bit sick of -- the kind where the hero tricks the heroine into falling in love with him because he actually hates her (or someone close to her) and he's just using her emotions to get revenge -- except with the gender roles swapped, I would have been cautiously intrigued.What I actually knew is the beginning of the back cover blurb: Duke blahdiblah meets mysterious Baroness soandso while traveling, hot passionate affair, then she disappears because she's secretly "a proper young widow," YAWN. Good job I already love Sherry Thomas's writing!Despite the dinosaurs, however, I did not love this book. Well, I loved the dinosaurs (look, in this story, the act of sending a massively heavy set of fossilized dinosaur footprints to the other person is highly fraught with emotional significance), and Thomas as always has her moments of very beautiful prose. But it's hard to really get into a romance if you dislike the people who are having the romance.It turns out that switching the gender roles doesn't really make me like revenge plots anymore. The basic idea is supposed to be that Vengeful falls in love with Object of Revenge and repents of faking being in love and using Object; when Object finds out about the revenge, Object feels anguish but finally forgives Vengeful and then they're happy together. The problem for me is that tricking someone to fall in love with you (whether or not there's sex) is a completely horrible thing to do. When the characters are happily excusing this action because of the circumstances that led to it, I'm wondering whether Vengeful, having been capable of this action regardless of the circumstances, can possibly be a trustworthy person.It didn't help that when we meet the heroine, she's traveling with her unmarried sister and her sister-in-law because the heroine and the sister-in-law have learned from another person that the unmarried sister is having an affair, and they've decided to trick the sister into traveling in order to distract her and break up the affair. Yes, I know it's 1896; no, that doesn't make this 21st-century reader any happier to read about women policing other women's sexuality, especially when there's so little trust among these supposedly close relatives that they never even talk to the sister about any of it. Then the heroine is massively distracted by the plot of this book, and never bothers even to think about what a hypocrite she's become by having her own secret affair.(It's pretty clear that the sister and the sister-in-law will get their own books; I'm afraid of what could happen in the sister's book, but the sister-in-law's, which will be published in July, looks like my cup of tea despite its terrible title -- Ravishing the Heiress -- ugh. By the way, in Beguiling the Beauty, the beauty does all of the beguiling herself. Anyway, I think that some of the annoyances in the last paragraph are the unfortunate byproducts of trying too hard to set up for Books 2 and 3 in the middle of Book 1.)So that's why I don't really like the heroine. Normally in a revenge story the Object of Revenge seems more sympathetic, but in this case -- while I don't think he deserved to be fucked under false pretenses*, of course -- I couldn't pity him at all because I disliked him even more than the heroine.Here is why: When the hero and heroine were about 18 or 19 years old, and the heroine was married to her emotionally abusive first husband, the hero caught a glimpse of the heroine across a playing field and "fell in love." No, I can't get rid of the scare quotes, even though he thinks his feelings are totally genuine. There is nothing wrong with being powerfully attracted to a beautiful someone whose character is a total mystery to you, but I want to take the idea that this can be Love, and that it can and should be important to the attracted person, and that this experience can and should be a life-changing event, and crumple it into a tiny ball and bite it and jump on it and then set it on fire. Okay?And guess what -- the hero then goes on to illustrate one of the very best reasons why I hate that idea so much. Because (having mooned after the mysterious beautiful lady for a long time without ever meeting or speaking to her or learning anything about her character, even the fact that she likes paleontology too) the very first information he gets about her character is told to him by her abusive husband, who is out to make his wife look bad even in the eyes of people who don't matter to him or her. The hero believes what he's told, and he's totally miserable! Because this woman whom he only loved for her face, and yet whom he regards as having transformed his life, is apparently shallow and greedy and heartless.When you nurse a pretty fantasy until it's gigantic and dominates your heart -- even when every single action and desire that caused this domination are yours -- it can turn so easily into a nightmare.Our hero, when he first sees the heroine, is surprised to learn that she's married. At first, he felt entitled to a chance at courting her, because he saw her and found her so beautiful. He still feels entitled, even when he knows he'll never "have" her, to fantasize about her -- to use her face like a mask over his own ideals. So when he can't do that anymore, he's angry -- at her. Even though she owes him nothing at all, even though she has no idea who he is, he still thinks of her as having the power to make him miserable. He doesn't stop obsessing about her; now he "loves" her and "hates" her too, and the scare quotes are there because she's still an imaginary woman to him. He doesn't know her at all.And then, to make matters even worse, he uses (this is really eyerollingly terrible) evolutionary psychology to make himself feel better. He likes to think about how the real purpose of beauty is only to promote reproduction, and it has nothing to do with character whatsoever. And then -- and this is where the plot really starts -- she attends a lecture in which he's asked to explain this theory further, and he repeats what her husband had told him. That's why she decides to get revenge.I wish she had simply left him alone to ferment in his own ego.You see, the part of the book when she's in disguise, and he falls in love with her without seeing her face -- this part of the book solves his problem, in the way best aligned with his fantasies. Unbiased by her face and all its imaginary associations, he learns her character, her history, her desires, and they are all exactly what he loves. Fate has given him his ideal, and she has that face.It's more complicated than that, of course. But at the heart, it's the happy fulfillment of a wish whose realistic consequences are bitter misogyny.* Somewhat ironically, apart from the revenge and deception (ha ha? sigh), the sex scenes on board ship are actually a rather good model for consent! The heroine is scared and tense and she really wants to have sex with the hero; Thomas's dialogue captures perfectly how she tests her freedom and he reassures her of it:"Where is the door?" she asked [the room is dark] ... "Five paces behind you. ... Would you like me to walk you there?""No," she said. "Take me in the opposite direction."And later, as she undresses, and as they are actually fucking, she checks: "Can I still leave?" and the answer's always yes. Thank you, Sherry Thomas, for no bullshit about the point of no return. This is one of the many reasons why I love your books and will keep buying them despite not loving this particular book.

  • Keri
    2018-10-29 19:18

    Let me preface this review by saying that I have a fan-gurl krush on Ms. Thomas, so it is extremely hard for me to give any book she writes a 3 star rating. However, since I also want to be truthful when I write a review, then I must let the 3 star must stand. What I loved about the book was as usual Ms. Thomas has wrote two emotional and complicated characters, where not all as it seems. While I didn't like Venetia or Christian for most of the book, by the end I wasn't ready for the book to be over. Here is one area where I think the book suffered, was the it was too short in length. While Christian may have been in love with a beautiful woman for many years, he really didn't "know" her and on Venetia's part, she only knew of Christian as the man who had just insulted and maligned her honor and payed him back by handing him his heart within a week's time. The ending was too abrupt for what they had put each other through. The entire premise of the book was how beautiful Venetia was, but by the time we got a full discription of what Venetia looked like, I just didn't visualize her as being attractive as much as odd looking. I still don't know what color Christian's eyes were. That was hard for me, as a reader we were left just as much in the dark about the truth of Venetia's past as Christian was. But the biggest problem for me was the love scene discriptions or rather the lack of. There were none and what was there was brief, which was sad because she has done a wonderful job in the past with love scenes. I think if the book would have at least had one or two, I would have at least rated the book higher, but on its own merit I can't. Now having said that, we have met our next two couples and as usual the relationships are about as mucked up as two people can get things and I am looking forward to seeing how ST untagles them. I don't want anybody to think that I didn't enjoy the book, I did, but it just wasn't as good as some of her books in the past at least for me. I know this review is kind of rambling, but I am having trouble putting something more cohesive right now.

  • Wicked Incognito Now
    2018-11-09 18:59

    I really hate to write a review for a book I loved. It's so much easier for me to pinpoint the things that went wrong in a book than the things that are right. Plus, novel enjoyment is subjective. Romance novels are particularly subjective, so when I write a glowing review I'm always afraid I'm setting up other readers for disappointment. The disappointment is more likely if the reader, like me, holds Sherry Thomas up on an HR pedestal. She is the creme de la creme. Disappointment is easier when we ascribe greatness to our favorite authors. This likely disappointment could be more inevitably acute because Sherry Thomas was heavily inspired for this latest endeavor by another cream of the crop historical romance author: Judith Ivory. This novel is based upon Ivory's novel Beast. Admittedly, this worried me. I happen to think that Beast is one of the best romance novel's ever written. What to do when one of the best takes on one of the best?Biting fingernails over here.You should have faith. If you are a historical romance reader, how can you go wrong with Sherry Thomas? Of the HR writers currently writing, she is the master. Oddly enough, unlike some of her previous novels, I can't point to any specific lines within this particular novel that prompted me to highlight them to share in this review because the turn of phrase was so lovely and memorable.I think where Sherry Thomas is successful is in her uncanny understanding of the romance formula. Of course, no one likes to read a formulaic book. We want to be surprised. We want novelty. And Sherry Thomas doesn't skimp on those elements. Yet, the successful romance novel is undoubtedly formulaic to a certain extent. Sherry Thomas understands the needed balance for a romance novel. We must not have too much close focus on any particular character's overwhelming inner-monologue. There mustn't be a dearth of "telling" as opposed to "showing." No one wants "info-dump." There must be a certain amount of character interaction and dialogue. There must be forward momentum but not too much annoying and distracting action. AND Sherry Thomas adds her particular formula of angst pushed to the edge, and then over the edge in a way that frustrates the readers but keeps them pushing on to the end because they just MUST experience the resolution of this heart-breaking predicament. There is no doubt in my mind that Sherry Thomas knows she is playing with our emotions. She knows we hate her for it. But she also knows this sort of emotion is what we really crave when we read a romance novel, and this is why we will return to read her books.This novel's particular angst involves unrequited love, an extraordinarily beautiful heroine, and a hero who can't stop fantasizing about her despite his scientific mind that demands he give it a rest. He constantly berates himself with a knowledge that she is shallow and mean--knowledge he only acquired through gossip and her cruel first husband's words prior to that husband's suicide.I want to line up Ivory's Beast and ST's Beguiling the Beauty and do a side-by-side comparison, but I'm not going to. There are elements of Beast that are undoubtedly superior. But in many ways, ST's novel is a more satisfying read. I think Ivory was more concerned with beautiful language than reader satisfaction, whereas ST keeps her reader firmly in mind. Had Sherry Thomas not mentioned in a review that she was doing a Judith Ivory cover, I would've noticed it anyway. Then I would've felt that ST ripped off my beloved Ivory. But because ST readily admits her influence I am mollified. Many authors do this. Sherry Thomas did it successfully. This is the first book I've read in months that I finished in a day just because I absolutely could not go to bed until it was over.Well done Ms. Thomas. And thank you.

  • Jacob Proffitt
    2018-11-14 11:50

    I really enjoyed this, though not without some bumps. Christian and Venetia were lovely, with lots of drama pulling them apart and I didn't even mind the conceit of falling in love while she covered her face. Nor how harsh things turned for a while (because it was earned and expected).I wasn't so much a fan of Venetia turning coward quite so thoroughly towards the end, but even that would have had me rounding a 4.5 up. Unfortunately, that was never in question because Thomas kept throwing in boring PoVs from people around Venetia—namely, her sister and sister-in-law. Helena (the sister) is more than a little pathetic (yearning after a married "artistic" idiot who needed help from his girlfriend to get himself published). Seriously, she read a good five to ten years younger than her 27 just from the swooning around after someone obviously weak and incompetent. Millie, the sister-in-law, was such a sorry little thing in unrequited love with her own husband that it was hard to spend time in her PoV because you know she's being set up for her own book. Which means you also know there will be no movement on her pining/yearning/doe-eyed nonsense until then. Also: their whole deal to not have sex for eight years strained credulity.Worse, though, these PoV shifts were shoe-horned in at awkward places where they broke the momentum and plot into tiny little pieces. Very inelegantly done, I think.So 3.5 stars rounding to four just because I really liked the central couple and that they fell so completely in love by getting to know one another (though the sexy times obviously didn't hurt, either).A note about Steamy: There are two explicit sex scenes, but the second is beyond short. So this is the low end of my steam tolerance, even though the two leads are going at it like bunnies (just off-screen). Thomas chose to stick with the emotionally significant events and I think that worked out rather well.

  • Meghan
    2018-10-24 13:11

    I devoured this book in one sitting. Sherry Thomas's prose is always delightful, and this was no exception. The dialogue sparkled, particularly during the hero and heroine's affair on the steamship. In fact, if the entire book was like that section, this would easily be a five-star, all-time favorite romance for me. I loved the chemistry between Christian and Venetia, not just the physical, but their passion for their shared interest in paleontology, the emotional honesty allowed by Venetia's anonymous seduction, and complete abandon which with Christian was willing to both fall in love and profess his love.The fly in the ointment, of course, is what caused Venetia to seduce Christian in the first place. One of my biggest romance pet peeves is a hero who believes stupid, hateful rumors about an innocent heroine for no good reason. Normally it is a dealbreaker for me, something that causes me to give up on a book almost without fail. Here, I found it mostly forgivable. The biggest mitigating factor was that Christian was so delightful the rest of the time. His misjudgment of Venetia was one minor misstep; in fact, I found myself wondering why a man who was otherwise an open-minded, observant, excellent judge of character was so willing to believe the worst of a complete stranger based on the word of a husband who was so insecure he admitted to memorizing the face of every man he ever observed lusting after his wife. Thomas does a good job of showing how Christian's discomfort with the power of his physical attraction to Venetia prejudices him unfairly, but I wasn't entirely satisfied with how this was dealt with (or rather, not really dealt with) during the resolution and HEA. However, something that would normally be a dealbreaker for me felt more like a minor quibble because I liked the rest of the book so damn much.Once Christian discovers Venetia's identity and realizes that her seduction was motivated by revenge, the book takes a brief turn for the frustrating, as anger and shame motivates them to deceive and hurt each other instead of trying to offer explanations and apologies. But it's comparatively brief, and soon resolved with a grand romantic gesture that ties absolutely everything up very quickly and neatly. It feels a little abrupt, but again, I was more than willing to roll with it because I was really, really enjoying the book, and really, really wanted to see everything resolved.I didn't go into this book with the highest expectations, knowing that it contained one of my biggest romance pet peeves, but I wound up really enjoying it. I am now even more excited about the next books in the series, especially Millie and Fitz's story. If this is how Sherry Thomas writes one of my least favorite tropes, I can't wait to see her do one of my favorites.(In the interest of full disclosure, I won this book in an ARC giveaway. However, I am not the kind of person who won't nitpick a book just because she got it for free.)

  • Jennifer
    2018-10-26 12:02

    Hmmm, sort of waffling here, but I think 3 stars. Easier to say that I liked it more than Delicious, but it was not as intimate and intricate as His at Night and Not Quite a Husband and Private Arrangements. I adore the 'don't-hate-me-because-I'm-beautiful' trope, and parts were really lovely, but the romance seemed at arm's length. So much happened offscreen, so it was hard to really feel sympathetic - or to get that true angst fix. There was also oodles of series foundation building, and nearly every character from her previous books had a cameo. I guess people must really get a kick out of that because I am seeing it more and more. I am in the minority but it's my pet peeve - it's so contrived. AND as long as we are on the subject, the appearance of my beloved Lord Vere raised my brow...(view spoiler)[wasn't he supposed to have a miraculous recovery? (hide spoiler)]. I would have preferred a Great Beauty smile-off between Lady Vere and Venetia! Update: After a reread - it's still a three. I really didn't like the ending - too slapsticky with Lady Avery.

  • OLT
    2018-11-10 14:12

    This HR by Thomas is a lovely homage to Judith Ivory's BEAST. Roles are reversed but the plot is similar in that Ivory's hero in Beast (Avon Romantic Treasure) needs the darkness to conduct the H and h's shipboard affair and here Thomas's heroine is the one not wanting the hero to know her identity. But we have the inevitable fall into love with one of the persons not knowing the true identity of the other.The book itself is not quite perfect, especially if you analyze the actions of the hero, the Duke of Lexington. At 19 years of age, he falls into lust with married heroine Venetia Townsend without ever meeting her and he becomes obsessed by her beauty. Even when her first husband dies and she remarries and his impression of her character suffers by his take on her actions, he still finds himself obsessed with her to the point that he can't seem to interest himself in any other woman, except for superficial sexual encounters. Fortunately, other than having this fixation on the heroine, the hero is a perfectly admirable man of good character in every other way.Heroine Venetia in all ways seems a more reasonable and sympathetic character. Widowed twice, she has suffered in ways unknown to the hero and she is a lovely person, caring and affectionate and loyal to her family. Families here, BTW, are loving and close and there are secondary stories just waiting to be developed further. The duke's family is only his stepmother and her new husband, but Venetia has younger twin siblings Fitz and Helena and Fitz's wife Millie. We learn just enough about these characters to look forward to Fitz and Millie's story in the upcoming Ravishing the Heiress (Berkley Sensation) and Helena's in Tempting the Bride.All three of these books in Thomas's Fitzhugh trilogy are stories about love which may seem to be unreciprocated on one side, but, of course, that won't be the case. How could we have an HEA that way? As for this first book in the series, it's a 5-star one for me because Thomas's writing is 5-star and the romance is so satisfying. Ultimately, one's opinion of a paperback romance is based on how it affects you personally and I loved this and the way it was written.One more plus for me about the book besides how romantic I found it is the late Victorian time period. It's more interesting than Regency. Peers, such are our duke here, are allowed more freedom to indulge in interests such as his in the natural sciences, and women are allowed a bit more freedom to work, to travel and to educate themselves. (Operative words here are "a bit" because there was still a long way to go. [Are we there yet?])

  • Caroline
    2018-10-29 18:16

    Reading my first Sherry Thomas book in twelve months brought home to me her astonishingly consistent excellence. Numerous authors are able to churn out consistently mediocre pulp fiction (and sometimes make a fortune in so doing), but truly original and inventive writers seem unable to avoid the occasional sour lemon among the juicy peaches.The narrative of Beguiling the Beauty is deceptively complex, which is perhaps why the Goodreads summary is so unsatisfactory, leaving out so many essential elements.Christian, Duke of Lexington and the most eligible bachelor in Britain, is in no hurry to marry. Part of the reason is his scientific objectivity and passion for natural science. He's more interested in fossils than debutantes. But the main reason is a life-changing glimpse, when he was still in his teens, of a stunningly beautiful woman across the verdant pitch of the Eton-Harrow cricket match. He's completely entranced, even when he discovers she's married. Neither does his infatuation diminish when Venetia, the transcendental beauty, rips through marriage after marriage, leaving a trail of malicious and highly unflattering gossip in her wake.While giving a lecture at Harvard, Christian is asked about the role of beauty in natural selection. Instead of his usual succinct answer, he finds himself describing, third-hand, the uncontrollable damaging effect of human beauty, using his cricket pitch experience as an example. Unfortunately for Christian, Venetia is sitting in the audience and promptly deduces that Christian is talking about her.Her original plan of charming Christian and introducing him to Helena, her unmarried sister, turns into a plot of vengeance for outing her in public, even though most of the Harvard audience would not be able to make the connection.She pursues him on his transatlantic voyage back to England and attempts to seduce him -- not an easy feat, as this requires maintaining her anonymity through the use of veils, darkened rooms, and blindfolds.The gentle seduction works too well, leaving both Christian and Venetia in a limbo of frustrated passion.After Christian realises that the mysteriously veiled shipboard siren is Venetia in disguise, the tension and stress between them escalates further.At one point in the book, I found myself completely absorbed in the psychological tension generated by the stormy interaction of the pair and experienced intense discomfort -- an indication of the skill with which Ms Thomas handles the emotions of the characters and draws the sympathy of the reader.The romantic episode on the transatlantic liner requires some suspension of disbelief, especially concerning the effectiveness of a veil or the darkness of an unlit room. But by this point in the story I was completely hooked and more than willing to give Ms Thomas the benefit of the doubt.

  • Elis Madison
    2018-11-12 13:57

    I'm not usually a fan of romances whose plots are basically, "he loves me, he loves me not." My favorite books usually have certain elements, including danger (and a plot that revolves around adventure, intrigue or mystery), a complicated love story whose resolution you don't see coming a mile away, writing I can admire, and a historical setting that is more than just a set and props. I like heroines who have a brain and enough self-respect to refuse to tolerate ill treatment from a man, and I like alpha heroes who are flawed, but deep down decent guys who will eventually feel bad if they've done something rotten. This book has a few of those elements. Sherry Thomas has a fresh style of writing and a neat way of seeing things. I've only read two of her books, but from both I took away lines that will be remembered as favorite lines from books I've read. My fave from this one is, "She felt as if she'd been hugging puppies all day." How cool is that line? Thomas also goes to the trouble of learning about her period, and there are usually insights into the times that you won't get from writers who just regurgitate what they've seen in other stories. Danger/adventure/etc? Not so much. Complicated love story? Well, kinda, but the obstacles to their being in love are mostly tied up in stupid pride, so you figure sooner or later they'll just get over it. And you do have a heroine who doesn't put up with being treated badly and a hero (not so alpha, but KINDA) who has that basic decency. The gist: Venetia Easterbrook is a goddess. Probably should capitalize the G. As in she walks into a room and people blink as if they need sunglasses. But she picked a real putz for her first husband, and the guy stomped her self-esteem into the pavement--squish. The second hubby was a nice guy, but there's a story there as well. Christian de Montfort, soon to be the Duke of Lexington, lays eyes on her once and he's gone. She haunts his dreams (the good kind) and he can't stop thinking about her. He runs into her first hubby one day and the man says something that makes her sound like a venal witch, and bang, he's dead a few days later. Christian concludes that the poor schmuck must've been driven to suicide by the greedy demands of his beautiful wife. His opinion of her falls still lower when she marries a scant year later and promptly takes up in a very scandalous affair with a friend of her new husband. Both of them are interested in the natural sciences, so it happens that, half a world away from home, she and her sisters while traveling in the States attend a lecture at which he is speaker. He proses on about how people are genetically hard-wired to drool over physical beauty, even though intellectually they know that beauty often masks a deeper ugliness. Then, as an example he mentions an unnamed beauty who stirs every man's blood, and he lays out a fairly detailed and unflattering version of Venetia's life story, with enough info that anyone who knows Venetia is likely to recognize her.A mortified and hurt Venetia runs off only to bump into him again and when he makes a pass at her (she's veiled so he doesn't recognize her) she's furious. So she decides to get a little payback. She books herself aboard the cruise ship he's taking home. She just intends to give him a good set down but the next thing she knows they're having an affair. She's always veiled or he's blindfolded when they're together, which is a lot less kinky than it sounds. But you do gotta wonder about a man who'd schtup a woman whose face he never sees, and a woman who knocks boots with a guy she doesn't much like. And the next thing you know they're in love. Only by that time he's confided in her, things he would never want Mrs. Easterbrook to know. And by that time she's well past wanting to humiliate him, so she can't ever let him know who she really is. Again, the obstacles here are kind of flimsy, and without anything more exciting going on in the background, the plot was a bit slow for me in places. The book gets three stars because the writing is so good (especially so when you realize Thomas is not a native English speaker). It might get two if not for that. Still, when the next two books in the series get discounted to a good price, I might pick them up.

  • Las
    2018-11-06 19:01

    I can't believe I'm giving a Sherry Thomas book two star (and really, the only reason it's not one star is because at least the grammar is good). This book lost me at the prologue, and it never got me back. Christian sees Venetia once, from a distance, and falls instantly in love. Doesn't speak to her at all, doesn't even make eye contact because she doesn't notice him, but that's it--she's so other-worldly beautiful that he falls in love and stays in love for 10 years, during which time she's widowed twice over and he grows resentful because the love of his life--whom he's never met--is just too beautiful for him to forget and he can't stand that she lives her life in a way he doesn't approve. Not that he knows how she lives her life, because, again, he doesn't know her and doesn't know anyone who's close enough to her to provide him with any details about her life. Ten years after not meeting her and falling in love with her anyway, he gives a lecture at Harvard about evolution. During the Q&A, in order to make a point about how dangerous beautiful women are, he, without revealing her name, recites a whole bunch of details about her life. Venetia, of course, is in the audience and is understandably horrified. Now, even though a lot of people in England would know who Christian was talking about, there's no reason for her to believe that anyone in audience would have any idea. So, as far as she knows, there are no consequences to Christian's indiscretion other than her justifiably hurt feelings. No matter, after a few days she decides she wants revenge, and the best revenge would be to get him to fall in love with her on the ship that will take them back to England. That sounds like an incredibly petty reason to seek out that level of revenge, but whatever, I'm always game for a good revenge plot. Except that doesn't happen, because after one night of hot lovin', Venetia (who's hiding her identity with a veil) is in love with Christian and now she's in a state because how can he ever forgive her?! Venetia girl, I sympathize with that long dry spell, but ain't no orgasm that great. So, basically, what we have here is a romance between two immature people who are too stupid to know their own minds. A heartbroken Venetia disappears, intending to never let Christian know the truth. Christian is hopeful that she'd come to him like she promised, even though he's all conflicted when he sees Venetia and once again is in thrall, because he doesn't know that Venetia is his Baroness. And it turns out that a fellow Englishwoman was in that audience at Harvard, and she knew exactly who Christian was talking about, so she happily spread the word. And around this time, the presumed infertile Venetia finds out she's pregnant (I can't believe Sherry Thomas went there). Yada yada yada, Venetia confesses everything right after Christian figures it all out on his own. They get married. Christian's pissed and Venetia is heartbroken but hopeful.And then, the most ridiculous resolution to the most asinine conflict occurs, in the form of the gossip who spread the word about Christian's badmouthing of Venetia. I seriously considered DNFing right there, but with 10 pages to go I carried on, with my eyes rolled way back into my head. I wasn't crazy about His at Night...it just wasn't for me, but it wasn't a bad book by any means. But Beguiling the Beauty was just awful. The characters were dumb, the plot was weak, the conflict was nonsense. Not a good start to this trilogy, although the secondary characters were a hell of a lot more interesting than the "hero" and "heroine," so here's hoping for the kind of writing that made Sherry Thomas an autobuy for me in the next book.

  • Nidofito
    2018-11-07 18:18

    I have read a few other high-rated reviews and I agree that it is very passionate and it was interesting regarding the irony about falling in love with two versions of the same person. But it is so trope-y. These people are not smart. First of all, Christopher's damning confession at the lecture. I thought he was supposed to be a man of science? He used anecdotal evidence as facts and then generalized it to women of beauty. I had bells ringing in my head when I was reading that part, and I feel like I was more acutely affected because I have been in science and research all my student life.Secondly, Venetia's plan of revenge. What? Did she thought him a piece of cardboard who would not have two brain cells to rub and figure things out? Or the emotional investment she would have? Lastly, that reconciliation with those two gossip girls. That was embarrassingly cheesy and I cringed a little bit when they talked about their reputation as gossipers. I could not get over the Harlequin-ness of this book.

  • bookjunkie
    2018-10-23 10:52

    It felt light and fluffy, but overall a very satisfying romance IMO. I like the way Sherry Thomas writes. Also, there's something very vicariously pleasant about having a heroine whose incredible beauty is a plot point. I mean, I'm also fond of the stories where you have a mousy plain Jane who wins over people with her inner beauty and whatnot, but this story of a jaw-droppingly gorgeous beauty who's also crazy about dinosaur fossils was a nice fantasy!There wasn't any darkness in this story at all, and the Hero was utterly bewitched by the heroine both physically and without ever seeing her face. There wasn't a real conflict other than two good, noble, courteous people with shared passions misunderstanding each other and hiding their true feelings. Neither of them are really cruel and they have quite the believable HEA. That's why I call it a light, fluffy read. But Sherry Thomas' writing is good enough to give it substance and make it memorable, as well. Read this if you're in the mood for a light, feel-good romance with an impossibly beautiful heroine.

  • LaFleurBleue
    2018-10-22 11:58

    I really enjoyed this book. Even though I had strong qualms at first. I feared she would be much older than he was - and I'm not a huge fan of cougar romances. She had already been married twice. Her sister was having an affair with a married man. Not sure what else but it seemed like a sure recipe for disaster. Though it was nothing like that.I really enjoyed getting to know the different characters, their own difficulties & challenges. I deeply enjoyed the heroine, her way if trying to orchestrate a game of cat and mouse with Lexington and her total inability to master it more than a few minutes. She seemed really warm and touching. I also was totally convinced by Lexington's feelings towards her.Sherry Thomas's writing is once more close to perfection.A very good book.I would recommend to have the next books on hand when you read this one, because it sure would be hard to have to wait before the next one.

  • Nonieღserenity2bliss
    2018-10-20 16:02

    The ending was weird. At the middle of the story, Venetia and Lexington got married due to an unforeseen circumstances. They loathed each other but secretly love one another. And then two gossipy young ladies came to the house threaten to run their 'juicy stories to maintain their gossipy reputation'. In order to protect Venetia's good name, Lexington decided to tell the ladies the truth, and then Venetia walked in and decided to tell her version of the truth. In their storytelling, they ultimately revealed their feelings in front of the two gossip-mongers and that's that. All problems solved and they lived happily ever after. I just hope the next one is better.

  • ALPHAreader
    2018-10-19 17:17

    Christian, Duke of Lexington, fell in love with Venetia Easterbrook from afar, as many young men have done. But she was married at the time of his falling was for naught. But Christian still made a promise to himself that one day, no matter how long he’d have to wait, he would take a chance with the beautiful Mrs. Easterbrook. Christian harboured this thought close to his heart for years. Even after an unsettling conversation with Mr. Easterbrook about his downfall, thanks in part to his beguiling wife, Christian still wanted her. Even after he heard rumours that Venetia Easterbrook had been blazingly, openly unfaithful to her second husband until he passed away, even then, Christian wanted her. Desperately. Maddeningly … until he didn’t. Until the day, while giving a lecture in America, that he realized Venetia Easterbrook’s beauty was a biological lie that harboured a cruel woman behind a beautiful mask. Little did Christian know that Venetia was in the audience that day, and listening with a sinking heart to every cruel misconception he uttered about this ‘anonymous’ and evil beguiling woman. What happened next was almost out of Venetia’s control. When she found herself staying at the same hotel as the Duke of Lexington … when she wore a veil to hide her face, and called herself Baroness von Seidlitz-Hardenberg to avoid his detection.And then somehow it all went horribly, damnably, wrong.‘Beguiling the Beauty’ is the first book in a new historical romance series from Sherry Thomas, called the ‘Fitzhugh Trilogy’. I have very quickly become a big fan of Sherry Thomas. Having read two of her stand-alone romances and been wholly impressed, I was so happy to become ensconced in a romance series by this new favourite author. And the first book of the ‘Fitzhugh Trilogy’ certainly delivers.We meet Christian, Duke of Lexington, on the day he falls in love with Venetia Easterbrook from afar. Yes, this is one of those abhorrent ‘love at first sight’ clichés … or is it? This is Sherry Thomas after all, the writer injecting a bit of literary spice into the historical romance genre. So what starts as a cliché quickly progresses into a damning obsession for Christian, and then into a horrible public embarrassment for Venetia Easterbrook when he unleashes years of pent-up frustrations and dashed dreams on an ‘anonymous’ (but undoubtedly her, with that marriage history) woman who bewitched him with her beauty, but masked a wretched woman underneath. What Christian didn’t see, couldn’t see, on that day when he fell for Venetia from afar was how horribly miserable she was. At the time she had a husband who blamed her for everything – from being unable to give him a son, to London society who forget about him in her presence. And then she agreed to a second marriage with a dear friend, a convenience for them both which society has since warped and misconstrued. When Venetia, veiled and hidden, bumps into Christian in the lobby of their hotel after hearing his tirade against her, she only thinks to avoid outright vitriol and so pretends to be the Baroness von Seidlitz-Hardenberg. But when he seeks her out again, this masked Baroness who has him so intrigued, their paths take a decidedly different turn … and a sea-voyage sinks them both deeper and deeper into a tangled web of lies.Oh! This is such a delicious book with a horrendously messy romance at its centre. In theory, both Venetia and Christian could have been pretty awful characters. Venetia is that particular brand of heroine that can go so horribly wrong if not written with finesse – she’s beautiful but despising of her beauty (even as others fall all over themselves for her). Thomas saves Venetia though, by giving us glimpses into two unhappy marriages that have left their imprint on her and added to her disgruntlement with her own outward appearance. Likewise, Christian could have come across as a bit of a dimwit, easily swayed by a pretty face and not much else. But he has a lot of heart, and spends a good portion of the book making it up to himself (and, unknowingly, Venetia too) for the way he fell for her looks before getting to know the beauty. And then there’s the fact that Venetia and Christian click on more than just a physical level – they are both scientists, and his encouragement of her intellectual endeavours is enough to leave readers swooning for this forward-thinking man; “If memory serves,” he said, “some of the most significant finds in British paleontological history must be credited to a woman.” “Yes, Mary Anning, I've read about her. My husband said her finds were due to blind luck.”He snorted. “If God saw fit to give a woman that much blind luck, he can’t possibly object to such endeavours on a woman’s part.”I loved that Sherry Thomas teased out the idea of ‘love at first sight’, and wrote against typical romantic clichés to explore real conundrum for both Venetia and Christian. Things become decidedly interesting when Venetia, back home in London, casts off her Baroness disguise and becomes reacquainted with Christian, this time as her beautiful self... She tilted her umbrella slightly away from her person. “There are those who like me for the way my nose sits on my face – a ridiculous reason to like someone. But it’s also a fairly ridiculous reason to not like someone – as it is in your case.”“I disapprove of your character, Mrs. Easterbrook.” “You don’t know my character, sir,” she said decisively. “The only thing you know is my face.” This is the ‘Fitzhugh Trilogy’, and the focus is on Venetia and her siblings, who will round out the series. There’s her older brother, Lord Fitzhugh ‘Fitz’, who is married to the young Millicent for initial reasons of monetary gains, but whose marriage has become a friendship. Then there’s youngest Fitzhugh, Helena, who is the reason behind Venetia’s American expedition in the first place, after it was discovered that Helena had begun an affair with a married Ton man. If I had any complaints about this book, it would be that the larger series context of the Fitzhugh family feels a little underwhelming. I like it if I can at least glimpse the stories for future books in a series, but I don’t think readers were given enough insight into the Fitzhugh sibling dynamic and for that reason ‘Beguiling the Beauty’ really could just be another stand-alone from Thomas … but I suppose time (and the next two books) will tell if this disjointedness lasts or a trilogy feel becomes apparent. For now, I am again bewitched by yet another Sherry Thomas novel, this time in her lengthy (and messy) examination of the old ‘love at first sight’ cliché, and all the drama that can entail. 4.5/5

  • Naty Levin
    2018-11-01 12:50

    Excelente como cada libro que leo de Sherry Thomas. Los personajes, las relaciones, los diálogos todo me encanta en estos libros. El final tal vez se me hizo un poco raro, pero no afecta mi opinión general de esta trilogía. Totalmente recomendable! y ahora vamos por Hastings y Helena

  • Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish)
    2018-11-14 11:51

    It's official. As long as it's done right, historical romance is for me!I loved this book.I doubt there's anything truly groundbreaking to the story, and even a bit of the cliché but the storytelling is so fun and the characters extremely lovable even when you're yelling at them: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"Venetia Fitzhugh Townsend Easterbrook's biggest concern was for the welfare of her sister's reputation, which is how she found herself in America attending a lecture at Harvard by the Duke of Lexington. Christian de Montfort had a secret obsession for ten years and his very public personal rebuke results in consequences he could have never foreseen. Venetia sets herself on a path of revenge, but she may lose herself in the process.Both characters do side-eye worthy things to each other but they're so sweet individually and together I couldn't help but not care. I loved their interaction with each other. Christian was adorable, and so respectful (well, mostly) and caring. And I just adored how he called his stepmother "stepmama". Venetia though described as the most beautiful woman in all the land was incredibly smart even when she was doing stupid things (not to mention the only reason why her plan didn't blow up in her face was because Christian was so agreeable and trustworthy). And even though I got to the point of wanting to smack her around a little bit I still loved her, especially for what she did for her late husband, Mr. Easterbrook.The only real problems I had with this book were:-Not so much a problem, but it was jarring to me how fast they fell into bed together. It would have been if this had been a contemporary romance, but for historical fiction it was definitely super fast to me. (Also, this part of Venetia's plan gave me a little bit of the willies.)-Venetia continuing to lie when, in my opinion, it was just making things worse. Of course, doesn't lying do that most of the time?-The fade to black in the last sex scene. I really wanted the emotions of them coming together at that point.-But, by far, my biggest complaint was Venetia's sister Helena's storyline. It's gross. And there's no indication that the marriage in her storyline was like the marriage Fitz (Venetia and Helena's brother) entered into with Millie.The writing was lovely and I never once had to stop and ask if what was written makes sense for the time period. That's typically my biggest complaint about historical romances – the exposition and/or dialogue sounds more like a contemporary and that pulls me out of the story. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series: Millie and Fitz's story. Though I'm not sure I'll be reading the third book, which is Helena's story. I'm truly distraught that this series is under Penguin's Berkley imprint. I found this book at Target on a clearance rack, which never fails to get me so excited I kind of go into this happy dimension where nothing matters but a deal on a book I'm willing to read. Unfortunately, after I bought it I saw that it was a Berkley book and I refuse to buy from them/Penguin for the fact they paid seven figures for fan fiction. It's bad enough that there are so many authors on that imprint that I absolutely love, and now this book has just added another and I'm sure that none of these amazing, real authors, who write original, ethical fiction were paid seven figures for their fantastic (not misogynistic, by the way) books. I have no idea how I'm going to be able to read the next book, so let us all pray to the Book Gods that Penguin's library pilot gets off the ground and goes nationwide or something.

  • Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim)
    2018-11-12 12:04

    *Note: Since this is a book club read, I don't want to give any particulars in the review as I don't want to influence other book club members with my review but I'll speak in generalities and maybe will come back and update after our book club discussion.*As I have commented many times in the past 'I HATE HISTORICALS'. And yet every year I end up reading a couple for one reason or other. In this case, it is the book club pick for a group of friends. And here's the thing - I didn't HATE it. I didn't love it, but the absence of hate is significant.My biggest problems with historicals is that the women are always weak and they are often filled with rapes, blackmail, and coercion. If a dude says in chapter 3, 'Remove thy clothing and pleasure me or I shall send your father to prison and turn your mother out to the streets' and yet somehow the chick is all 'Oh I love him!' by chapter 6 I have a serious problem with this. And yet in this book there is virtually none of that. There's a cool scene in this book where the couple is about to have sex for the first time and she asks what he will do if she changes her mind. The hero says he will be sad but will let her go. After some more heavy petting she asks the same question and he says something about being crushed in spirit but will let her go. Even when they are actually having sex she asks him the same question and he says something about how he will weep uncontrollably but will still let her go. No question of coercion or anything untoward. I loved the paleontological aspect of the book. I liked that the heroine was intelligent and well educated. I can even say I liked more about this book than I disliked. Maybe I just have to make sure I don't read any more Regency era historicals and I'll be happier. So while I may not be rushing out to get the next in this series, I'll likely end up reading it for my own enjoyment and not because I had to for a book club.

  • Shabby Girl ~ aka Lady Victoria
    2018-10-21 14:12

    What to say about this book? I have read Not Quite a Husband by this author and thought it was one of the most moving and well-written books I've read. I loved it.This book, well, the writing is wonderful. This author has a really wonderful way of putting words together. So smooth, so flowing. The story was a little .... hard to get a grip on. It's difficult to believe that the H and h could conduct an affair for a week and the H wouldn't see the h's face. It's a bit of a stretch to believe that this could happen. Okay, I did get my head around that, but I just wasn't happy with the way the book ended. Both parties committed big breaches of trust, one indiscretion by the H which caused the ensuing meeting of the H and h, and the deception by the h in return and these seemed to just disappear very quickly. It's like I was expecting a big ... something ... but then the H and h kind of just, I don't know, gave up and let them go. I also had a bit of a problem connecting with either of the H or h. I mean, they were okay, but I didn't fall in love with them the way I normally want to.Also, something that doesn't normally bother me sort of did in this book in that there are two books to follow, so the groundwork in both those stories is started to be layed in this book ... no problem, I suppose, but it sometimes pulled me out of the main story to go to these other stories. A small annoyance, but one nonetheless.The writing is very rich, the story is interesting, if pretty well unbelievable, but I did enjoy it. Just not anywhere near as much as Not Quite a Husband. It still is an above the average book, just not as good as I thought a Sherry Thomas would be. I am looking forward to the two other books though as the stories seem quite interesting and I like the set up for them.

  • Remy Kripton
    2018-11-01 10:54

    4.5 loved-it Stars...!! I loved the book. Adored more like it. Sherry Thomas just entered my list of favourite historical authors. She writes with quick wit, humour and much much romance. I enjoyed the book thoroughly. Venetia is a darling. Yes she is extremely beautiful. But that wasn't what made me like her. I have read so many books where the heroines are described as heavenly beautiful, bit here Venetia has such a pleasant character. She has her flaws and her attributes. But I loved her because she appeared so normal, the every day English Lady whom people seem to see only judge by her enticing beauty. Christian was a surprise. You know I always like rakes as heroes in historical novel. I love their cockiness, their arrogance. But Christian made me fall in love with him so easily. He was in love with our heroine for ten years. You would think he was a sappy little fool, but let me tell you ladies he holds his own. He may be in love with Venetia,but he is just as cocky,just as prideful as my darling rakes....!!Finally this is a simple enough story, maybe a littl whimsical. But it entices and enthrals you till you have a goofy little smile in the end. A must read for all historical fans..And I can't wait to read Millie and Fitz's story.....!!! I'm diving right into book 2..!!

  • Ilze
    2018-11-17 17:53

    It's always a treat to read a book by Sherry Thomas - she never writes down to some imaginary "average romance reader" level which with some authors appears to be about Grade 6. The characters and story in this book are great - both the hero and heroine are so flawed and fallible, yet completely lovable. The characters' shared interest in fossils is a great touch, and the hero's gift to the heroine of a huge slab of rock with dinosaur footprints is a priceless way to win her heart. The heroine is a "Great Beauty" who has the misfortune, because of her looks, of others not being able to see past her physical beauty and hence being constantly misjudged. Her first husband basically used her as a social accessory and subjected her to great emotional abuse because of his own failures. So covering her face with a veil in her interactions with Lexington, who had been blinded to her character by her beauty and a lie that her husband told about her, and getting him to fall in love with her, without ever having seen her face in her "Baroness von Seidlitz-Hardenberg" persona, is a brilliant move. I agree with Cecilia, though, that the last scene in the book with the gossips and the family all showing up together was WAY over the top and felt somewhat strange (gossiping as a profession?).

  • Hirondelle
    2018-11-04 14:51

    2.5 stars in my own very steep and picky rating curve.It was a bit meh, in no way actually bad at anything possible, but sort of weak. I loved the author´s earlier standalone books. And now instead of one book a year we get 3 books in one year, sounded lovely. Except it turns out this is book feels much less dense, less rich than her earlier novels. This trilogy is about 3 siblings (or more correctly 2 sisters and their sister in law) in late 19th century English high society. I love the setting, seems so much more interesting than more usual settings. I like the writing very much and how it feels historically and scientifically accurate. My problem was with characters - they never quite lived, particularly the hero which felt really flat to me. Both of them make reprehensible choices, they get get over it, case closed. I understand Venetia´s motivations much better than what-his-name, but not sure I get the reason for their love (though I did love the reference to Elizabeth Bennett only falling in love after seeing Pemberley). Still, even if it was not up to my expectations, it was enjoyable and miraculously for my current mood, a one-sitting book. And the sequels sound even more appealing to me.

  • Judith
    2018-11-17 12:56

    A complicated yet compelling look at the issue of what it means to be judged almost exclusively by one's outward appearance or social station without regard to the true nature of relationships that have been characterized in a negative light and with almost disregard for the truth. It is almost unbelievable to most women that there could actually be such beauty as to be a burden to the one possessing it, but so it was with Venetia Fitzhugh Townsend Easterbrook, a woman who was incredibly intelligent and giving, kind-hearted and who loved her siblings and close friends without quarter but who had been vilified by the gossips and the families of her two now-deceased husbands. It is not for the faint of heart in that it is not a short,fun and fluffy love story. There is a great deal of meaty stuff here. I had only one negative response and that is to the lengthy and, to my way of thinking, over-long scenes with other members of Venetia and the duke's families, but that being said, I have to give the author credit for building a sound foundation in the mind of the reader for coming books in the series. All in all, a fine read and one that true lovers of historical romance will find entertaining and stimulating.

  • kris
    2018-10-24 18:00

    I mostly liked it! I just have a few things to get off my chest:1) I don't react well to stories featuring Beautalicious Beauties. Seriously: I don't want to hear about how being attractive is the Ultimate Curse. I absolutely believe that it can lead to some frustrations, but you know what? There's power in attractiveness that is stripped from all those who are deemed "unattractive" or "plain" or "ugly" or any variation thereof. Society can be epically gross, but it is far more forgiving of a pretty face than it is of anyone who doesn't fit those confines. Therefore, I find the "pity my Epic Beauty" trope infuriating. 2) The ending was poorly paced and plotted. Definitely not enough resolution to keep this book from feeling very top-heavy. 3) DINOSAURS.

  • Christy
    2018-11-08 11:58

    Updated to 4 stars on re-readNot as good as I've come to expect from Sherry Thomas. I'm not all that crazy about love at first sight based only on great beauty, and the stratagem to keep her identity secret later seemed kind of lame. The next book in the trilogy sounds more promising, although the relationship of that couple, as shown in this book, is certainly problematic. Update: I'm not sure why I was so harsh on this book the first time around, but I liked it much more on re-read after reading all the Fitzhugh books. I really loved the series and will definitely read them all again.