Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Winter Scandal (St. Dwynwen, #1) by Candace Camp

A Winter Scandal
  • Title: A Winter Scandal
  • Classification:  Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Format: Paperback, 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Star; Original edition (October 25, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 1451639503
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451639506
  • Author's Website:  http://www.candace-camp.com/

'It was said that whoever prayed with a truly loving heart to St. Dwynwen here in her chapel would have his or her prayer granted. Some argued that only prayers for love were granted, but others said that the kindly saint would answer even prayers of broader scope...'

Every so often a seemingly innocent event can bring utter clarity to a person--a moment of self realization, if you will. At seven and twenty Thea Bainbridge was considered to be firmly on the shelf. It had never really bothered her until Lord Morecombe came to town. Years ago he'd given Thea her one and only kiss. While the kiss had been significant to her, it obviously hadn't been for him. He didn't even recognize her. While Thea knew it was silly of her to take the lack of recognition to heart, it had after all been ten years, it truly had bothered her. Her marriage prospects were pretty much nonexistent, as she had known practically everyone in the small village of Chesley her whole life. It was this one event, however, that brought her to the realization that all she did was live along the edges of other peoples lives--she truly didn't have one of her own. So in a moment of desperation she said a prayer.

"Please..." She dropped her forehead to her hands , her mind too overset to know what to say. Intercessions, prayers, pleas, tumbled through her head. "Please help me." What did she want? "Give me a life. Please, give me a life of my own." She remained bent over, pain and fear storming through her. For once she could not push it away, could not ignore it, could superimpose work over it. She could only feel the desperate, lonely longing.

No sooner had Thea Bainbridge finished her prayer than she heard a sound. As she looked around she found a baby which had been left in a simple feed box that was to be used as the manger in the church's live nativity scene. Not another soul appeared to be around. It wasn't until later that she noticed the brooch attached the the baby's clothing. "The small elegant piece had an oval of onyx with a gold, ornate scrollwork letter M in the center." It was the same design as she had seen on a ring worn by Lord Morecombe the night before. Little did she know her life was about to change...

This was a delightful read. I truly adored Thea. She was easy to relate to and you couldn't help but sympathize with her. I loved how she was passionate about things and rushed head first into situations without truly thinking before she acted. Probably not the smartest thing to do, but it made her an extremely likeable character. While she seems to have low self esteem when it comes to her looks, she does know her self worth and would never let someone push her around.

Gabriel, Lord Morecombe, was another loveable character. He kept wanting do deny his ever growing feelings for Thea, and used Matthew as an excuse to see her. He is fiercely loyal to his family and is willing to take in his sister even if what transpired over a year ago included a scandal. Though he's a confirmed bachelor when Thea first shows up on his doorstep with Matthew, he's ready to take responsibility for him when her realizes the baby could be his sister's.   

The mystery associated with what happened to Gabriel's sister, Jocelyn, over a year ago added a nice amount of drama to the story. I enjoyed how we slowly learn more about what happened as the story unfolds and end up questioning things as we find out more. I also liked learning how Jocelyn's leaving impacted the relationship between Rawdon and Gabriel. It was interesting to learn why Gabriel was so quick to blame his long time friend for Jocelyn's running away and calling off her engagement to him.

I hope future books in the series will include more of Rawdon and Damaris. They were my favorite secondary characters. I don't know if the two will end up together, but I definitely think there's more to each of them then meets the eye. I think Damaris has a secret past that could be interesting to find out about. Rawdon, on the other hand, just seemed like such an intriguing character. He's been condemned by everyone for his family's past. I'd like to learn more about him.

Gabriel and Thea definitely had the kind of attraction that sent sparks flying and totally engulfed them when they finally gave in to their desires. The two seemed perfect for each other. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating - too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you look flustered and flushed. Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I felt this was nice blend of mystery and romance. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Side Note: There truly is a tale about St. Dwynwen. Wikipedia has her listed as the Welsh patron saint of lovers. She is also the patron saint of sick animals. The tale related to Dwynwen is pretty much the same as that included in 'A Winter Scandal' although there are variations. To learn more about St. Dwynwen, check Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwynwen

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