RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge Review: Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter


Title: Provocative in Pearls
Author: Madeline Hunter
Publication Info: Jove 2010
ISBN: 9780515147629
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

RITA®, and the RITA statuette are service marks of Romance Writers of America, Inc.Jennifer signed up to read this book for the RITA® Reader Challenge because she was looking forward to it in a BIG WAY. I think I just added this series to my TBR. Dammit, Jennifer.

Book CoverPlot Summary: After two years, Grayson Bridlington, The Earl of Hawkeswell, has located his missing bride Verity Thompson. Coerced into marrying Hawkeswell by her duplicitous cousin, Verity fled London for the countryside. Now, the couple must make the most of an arranged marriage-even if it means surrendering to their shared desire.

And now, Jennifer’s review:

Writing a 250-word or less review was difficult, mostly because I wanted to spend paragraphs on my love for Castleford (he’s introduced in book 1 in the middle of a threesome; he only schedules business appointments on Tuesday so he can devote the other six days to liquor and sex; and, when he finally decides to make a contribution to society, it’s by writing a guide to the brothels and prostitutes of London.  I couldn’t wait for his book!).  But here’s the approximately 250-word review.

I picked this book for the RITA Reader Challenge in part because the Rarest Blooms (to which this belongs) is one of my favorite current series.  But as I looked back through it in preparation for this review, I realized I’m not sure I can tell you why.  It contains a number of elements I normally despise in romances: a alphole hero, a conflict that could be resolved in five minutes if the hero would actually just listen to the heroine, a meeker heroine, and seduction used as an arguing point.  Yet in Hawkeswell and Verity’s story, these elements somehow work. 

I’ll admit—I was predisposed to liking the book.  Madeline Hunter is the author that started me reading historicals.  And I think a good portion of it is the book contains one of my favorite characters of all times – the thoroughly scandalous rake, the Duke of Castleford (who gets his own book at the conclusion of the series).  Castleford’s presence alone earns this book a high grade.

However, I’ve concluded that my love for scandalous rakes isn’t the only reason I love this book.  The resolution to the story is extremely satisfying.  Without giving a lot away, Hawkeswell makes a gesture of self-sacrifice that shows a conscious rejection of his worst tendencies.  Verity’s meeker exterior hides a backbone of steel.  It contains one of the best portrayals of female friendship in a series.  And all of these are portrayed in a realistic light, always reflecting how the characters would actually act and how the rest of the world would react to them.

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Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Donna says:

    This series has been on my tbr list for awhile. Maybe I’ll move it up. I do have a question though; why is this in the science fiction/fantasy catagory? It sounds like a standard historical.

    Spamword: always42… I wish…

  2. 2
    indamanda says:

    I am jonesing for Castleford’s book.  He makes the series.  I agree with Jennifer, a lot of annoying tropes are present but the dialogue and sub-sequent actions make them palatable.

  3. 3
    Paula Graves says:

    Donna, it’s mislabeled here.  It’s in the Regency Historical Romance category.

  4. 4
    CarrieS says:

    I, too, am writing to point out the genre mislabeling.  A new release, in actual book form, scifi/fantasy that is an A-?  Joy, bliss! rapture…crushing dissapointment.  Although I like Historicals too so am still adding to the TBR.

  5. 5
    Miranda says:

    I haven’t read any of the books, but I have to give a shout-out to the cover art on this series. I *love* the covers, particularly Dangerous in Diamonds.

  6. 6
    Lizzy says:

    I loathed this book for the factors that you felt it made work. It was a DNF for me. I just could not stand Hawkswell’s heavy handedness, the way they were somehow magically attracted, and the “Big Misunderstanding.” The entire thing could have been resolved in three minutes by anyone with a whit of sense.

  7. 7
    mdegraffen says:

    I read Castleford’s book a couple of weeks ago.  It rocks!

  8. 8
    Ann G says:

    I haven’t read THE RAREST BLOOMS series yet, but I enjoy Madeline Hunter’s books, so I look forward to reading these books.

  9. 9
    kkw says:

    I didn’t love it.  Didn’t hate it.  I haven’t read the other books in the series, and as a result wasn’t invested in the reformation of the rake – although to be fair I rarely am.  I found most of the plot and character elements lacking, but the pacing was good.  I’d say B- or C+ probably.

  10. 10
    akajill says:

    @Lizzy I did finish this one, but I did not finish Dangerous in Diamonds, the next in the series for pretty much the same reasons you had.  I thought the hero crossed the line (went WAY over the line, actually) into harassment and the “magical attraction” didn’t erase the ick factor for me.  Thankfully I had Sarah MacLean’s Nine Rules to Break… to wipe the bad taste away.

  11. 11
    kylydia says:

    I just finished the first in this series, Ravishing in Red, and gave it a one star on Goodreads. I felt it was overly long and the comparison of the Relationship to a sore was just gross and pulled me out of the story every single time. I admit that the Duke of Castleford is the only character that seemed interesting, and I may put his book in the TBR pile.

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