by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Hellions of Halstead Hall #1
Genres: Historical Romance
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
One of my favorite go-to-feel-good genres is historical fiction. It can be a romance or a mystery, I love them all. When Danielle @Bookwhore shared The Truth about Lord Stoneville on her blog, I knew this was the perfect series for me. I adore series; in fact, I am an addict. My favorite is the type that can also be read as standalone. They usually involve one family or a group of friends and each tale tells one character’s story.
In the Hellions of Halstead, we have five siblings who lost their parents in a tragic way and have basically acted out. Their meddling grandmother has decided she is tired of their shenanigans and makes an ultimatum. Each must marry by year’s end or they will lose their inheritance. This plot leads to a delicious tale beginning with the oldest sibling, the Marquess of Stoneville, Oliver Sharpe. Oliver decides he is having none of it and sets out to convince his grandmother to put an end to her demands. Maria Butterfield, an American is in London trying to track down her missing fiancé. She and her cousin spot a young man wearing her fiancé’s backpack and give chase. When he enters a brothel, she sends her cousin in to inspect it and he is accused of attempting to steal it. Maria steps in and demands her cousin be set free. She does this while wielding a sword. Oliver intervenes, agreeing not to press charges and help her locate her missing fiancé in exchange for a favor. For the next two weeks, she will have to pose as his fiancé. Oh, the tale that unfolded was delicious with double crossings, twists and an unexpected romance.
The characters are all wonderfully developed. The Hellion’s of Halstead are all unique, mischievous, flawed and damaged from their past. Oliver is completely swoon-worthy. He believes he is incapable of monogamy and blames himself for his parent’s tragic death. He avoids his entailed homestead, behaves like a rakish rogue and never intends to marry. Despite his behavior, he cares for his family and tends to be noble. He becomes infatuated with Marie and finds her bold personality refreshing. Marie is sweet, has recently lost her father and finds herself drawn to Oliver. She sees hints of sadness and despite looking for her fiancé, she finds herself thinking more and more about Oliver. Oliver’s grandmother lovingly referred to as Gran is wonderful. I loved this clever, meddling grandma. I would think twice before crossing paths with her. Oliver’s siblings got in on the action too. They were all unique and colorful and their plot was hilarious. Freddie, Marie’s cousin was sweet and helped further the tale.
I loved the world building in this tale. While I am not sure it’s entirely unique, Jeffries characters made it delightful. The Sharpe’s have been surrounded in scandal for years and I found the incidence surrounding their parent’s death interesting. I love flawed heroes and the strong feisty woman who save them. I connected to all of the characters and became wrapped up in the romance. The romance was at times hot and swoon-worthy, but it was mostly implied with flowery words. The banter and plotting between all parties had me giggling like a school girl. Speaking of schools, I read a few of the School for Heiresses series and some of those characters appear. This was a delightful surprise and I hope we see more. While the story is completely predictable, there were a few twists and turns that had me reading well into the night to ensure I got my HEA.
If you are looking for a historical romance, with fun, flawed characters, laced with humor then The Truth about Lord Stoneville is the perfect read for you. I completed this in a single day and loved the rush it gave me. I purchased A Hellion in Her Bed, book two in the series and hope to bring you a review next month.
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