The ribald private life of novelist Countess Marina Wyatt is the stuff of public scandal -- and it doesn't hurt the sale of her romances either. But she's totally unprepared for her consuming new affair with Jasper James Hedges, noted art appraiser and her former lover's uncle.The Edge of Impropriety is a book that took me by surprise. Frankly, I didn't know what to expect since this is my first book by Pam Rosenthal.
In Marina, Jasper sees a work of art of another kind. And for all of Marina's passionate inventions, nothing can compare to what Jasper delivers -- an erotic and dangerous voyage to the edge of impropriety and beyond.
I found this to be an excellent historical romance with a mixture of fictional, historical characters, and/or based on real people of the times, peppered with beautiful details of time and place. I loved the way the writer allows us glimpses of the ton from the outside -- through the eyes of those who resided on the periphery, even the tradesmen. Her observations from that point of view were quite refreshing and kept me turning the pages.
Her hero and heroine are presented as mature adults with responsibilities and not-so-pretty pasts. You must keep reading to really get to know Marina, but there is nothing coy or disingenuous about her -- she is who she is and I loved her character. Jasper is easier to know and is presented as straight forward in his dealings with Marina and complex in his relationship with his family. I found their encounters to be very passionate -- nothing coy in that regard either -- although I found the way Rosenthal went about writing these scenes quite interesting.
For me, the way Ms. Rosenthal resolved conflicts in this book were also refreshing. Secondary characters are interesting and add much to this story. There's a secondary romance in the book that was both sweet and unexpected and a twist at the end to a bit of a mystery. The ending to this story was unusual, yet appropriate in my opinion. The only minor problem I found with the book was the length of some of the internal dialogues which were a bit long winded at times.
Visit the author here. Read an excerpt here.
Originally posted at Musings of a Bibliophile August 6, 2009