Wednesday, April 18, 2012

REVIEW: A Dangerous Beauty by Sophia Nash

Widows Club, Book One

TBR Challenge April 2012

Four months in a row meeting this challenge. I'm floored. The theme for this month's TBR Challenge [hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian HERE] is to read a book that's been languishing in your TBR pile by a 'new-to-you' author--an author whose works you haven't read yet. I sort of had it in my mind to read The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley, but decided to look through my box of unread historical romances just to see what other books I had on hand that were written by authors I haven't yet read. I came upon A Dangerous Beauty by Sophia Nash and had one of those "oh yeah.. I remember getting this" moments. I bought A Dangerous Beauty at the NJ RWA literacy signing back in 2007, before I even started blogging! I met Sophia Nash that day and so my copy is even author signed! I flipped open the book and read what Ms. Nash wrote to me:
"To beautiful Christine - I hope you enjoy the first in the series! Best, Sophia Nash" 
How nice is that? Of course I new right away that THIS was the book I ought to read for this month's challenge. I'm so glad I did! It was great fun.

Rosamunde Baird grew up the apple of her father's eye and adored by her older brothers and her younger sister Sylvia. Raised by her father the Earl with the manners of a proper lady, Rosamunde's spontaneous sense of adventure lands her in great scandal when she is seen unchaperoned on a private stretch of beach giving the heir apparent Duke Henry a kiss. She refuses his marriage proposal because he admits he loves someone else and Rosamunde is then cast out by her family and banished from the parish by the local vicar, only to charge heedlessly into a marriage of convenience to a Scottish squire who is nothing but cruel to her. She's eventually widowed and forced to flee her home yet again in fear of her husband's brother and heir to the estate. Rosamunde and her ever loyal sister Sylvia are now without a home and practically penniless and have no choice but to accept the unusual invitation from the now deceased Duke's grandmother, the Dowager Duchess Merceditas 'Ata' St. Aubyn to join her secret Widow's Club.

Luc St. Aubyn is the mysterious grandson of the dowager duchess and current Duke of Helston, also known as Lord Fire & Ice for "exuding blistering passion at night and frost the morning after." He supports his grandmother's endeavor with her secret Widow's Club to help young widows find happiness again either through placement as a companion or governess or by introducing the young women to potential new husbands. The Duke normally avoids the widows altogether, but there's something special about Rosamunde that captures his attention--perhaps it's that she meets his sarcasm and wit with some of her own or perhaps he senses the dim spark that used to dance in her now sad eyes. Whatever it is, he's mesmerized by this young woman and finds himself wanting to re-ignite her verve for life.

Rosamunde's spirit has been stamped out by the betrayal, loss and abuse she has experienced from her father and then her late husband. She's lost a lot of the confidence she used to have, but she's still very courageous. She does her best to hold her head up high, which is challenging given the bleak time in her life.

Luc keeps to himself and minds his own business, which supports his mysteriousness, but part of his secrecy is also that he's writing a book under a pen name. Like Rosamunde, he's also harboring guilt over some family secrets of his own. Luc has a fantastic and intelligent sense of humor laced heavily with wit and sarcasm and a big heart, although he tries to hide the latter. He shares his sense of humor with his grandmother who is equally charming. The relationship between the duke and his grandmother is based on obvious love and respect for one another and is a wonderful bonus in this story. In fact, the dowager herself is a great character who truly added much needed kindness and compassion to Rosamunde's and the other widows' lives.

It was a joy to watch Luc rekindle Rosamunde's sense of adventure and bring a spark to her eyes again as it was likewise really nice to see Luc opening up and actually talking to someone about the sadness in his family. Luc gives Rosamunde the wonderful gift of passion and confidence--things she never thought she'd feel again in her lifetime. In return, Rosamunde shows Luc joy and wonder that depth of friendship and love can bring into one's life because for the first time in his life, he craves the company of one woman beyond just one night.

A Dangerous Beauty is a sweet story of courage and love written with an unusual but winsome combination of heartbreak and humor. The dialogue is witty, the passion sweet and sexy and the characters very likable.

A Dangerous Beauty is well written and gets 3.5 out of 5 stars from me as it could have benefitted from a bit more depth into the Helston family problems--Luc's past, Ata's past, Luc's financial problems and his need to marry an heiress. I definitely plan on reading more from Sophia Nash and in fact, Book One in her most recent The Royal Entourage series titled Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea sounds very appealing.. You can read a passage from Chapter One on the author's website that will leave you dangling--literally--for more!


Visit author Sophia Nash at her website


  1. Yay you, keeping up! This one sounds familiar--as in I remember hearing about it, but haven't read it. I'm glad you liked it. I will keep my eye out for it.

  2. Oh, thanks for this review, I have been wondering about this author for a while, I think I'm going to give he a try. :)

  3. Yay for making it Christine! You and me, woohoo!! LOL, wonder who's the first to fall off the wagon :P We should make a bet or something. Might motivate us to keep going on :)

    I read this one and probably still have somewhere in my library. I have to say though I don't remember much about it ^_^;

  4. WooHoo! on making it to month #4! I've had a couple of close calls with my reading mojo, but luckily have been able to stick with it. Wouldn't be very keen for the host of the challenge to fall off the wagon ;)

    Nash is an author I've never read before....and shockingly, I don't think I have any of her books in the TBR! This one sounds cute.....

  5. Yes! Have this on my TBR pile so I'm happy to see the good review. I love reading the story behind how the book got to be in your TBR pile. :)

  6. Sorry I'm late with my comment, and hey, I'm glad you made it too! I almost didn't make it this month, and ended up not following the theme. I keep hitting the wall and DNF'ng EVERTHING I pick up after the first few chapters! I guess it's a good way to clean up my TBR pile. LOL

    I don't have anything in my TBR by this author, although I've seen her name pop up more and more lately. It sounds like a nice read. :) Thanks for the review. :)

  7. Hello ladies! Thanks for checking out my TBR review of A Dangerous Beauty by Sophia Nash. :)

    @ Phyl ... Congrats to you for keeping up, too! Although if memory serves me correct, you manage to do that just fine over the years of this challenge. ;)

    @ Alex .. This book was very cute. Did you click to the excerpt of Nash's latest series? That first book sounds fun!

    @ nath .. LOL! A little bet among friends, huh? How about winner's choice of book at the end?

    This one is a cute story, but I could see how it wouldn't be outright memorable after a year or two. Still a nice read. I don't regret my time spent with these characters at all.

    @ Wendy ... Anyone who knows me well knows I am terrible at following through with promised reviews--especially with a due date! So the fact that I'm 4 for 4 right now? Complete shocker.

    Hosting the In Death Series Challenge on my blog has definitely contributed to me sticking with this series--Not that it's not an enjoyable series--it is! But that whole reading to a schedule thing is so freakin' hard for me. I'm definitely of the 'pick up the next book on a whim' kind of girl. Oh and I have missed a few months here and there, and as much as I hate to do that, I don't worry about it. I don't want to jinx you by saying I forgive you in advance for missing a TBR review one month, so instead I'll just say, you got this! ; )

    @ Leslie .. Sweet! I like this one when you get around to it!

    @ Hilcia .. Oh darling. Why on earth are you apologizing for being late to comment. I haven't even gotten around to anyone's TBR Challenge reviews yet! Not enough hours in the day! If not tonight, then definitely tomorrow. Gabe is away and it's supposed to pour tomorrow so I'm declaring it read, blog and laundry day tomorrow! :D

    Anyway, so sorry to hear you've still been struggling with finding the right book to read. SO frustrating!

  8. I hadn't heard of this author before now but this sounds like a book that I would definitely enjoy! I love finding new authors :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one!

  9. You're on, Christine! :)

  10. @ samantha .. I'm glad I finally read Sophia Nash! I'm looking forward to another one by her.

    @ nath .. *gulp* NOW the pressure is REALLY on! lol ;)


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