Lady Emily Longesley married the man she had loved all her life, Adrian, and hoped for a happy marriage. Only several days after they were married, however, he removed to London, and she hasn’t seen him in the three years since.
Discontent with the state of her marriage, Emily goes to London to meet with her errant husband, and bring some kind of resolution to her situation. When she arrives, though, she finds that he is blind, and does not know her voice. So, she schemes to hide her identity, and trick her husband into falling for her, while he believes that he has found an irresistible mistress.
Lady Folbroke’s Delicious Deception by Christine Merrill is a regency romance, heavy on sensuality and light on plot.
Not being a regular reader of romance, I was a little shocked at the bluntness of it–scarcely thirty pages in, Merrill casually writes that Adrian “sagged against [Emily] so that he could suck and bite at the tops of her breasts . . . as though he could not wait a moment longer to bare them, and take the nipples between his lips.” This sets the tone for the whole book, which is a series of such scenes, interspersed with some development of the characters or the plot.
The character development is, until the end, fairly good. Emily is swept up in her scheme and Adrian, all unknowing, falls for it completely, in a very believable progression. There is perhaps an anachronistic degree of modern sensibilities toward the treatment of the blind, but that is easily forgiven. Sadly, Adrian’s realization (or, perhaps, revelation) that he loves Emily, who he does not realize is the same woman as his new mistress, is not so believable. If we are to judge the man by his actions, he has given little indication of such feelings, and we have not been sufficiently privy to his thoughts to learn of his feelings in that way.
The plot is very thin–the summary I gave earlier is essentially complete, save for a few events and minor details. Emily masquerades as a nameless married woman, seeking to have an affair with Adrian since her own husband is inattentive. The bulk of the remaining events are either the two of them meeting or arranging to meet. It is not a plot worthy of either the characters it contains or the three hundred pages that contain it.
Despite the weakness of its plot, Lady Folbroke’s Delicious Deception is a fairly entertaining read. It seems that the Kindle edition is only available outside the United States, so the rest of us will have to get the paperback edition, instead. Read it if the premise interests you, but otherwise, give it a miss.
Disclosure: This review is based on a copy acquired free in a promotional giveaway.