Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sample Reading #7: Married by Midnight by Julianne MacLean + a free e-book

Sample Reading

This is a new feature on my blog called Sample Reading. This is where I will talk about book samples that I've gotten online. I'll read the sample and will answer the very important question:

Will I buy it?

This week, I'm trying out Married by Midnight by Julianne MacLean. This is an e-novella that completes (?) her Pembroke Palace/Sinclair Family series. I was actually surprised to hear that this book had been released but I am happy to see that Garrett is finally getting his story. One of my all-time favorite books, The Mistress Diaries, is book 2 in this series.

The Blurb:

For seven years, Lord Garrett Sinclair-- the ruggedly handsome illegitimate son of the Duke of Pembroke--has been traveling abroad with no intention of ever returning home to Pembroke Palace… until his father commands that he must marry by Christmas in order to thwart a family curse or lose his inheritance forever. Haunted by a tragic accident that has hardened his soul, Garrett entrusts his brothers to seek out a bride who will agree to a marriage in name only. Her reward? A sizable share of his inheritance--payable immediately after the wedding night….

Lady Anne Douglas has been ruined by scandal and disowned by her father. Facing a life of poverty and spinsterhood, she leaps at the generous terms of the marriage contract to ensure her independence. But the charade of a two-week engagement proves more of a challenge than either anticipated when they cannot resist the intoxicating lure of the marriage bed. Anne knows they will part ways after the wedding. Will she dare risk her heart for two weeks of pleasure in the arms of an irresistible rogue? Or will her surrender become her undoing after a most unexpected turn of events mere hours before the wedding?
- From Julianne MacLean's website

I got the sample from: Amazon, Kindle
# of Pages: Prologue and the first 2 chapters plus the first 4 paragraphs of chapter 3 of a 180-page novella.

My Impressions:
This one was wow. I love the tone and the pace of the story. On the day of the wedding and Lady Anne is preparing to enter into a loveless marriage that will bring her financial security and freedom.

Except, it isn't loveless. Not for Anne.

Then MacLean tells us the story of what happened 3 weeks earlier and how this marriage was contracted between Anne's uncle and the Sinclairs.

It is revealed that Anne's reputation was ruined years ago and she has lived a very secluded life ever since.

I love MacLean's writing in this story. The first chapter begins with a description of the winter scene as "a hostile blanket of crusty white snow" -- I thought this was a subtle commentary on the oppressiveness of purity. And this is further emphasized by Anne's uncle (who seemed a bit like a Dickensian character) who talked about Anne in terms of her lack of purity.

"She may not be pure, but I daresay she's appealing to the eye."
- loc 39

"As I said before, she may not be pure, but she is loyal."
- loc 74

There's also a bit of dramatic irony: Anne wonders what could be wrong about Garrett that he could not find a wife for himself -- and Garrett also wonders what sort of woman would agree to such a bargain.

...he supposed he was no better than a whore -- selling himself for money -- and he feared he was about to marry a woman cut from the same cloth.
- loc 180

Price: $3.11 on Amazon for Kindle

Will I buy it? Yes! I'm actually very excited to read this one! How does Anne manage to fall in love with Garrett? And will the feeling be mutual before the wedding?

It's also mentioned in Chapter 2 that there's an accident that continues to haunt Garrett. How will this particular "handicap" affect Garrett's relationship with Anne?

I think this book will be a great way for fans of the series to revisit the Sinclair Family.  ^_^  (At this point, I am not sure how well this will read as a stand-alone.)

* * *

Free Julianne MacLean e-book!

If Julianne MacLean is a new-to-you author, she has a short story that's free on Kindle, iBooks and Nook. (This is accurate as of August 11, 2012 -- please check again before you click buy.)

The Rebel is a prequel to her Highlanders trilogy and was originally part of the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance.

Enjoy! ^_^



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