Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Blog Tour: Marriage Minded Lord by Sandra Sookoo (Review + Giveaway)


Love Saves the World would like to welcome Sandra Sookoo and her book, Marriage Minded Lord, the first book in her Darrington Family series.

Sandra is hosting a tour-wide Rafflecopter commenter giveaway for a $10.00 Amazon or B&N Gift Card and a Swag Pack at each stop. To see where Sandra will be stopping by this week, click here.

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About the book:

Blurb:
When an outrageous meeting leads to inappropriate desire, will family honor and duty destroy a chance for true love?

Felix Alan Darrington, Earl of Swandon has been summoned to London by his mother. Though he has obligations to Parliament, his meddling parent has reminded him it’s time to do his duty, marry and provide her with grandchildren. But Felix refuses to wed under dictate. He’ll choose the woman and the time, and if he’s lucky he’ll marry for love.

Clarice Delacroix is a lady’s companion. Though she’s an illegitimate daughter of a duke, her mother was a French opera singer which puts Clarice firmly between worlds. Possessed of a quick temper and a penchant for making pastries, she longs for adventure, romance and acceptance, but she refuses to be anyone’s mistress. Her mother’s life is not for her.

As Felix schemes to spend more time with Clarice and find out why the Frenchwoman intrigues him, the titled lady who wishes to be his countess conspires to keep them apart. Felix quickly finds that balancing relationships between family and love is not as easy as first thought, or as black and white. Someone in his circle isn’t telling the truth, and the repercussions could prove deadly to Clarice’s future.


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My Review:

Marriage Minded Lord features Felix, Lord Swandon and earl who is being pressured by his mother to marry and secure the succession. Felix enters the marriage mart with great reluctance and is chagrined when he finally finds a woman who fascinates and excites him. Unfortunately, she is the paid companion to Olivia, Lady Drummond -- a widow who has set her cap on Felix.

Aware of the class disparity, Felix tries to suppress his interest in her and focuses his attentions on courting a "proper lady" but, the more that he gets to know Clarice Delacroix, the deeper his regard for her becomes.

Sandra Sookoo's novel focuses on the snobbery that existed within the Ton, the emphasis on "us not them" was highlighted several times and became the central problem for Felix: does he do his duty to his title by following the rules of society or the rules of his heart? At the beginning, he tried to straddle the line by pretending courtship to Olivia, Lady Drummond, while secretly seeking the attentions of Clarice, Olivia's companion.

I was a bit uncomfortable with Felix's decision to do so, but I understand his confusion. The rules of society and his position in it have been so ingrained into his mind that it was almost impossible to break free of it.

Clarice was a firecracker of a heroine -- very feisty -- or too feisty, in fact. My jaw literally dropped when we first meet her at Lady Drummond's dinner party: overheard insulting the guests (in French) and then proceeding to dump the dessert on her mistress's lap without a backward glance. Clarice struggles with her limbo-like position. She's the bastard daughter of a duke but she can also trace her bloodlines to French nobility. Clarice was initially wary of Felix: another titled man trying to get under the skirts of another French woman and she rebuffs him quite successfully -- but she also cannot deny the attraction she feels for him.

The contrast between Olivia and Clarice also served as a commentary on what a lady is: is she one by birth or one by action? The author does a good job at hinting at the nefarious aspects of Olivia's character and I kept wanting and waiting for all her wicked deeds exposed.

One scene stands out throughout the novel and that was in Chapter 6, when Felix finally makes a decision to follow his heart and invites Lady Drummond, Clarice and a few other friends over for an intimate dinner at his house.

..."Sharing food has a way of bringing people together, no matter the generation, class division or nationality. Food is the common bond we all share."

"Yes, this is true." He glanced at her. "I wanted to do something to impress you, and what better way to do that than be here in the kitchen."

"I beg your pardon?" No one ever did anything to single her out.

His grin brimmed with self-consciousness. "You are comfortable here. I want to show you I can leave the lord and master veneer behind and indulge in other pursuits, and I did just tell you I wished to spend more time with you."
- p. 166

To Felix's credit, once he made the decision to pursue Clarice, he did so with single-minded determination (and sincerity).

There were moments when I cringed at some of the improprieties in the dialogue and had mixed feelings about it: on one hand, the author exposes the cruel haughtiness of the titled class but it made me wonder if a gentleman (or lady) would ever lose her politeness and speak so brashly.

"This is Mr. Guy Fournier. He's Lord Landry's valet and an acquaintance of mine from a few years ago. I had no idea he was even in London, let alone so close to Mayfair ..." Her voice trailed off. She fluttered her hands as if she tried to search for words. Eventually, she let them drop to her sides.

"Fournier," Felix said in lieu of an introduction. He had no interest what the man's function in society was. His only goal was to separate him from Clarice. "I'm surprised Landry allows his valet mingle with members of the Ton. I would think you'd be abovestairs, preparing to dress him for dinner."

Yes it was beneath him to mention a man's profession in open company, but Felix was beyond caring. ...
- p. 129

The conversation between Felix and Fournier continues and includes a challenge to a game of darts and then a challenge to a "friendly" bout of fisticuffs, all during a party.

I thought Sandra Sookoo was able to tell the story she had intended and the theme of the story was very clear. Overall, this was a satisfactory read.

Disclosure: I received this book from the tour organizer as part of the book tour. Thank you to Tasty Book Tours and to Sandra Sookoo for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.

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About the author:

Sandra is a writer of romantic fiction. Her portfolio includes historical, contemporary, sci-fi, and paranormal romances in full-length books as well as shorts and novellas. No matter if the heat level is spicy or sweet, she loves to blend genres and oftentimes will add humor to the mix.

When not immersed in creating new worlds and engaging characters, Sandra likes to read, bake, taste new teas, watch The Big Bang Theory, and Psych as well as Finding Bigfoot and travel. Her favorite place to spend vacation hours is Walt Disney World: it’s where dreams come true and the soul can play. When she’s not writing, she’s keeping things interesting at her Believing is Seeing blog or spending time with her husband, who patiently answers questions she has about men, sci-fi-related subjects, and the odd “what if”.

Sandra loves to hear from her readers. You can write to her at sandrasookoo@yahoo.com, visit her website at www.sandrasookoo.com, or look her up on Facebook and Twitter. All links are provided on the front page of her website.

Author Links
Website: http://www.sandrasookoo.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sandra-Sookoo-author/149098339126
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SandraSookoo
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2931453.Sandra_Sookoo
Blog: http://sandrasookoo.wordpress.com/

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Sandra is hosting a tour-wide Rafflecopter commenter giveaway for a $10.00 Amazon or B&N Gift Card and a Swag Pack at each stop. To see where Sandra will be stopping by this week, click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

14 comments:

  1. Great review. I look forward to reading this book. Thanks for the giveaway.
    lisahelo(at)outlook(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  2. This was a great review. Thanks for sharing. michelle_willms@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, Tin! I had to chuckle at the description of Clarice. She sounds a bit like me. I love to make pastries and have a little bit of a temper that I try to curb. Actually, it’s a tendency to say what I think. Gotta work on that! :-)

    Thanks for sharing your great review and this generous giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What an interesting book! Thanks for sharing the fantastic review.
    bhometchko(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ooh! I can't wait to read this. It sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for sharing :)
    Lori

    lorih824 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  6. The on the internet often says, "I noticed we had some shadi problems, but I didn't think they were that serious. I never considered she (or he) would really keep. She kept telling me, but I didn't believe her."

    ReplyDelete

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