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First thing that came to mind after I finished reading this book: Why is this only a novella?!? I wanted to read more!
Next thing that came to mind: Must buy the rest of the series -- which I did, and was very thankful that they are $0.99 for the next 2 books and $2.99 for Books 4 and 5. So, I am taking a break from Grace Burrowes' Lonely Lords and am enjoying Lily Maxton's Sisters of Scandal. ^_^
Elizabeth, Lady Thornhill, is out of mourning and is reluctantly re-entering society. If she were given a choice, she would be content to live out the rest of her days quietly as a widow, but her mother intends for Elizabeth to remarry as quickly as possible.
Her mother's plan seems to be going smoothly, especially when Elizabeth's husband's cousin, Michael Grey, the new Earl of Thornhill, starts to pay special attention to Elizabeth. Many women in Elizabeth's position would have jumped at the chance of marrying again -- in Elizabeth's case, it would mean remaining the Countess of Thornhill. But Elizabeth isn't convinced that she and Michael would suit. Yes, he seems kinder and more considerate than her late husband -- but, the fact remains that, despite being married for many years, Elizabeth remained childless, and she knows how important it is to secure the succession. Then there's the part of Elizabeth that wonders if there is something more for her to experience.
A chance encounter at a library provides Elizabeth with that opportunity: Cale Cameron is a successful bookseller and owner of the lending library. He has a reputation for being a rake, and Elizabeth is initially wary. But, as their conversation continues, Elizabeth finds herself intrigued and interested in what Cale has to offer.
The affair being referred to in the title lasts seven days, where Elizabeth and Cale agree that their arrangement is only to satisfy their mutual curiosity -- no strings attached, and no promises for tomorrow. It proves to be an enlightening experience for both of them: Elizabeth has never experienced that degree of passion or pleasure ... or intimacy, and Cale has never met anyone as open or as unpretentious as Elizabeth.
But reality looms, and when Elizabeth realizes that she is falling too deeply in love with Cale, she decides to end things and walk away. I admire Elizabeth for her determination -- she knew what she wanted from the relationship, and took control of her life's direction, but I admire her even more for admitting that she had made the wrong decision. Cale also thought he could go back to his life before Elizabeth had walked into it -- and he tries valiantly to be indifferent to the feelings inside him, but, as they say, love cannot be denied.
Admitting love is just one part of the problem: Elizabeth is a (dowager) countess, and Cale is a bookseller. Elizabeth would need to gain her family's approval, and, then society's approval. Or, approval be damned, and choose to turn her back on everything she was born to.
I really loved Maxton's characters and the pace of this story -- at 68 pages, this story is quite short, but she was able to tell such a complete story, and leave a very good impression with those pages.
The Affair is the first instalment in Lily Maxton's Sisters of Scandal series. To find out more about Lily Maxton and her books, click below: