Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne du Maurier by Tatiana de Rosnay
I really enjoyed the author's forward where she talks about not wanting to simply report Daphne du Maurier's life but to really show who she was. Daphne du Maurier wasn't just the author of Rebecca, Jamaica Inn, My Cousin Rachel, The Birds, and countless other books but she was a fascinating and complex woman in her own right.
However, the writing style of the book just didn't work for me. I enjoyed the author's commitment to trying to show a more personal view of du Maurier but there was a certain sing songy quality of the prose that I struggled with such as passages like this:
"Why go on vacation when their house is perfect? Gerald whines, and Muriel smiles at him, indefatigable, just a bit tense, comforting him, trying to keep him entertained."
I'm not sure if it's an issue with translation but 472 pages of this were a challenge. While Daphne du Maurier is a woman worth learning more about this biography wasn't the way to do it. Rating: Not For Me
Never Entice an Earl (One Scandalous Season #2) by Lily Dalton
Lord Cormack Northmore is desperate to avenge his sister which is what brings him to the Blue Swan, a notorious brothel, just in time to save lady's maid "Kate". When a chance encounter reveals that "Kate" is in fact Lady Daphne Bevington - part of the society he is trying to break into - he decides to blackmail her. All she has to do is provide him introductions and invitations and in return he will keep her secrets. Daphne will do anything to protect and help her lady's maid and best friend which is what puts her on the collision path with the very attractive Cormack. Both on a mission and both trying to save those they love but could those actions be putting them in danger?
I'm typically not a fan of a revenge plot - especially not when it involves one character using the other to further a personal agenda. Nor am I a fan of fake identities. However, I was pleased with how Dalton handled both issues. The fake identity was very short lived and while Cormack did want Daphne to help him become accepted into society he was in no way unclear on his motives and intentions. The romance itself was heavy on bickering with lots of lust but I did feel like there was a connection between the two. Their priorities were similar and when they weren't arguing they did really seem to understand each other. While this wasn't my favorite romance I've read this year I did find it an enjoyable read. We meet the characters from the next book in this one and I was so intrigued by one I will definitely be reading the third book in the series. Rating: Good