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Wednesday, October 15, 2008:
"The Mistress Diaries" by Julianne MacLean (2008)

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (July 29, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061456845
ISBN-13: 978-0061456848

He told me he would treat my heart with great care. He was lying of course, for it was all a very clever, skillful seduction...
The night I met Lord Vincent Sinclair, son of the Duke of Pembroke, was the night I lost control. I never imagined that I, Cassandra Montrose, could engage in such wicked, wanton behavior with a man I hardly knew. But in that fateful moment, alone in his coach, the passion I felt for him was undeniable, even though I knew that after my surrender I was unlikely to ever see my lover again.
Until a fateful secret brought me to his door...
I always believed my pride would prevent me from becoming any man's mistress - especially a rogue like Vincent, who cares for nothing but his inheritance. Yet I have very good reason to remain in his life. If only he did not tempt me so...
This is book 2 in the Pembroke bride series, the first being "In Her Wildest Fantasies". I've enjoyed several of Julianne MacLean's books, most notably her American Heiress series, especially "My Own Private Hero", so I've kept up with her over the years. The last few books haven't been quite as rewarding, but I haven't been turned off from them yet.
In this book, as in the first, each of the four Sinclair men must marry before Christmas or lose their inheritance. To make matters worse, the bride must be someone who their rather mad father approves of, and his reasoning is as clear as mud. This go-around belongs to Vincent, whom we learned in the first book despises his older brother Devon for betraying him. Vincent finds a beautiful, titled woman to become his bride, and is even more pleased to learn she has no fanciful notions of love and fidelity, as he has no intentions of promising such nonsense.
Just when Vincent thinks things are going smoothly, a woman from his past shows up at his doorstep with a surprise, and he learns he's a father of a baby girl. Not quite believing it, he confronts Cassandra, the woman he spent one equisite night loving, and sees for himself that the little bundle is in fact his child. One he would have never known of if Cassandra wasn't dying.
Only, well, she's not, because the doctor goofed and she only had a sore throat. So, she's going to live! And Vincent wants to be a part of his daughter's life, so he temporarily sets her up in the dower house so he may discreetly visit everyday without his fiancee' finding out. Now he must resist repeating their one passionate night together, only he doesn't want to. And then his financee' does find out about his mistress, because there are servants, who always gossip, and Leticia, the fiancee', whom you may remember from the first book, tries to get rid of Cassandra by plotting with the Duke, and...
Okay, I'm sorry, it's really not as bad as all that. It's actually rather a good story (I just know Ms. MacLean has done better many times over), and Vincent truly loves his child right from the first moment. He stopped believing in love years ago, and he already knows he's going to cheat on his wife, so he decides the next best thing to do is to make Cassandra his mistress. Only the stubborn chit refuses, and he reluctantly goes along with it so he can continue to see his child. But their attraction is strong and inevitably one night it consumes them repeatedly.
Slowly but surely Cassandra and Vincent fall in love, but they are conflicted! Cassandra was married once to a man who was in love with another woman, so her's was not a happy marriage. She doesn't want to be the other woman. And Vincent knows his father will never approve of him marrying the mother of his illegitimate child, and he must have his inheritance.
And then there's Iris, a servant who lights the fires, and the curse of non-stop rain, and a birthmark that the Duke thinks is the sun but is really not there's a lot going on here, and it's kinda fun and mysterious and even romantic. I did not like Vincent much in the first book, but he was much more likeable here. I adored Cassandra, found her to be quite fierce when she needed to be, especially concerning her daughter. Leticia was horrid, as only a spoiled brat can be. I was just waiting for there to be...more. I don't know, more passion, more intrigue, something. But as I'm curious to know the fate of the remaining brothers, and how the curse will be lifted, I do plan to read the next one. Even if the series gets a "meh" from me.
Rating: *** 1/2 out of *****



  1. It doesn’t sound like a book of the year but it does sound intriguing and might be a fun read. How did you like the first book?

  2. I've not read any of her work. It's too bad that this book wasn't better because it sounds like it had potential.

  3. LeeAnn, I thought the first book was similar to the second one. It was just "okay". It was one of those stories where both the hero & heroine were keeping a secret from the other, yet then the hero gets all made because of the heroine's secret (rolling eyes).

    Tracy, I really loved her American Heiress series, which is what makes it so disappointing.

  4. I agree - I loved the American Heiress series, and this series has been a bit disappointing in relation to that one. However, I thought compared to In My Wildest Fantasies, this book wins a Pulitzer. Seriously, I disliked the first in the series that much. And I actually quite enjoyed this one.

    (ok, maybe Pulitzer is pushing it, LOL, but the first was that bad, and this one is really pretty good)

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