His Mask of Retribution
by Margaret McPhee
Marianne's life has not been one of the typical society miss. Three years ago she experienced a fate that no woman should have to experience. Now, on the way to her wedding a highwayman kidnaps her.
Rafe is determined to find the proof that the Earl of Misbourne had his parents killed. If he has to kidnap an innocent woman, then he will. It's only his bad luck that he finds himself drawn to Marianne as he never has been to another woman. When Misbourne refuses to release the letter Rafe needs, he knows he has no choice but to send Marianne back. That doesn't mean he is going to give up his search for proof…or Marianne.
Marianne doesn't know what's going on or who to believe between her father and Rafe, but she knows she's tired of being used as a pawn between them. One way or another she's going to figure it out.
I have to say, I really shouldn't have liked this book. Usually, I can't stand it when two people just meet and they are already so attracted they forget everything else in their life. And while that is technically true for Rafe and Marianne, the way that Ms. McPhee wrote it, it was more that they were intrigued enough with each other to continue circling. The forced marriage plotline has been done so many times, that I find I have grown tired of it. Usually that plotline is used to give the characters a chance to grow to love one another, but Rafe and Marianne were already falling for one another so it worked. I believed that Rafe and Marianne really were attracted and then fell in love with each other. It wasn't forced for the sake of timing.
One thing that did really bother me was Marianne's brother. I know that authors have to pick which side characters they are going to fully flesh out and which ones have to only be glanced over, but Marianne's brother spent a good amount of time in the storyline. He was a fairly major character in the storyline, but he was never fully captured as an individual person. I barely knew his name, the only real point you understood about him was that he was protective of his sister.
Overall, a good read, and worth getting through the introductory slow phase. This is the third book in the series "Gentlemen of Disrepute." I didn't know going into the book that it was part of a series. It was only when I was done and I watched all the secrets unfold that I contemplated whether they had been dealt with in previous books. When I finished the book, I went on the hunt for the previous two books to see what I was in fact missing. Marianne had a previous broken engagement that was eluded to a few times, but the way that it was written it didn't affect my understanding of this story. While you do not need to read the other book to understand this one, the storyline is connected to the first book in the series, Unmasking the Duke's Mistress, ikf reading in order is important to you.
“What a tangled web Marianne is in.”
September 2012, 288 pages
Beautiful Marianne Winslow has had her share of suitors—and her share of scandal. Three engagements, no wedding… And the ton is beginning to talk.
Smoldering Rafe Knight has lived the past fifteen years of his life with one goal—avenging the death of his parents. His final target? The Earl of Misbourne. The perfect bartering tool? The Earl's daughter, Marianne…
Held at gunpoint on Hounslow Heath, Marianne is taken captive by a mysterious masked highwayman. Her father must pay the price—but Marianne finds more than vengeance in the highwayman's warm amber eyes…