What will you do to prove yourself? Will you just do anything? The answer is explicitly implied in Sabrina Jeffries’ groggily funny, heart-wrenching historical romance of Swanlea Spinsters series, A Dangerous Love. Set in early 1800s’ England, as many other historical romances commonly are, it is an engaging family drama filled with hatred, revenge, rightful wrongdoings, emotions, and, of course, blazing love and sexuality. A Dangerous Love is not a sweet, sappy love story, though it still has the basic “ended in living happily ever after” premise, and it definitely will not lead you to adore the main characters. Readers might want to prepare themselves for something tricky and treacherous, for that’s what this book is all about.
It all starts with an agreement between Griff Knighton and his man of affairs, Daniel Brennan. In exchange for an enormous amount of money, Daniel agrees to change places with Griff as they come visiting the Laverick family in Swan Park so that Griff can sneak around and steal his parents’ marriage license. After years and years of suffering from having a bastard status, it is Griff’s chance to vindicate his mother and get his legal title back, plus to expand and strengthen his business even more. But meeting Lady Rosalind proves to be a disaster, both for his carefully arranged plan and his heart. Soon, it is not enough for him to only seduce the already suspicious, plump and smart Lady Rosalind to smooth his way, and it’s definitely not enough just to satisfy his St. Peter. His cold heart is clamoring to be heard for the first time in his entire life, asking for something that requires him to sacrifice not only his plan, but also his future, his rights, and the legal status of his existence.
A Dangerous Love has one of the best characterizations of all Sabrina Jeffries’ works of romance I’ve read so far. Griff Knighton is not a likeable hero, he is selfish, stubborn, unforgiving, holding a grudge everywhere he goes. He may be well-built and handsome, but that’s very much beside the point. He spends his life trying to fit in, to get what he wants, what he thinks he deserves, and to prove himself respectable and noble to anyone who wants to listen. His heart is so full of hatred and revenge, merciless to a fault. That’s why falling in love with Rosalind is confusing him. Not to mention that Rosalind is not just another “lady of the noble family”. She is not only scandalously brave, emotional, well read, and don’t forget stubborn, too, but also determined and true to her heart. She is not physically pretty, either, with a plump build, round face, and oddly red hair. All these are combined into a heart-wrenching, mind-squeezing relationship guaranteed to make the readers mad.
I don’t think bringing up the subject of revenge in a love story, moreover in a historical romance, is something unusual. But Jeffries composes it in a very vehement narrative with such a vengeful character as Griff Knighton that every sentence and the dialogues occurred in between radiate hatred and tiring emotions. Jeffries’ typical sense of humor is still there, thankfully, and her concoction of desire and romanticism leaves us dangerously high on its atmosphere. Though sprinkled with explicit sex scenes, some of which might make your pores oozing sweat, A Dangerous Love is not merely one of those bodice-ripper novels you look down your nose at. It’s something more. It has a great story, unusual, hateful characters, nice humor, meaningful dialogues, strong emotions and all. The only disappointment is its unbelievably unrealistic plot. It happens a lot in many romance stories, I don’t doubt that, but falling in love only in one week and finding out that it’s truly our true love in life are just too much for me.On the positive side, it has the best scene of all, the best scene that forced me to cry when reading it. It’s in the last chapter before the epilogue.
In conclusion, A Dangerous Love by Sabrina Jeffries is not only an entertaining story to devour, or even a light reading to wash our stress away and make our day. It’s something to ponder about, something which gives us more than just a love story and a lot of sex. This is the kind of historical romance that I’d highly recommend.