By: Anne Stuart
Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
11hrs and 19 mins
Whispersyn for Voice-ready
A long string of tragic loves haunts Viscount Benedick Francis Alistair Rohan. Cool and cynical, he’s weary of life’s fickle games and wants a prim and proper wife he can ignore while indulging his sensual appetites.
Lady Melisande Carstairs is nothing less than a tornado storming into Benedick’s measured life. Possessed of boundless energy and the soul of a reformer, Melisande always conquers, whether it’s saving the souls of soiled doves or seducing the man she’s inconveniently fallen for. When she informs Benedick that his brother’s newly revived Heavenly Host has graduated from simple carnal debauchery to sadistic violence, he’s compelled to investigate, undercover. Under those covers, however, is Melisande herself, playing a dangerous game in the name of justice.
Shameless is the latest released in the House of Rohan Series, and I sincerely hope is not the last, as the 4th edition, this book doesn’t disappoint. I absolutely enjoyed this audiobook.
The story of Benedict and Melisande was wonderful; the chemistry between them was sizzling, and their antagonistic moments just added more flavor to their relationship.
Melisande is a great heroine; she’s a strong and a confident woman, and even though she’s not your typical, pure and innocent protagonist, she’s still very naive when it comes to male companionship, she could be a little insecure at times, but this just makes her character come across real and authentic.
Forced by her circumstances into marriage at a young age, Melisande learned to feel affection for her husband, a man 50 years her senior, but never experienced the passion that can exist between a man and a woman.
When her husband dies, Melisande is only 30 years old, and to her surprise a very wealthy widow. With an altruistic nature, she has dedicated her life to rescuing prostitutes with the goal of teaching them a more dignifying way of life.
Benedict, on the other hand, is a cynic and a rake, or at least pretending to be one, after having lost two wives in childbirth, he is intended on getting married with the sole purpose of producing an heir, and under no circumstances desires to have any feelings for his new wife, this way he would be free to engage in a life of debauchery.
When he starts to develop feelings for Melisande, he tries very hard to push her away, sometimes in a not very nice way, at times making you wish you could slap him silly, and make him come to his senses, I guess all this is part of experiencing a book when the author does a good job at making you care for the characters.
This book had a different feeling than the previous books in the series. It seems the infamous Heavenly Host has taken a turn for the very dark an ugly.
Melisande is forced to ask Benedict for his help to investigate some young girls disappearances, believed to be linked to the new and cruel practices of the Heavenly Host (a secret society, created by aristocrats to indulge in carnal pleasures) . Reluctantly, Benedict agrees to help her, fearing his younger brother’s involvement, who has come back from the war with psychological and physical scars, and is now an opium addict. I hope we get his story in the next book, I know this is supposed to be the last entry in the series, but in this book, we get strong hints that there is more to come.
If you have read or listened to the previous books, you will welcome the added tension, mystery and suspense in this novel. I know I did.
Normally I would recommend reading the series in order, but I believed this book could most definitely be enjoyed on its own. There are some reappearances from characters from other books, but this in no way will leave you missing any details of what’s going on, if anything, it will make you curios to find out more about them.
Even tho the sexuality typical of Mrs. Stuart books it’s toned down a great deal in this novel, (still and adult listen/read) you still enjoyed her superb writing style, full of witty and incredibly entreating dialogue as well as her brilliant ability to create splendid characters.
4.40 stars based on 5 ratings on audible.com
At this point in this series, I couldn’t imagine a different narrator for these novels. Susan Ericksen is categorically perfect. She performs these books with incredible confidence. Her knowledge of the characters and the world she’s conveying comes across without a shadow of a doubt. Mrs. Ericksen has the uncanny ability to transport you in an almost magical way, to the world and characters she’s describing, a few minutes of listening it’s all it takes to be taking away, and then is just you, lost and completely submerged in the story.
Her talent for performing theses character in the most authentic way, is never more clear than with the narration of these novels, this is my third listen in the House of Rohan series, and I been left with a clear image and hours of enjoyment from all the different character’s personalities and their stories.
Once again, this is terrific performance by Susan Ericksen.