Title: The Bargain
Series: The Duke’s Sons prequel
Author: Jane Ashford
Genre: Historical, Regency Romance
Published: Reissued 2014, Original 1997
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
My Rating: 4 stars
A scientifically minded nobleman:
Lord Alan Gresham is the sixth son of the Duke of Langford and, as such, has been allowed to remain at Oxford to pursue his scientific studies. When the prince regent asks him to debunk the “ghost” of a dead actress haunting Carlton House, he cannot refuse, and is forced back to the Society he deplores. But upon meeting the daughter of the alleged ghost, his calm, logical investigation is disrupted.
Learns the breathless chemistry of desire:
Ariel Harding doesn’t believe in ghosts, but she’s determined to investigate this haunting. Her mother recently committed suicide, and Ariel is desperate to find the reason. She’ll work with Alan because he has access to Prinny’s resources, but she never dreamed she’d make a perilous bargain with a man who’s as maddeningly arrogant as he is confoundedly attractive..
Read on for my thoughts on The Bargain. No true spoilers, promise.
I have been a longtime reader of Jane Ashford’s Regency romances. And I was delighted to see The Bargain reissued as a prequel to The Duke’s Sons which premiers in January of 2016, which gives me more of her stories to look forward to.
Admittedly, there are times when our hero, Lord Alan Gresham is very difficult to warm up to let alone root for in this romance. He is a scientist and a man of his times – which means his opinion of women’s brain power is rather belittling at times. And truth be told, since he is completely society wise inept, it is quite possible that he simply doesn’t know any better as his brain is lost in science and not out here in the real world which includes other members of the same species… aka men and women.
The true heroine of this story is Ariel Harding. She has no idea who is “haunting” Carlton House, but she is convinced it’s not her mother. Yet, Ariel is determined to find out what exactly was the reason or cause behind her mother’s apparent suicide. Who better to help her in that endeavor than the handsome, maddening man of logic?
Ariel saved this story for me, as I never could quite like Alan overly much. He had his moments, granted. But even with the love of a very good, intelligent, woman he still comes off as… not the hero I wanted him to be. And that is on me, not the author. Alan was written as he needed to be for the story – it was up to me to like him or not and I chose … not so much. But that does not mean that I didn’t enjoy this story. The mystery, intrigue and Ariel provided what I personally need for a really good story that kept my attention until the end.
And… we’re looking at the beginning of a new series which I am looking forward to. In all, The Bargain was a good story, one I enjoyed reading. And that’s the bottom line anyways, the enjoyment factor. If you haven’t had the chance to read this story when it first came out, now is a good time to get in on the prequel to a new Regency Romance series.
*I received an e-ARC of The Bargain from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. That does not change what I think of this novel.*
Available in paperback, audio and for the Kindle