Release Date: March 28, 2014
An arranged marriage is daunting, but not as daunting as seducing a spouse whose passions you do not understand...
Derek Charles Holbrook, Viscount Banfield, knew his fate since he was seventeen when his father announced his union to the
beautiful but mysterious American girl by the name of Miss Grey.
To protect the troubled estate, Derek submits to his father's wishes, not realizing he's about to entangle himself in a hell of a lot more than marriage.
Miss Clementine Henrietta Grey may be worth millions, but not a single coin has ever bought her a smidge of happiness. When she marries the charismatic and dashing Viscount Banfield, whose only strife in life appears to be the uneven seams in his coat, she finds that siring the heir he wants requires far more than her heart is prepared to give.
Unable to seduce his overly-serious and reluctant wife, Derek realizes his dreams of creating a loving family has turned into a nightmare. But with the unexpected assistance of a retired courtesan and her outrageous school, Derek and Clementine discover that passion is a language spoken not just from the body, but from the mind, heart and soul.
To me, Night of Pleasure is probably one of the few historical romances I've read that comes close to what I imagine an arranged marriage was like in Georgian London.
Derek and Clementine don't know each other at all, they met as young children when Derek's father passed away and were made aware of their betrothal that would take place seven years later. Since then they haven't seen each other and have only spoken through letters.
Surprisingly it's Derek that's the idealistic one in this pairing. He thinks he's in love with Clementine and cannot wait to marry her. In his mind he has created the perfect image of his future wife, an image of a docile, fragile and loving woman who will do his bidding and have his children. Sadly, reality shakes him and reveals just how unprepared and often immature he is when it comes to her. While that might sound off putting, I enjoyed that aspect of Derek's character. He wasn't as sure of himself as a man, much less as a husband later in the book and he made a lot of mistakes with Clementine that sounded more and more realistic to me. At the beginning of Night of Pleasure Derek is this childish, immature, jealous and controlling man-child that goes through a series of conflicts that slowly turn him into a mature man who is now sees his wife as a person rather than an object of his unrealistic fantasies.
Clementine on the other hand, has grown up much too fast. She's more realistic than Derek and has seen things in the world that no lady should see or know. She keeps secrets from Derek, furthering his irrational behavior. Emotionally she is more mature than Derek but she makes the simplest mistakes that make her relationship with Derek worse and worse to the point where there seems to be no choice but to separate.
Night of Pleasure was an interesting read that gave me the chance to see a more realistic side of an arranged marriage between two totally unprepared, young and inexperienced strangers. At times I didn't know if they were going to be able to overcome their differences. Derek and Clementine had some severe communication issues that almost destroyed their chances for a happy and healthy relationship. I enjoyed the conflict and eventual resolution, it didn't feel rushed or fabricated just for the sake of ending the story. It took time and even at the very end it was clear that Derek and Clementine were still going to have to work on their relationship every day to make sure that it stayed strong and loving.
It's not all work and no play though. There's a few snicker worthy moments in Night of Pleasure that had me covering my mouth so that I wouldn't disturb anyone around me.
Final Verdict: Night of Pleasure is a different kind of arranged marriage story. The relationship between Derek and Clementine is one of frustration, stubbornness, jealousy and immaturity but when they do start to work at things, you can see them grow as individuals and as a couple. I enjoyed their struggled and rejoiced in their triumph. Author Delilah Marvelle certainly knows how to create conflicts and resolutions for her characters.