Compromising Charis

Compromising CharisBy Sahara Kelly

Publisher: Red Sage
Publication Date: November 1, 2010
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Netgalley

Charis Forbes-Wilkinson is ruined, at least in the critical eyes of Regency Society, and she is quite content with that state of affairs. Who needs a husband anyway? Unfortunately, an unsolicited offer of marriage appears, sending Charis fleeing into the countryside to meet with a completely unacceptable friend of hers – a gypsy girl. Fate intervenes, however, in the form of one Sinjun Randall, who is idly tooling his phaeton down the same country lane as Charis. He’s enchanted and she’s fascinated by his handsome smile and easy ways. Finally accepting his offer of a ride – completely outrageous in and of itself – Charis makes her own suggestion. And it’s far more outrageous than a simple carriage trip. Sinjun agrees without hesitation. He’s found himself entwined in her plans, willing to assist her in her total ruination and completely lost in her expressive eyes. Their passionate interlude completes Charis’s ruination. But rather than ending her future, it marks the beginning of a new and unexpected love…

Goodreads Summary

Charis Forbes-Wilkinson is a woman on the run.  The afternoon before, she was informed by her aunt that she was to be wed to a complete stranger, the result of her unsuitability as any other type of marriage material.  Charis had been ruined years earlier, caught in the act, scandalizing her family and society, then bundled off to live in the country in shame.  Except that Charis wasn’t particularly ashamed and she wasn’t interested in being handed over to some idiot who probably couldn’t get a wife any other way either.

She sets off the following morning on foot, feeling secure with the knowledge that she’s learned from her gypsy friends that she can find a way to join them when the dashing “Sinjun” Randall comes upon her.  Looking to have a little diversion himself, he offers her a ride, initially amused by her fascination with his horses then aroused by her offer.

Charis has decided that since she’s ruined already, in order to make herself completely unacceptable to the man her family intends to marry her off to, she must be completely compromised all over again with the results brought before them all.  She’s attracted to Sinjun and she’s in urgent need of this ruination, so she proposes a quick dalliance.  Sinjun has other ideas and accepts on the condition that she grant him 48 hours and Charis agrees; what neither knows is that each of them is holding a very big secret and one could spell big trouble for any relationship.

This was a super-quick read and the story rolls along at a good clip, but without ever feeling hurried. Charis is very much a modern woman in this Regency romance; there needs to be a lot of belief-suspension in this story, but if you can do that, it’s quite enjoyable if just a little too fluffy and pat.  I thought the erotic elements had a nice inventive feel to them and I loved Sinjun; this ended up being more romantic and sweet at times than I expected.

On a purely personal note that has nothing to do with my ultimate rating, if I hadn’t known ahead of time that this was one of Ms. Kelly’s books, I would never have guessed it.  I’ve been a long-time reader of hers and I can say that her writing is usually at one end of the spectrum or another for me: I usually adore them or they’re brushing up against the edge of my taste level.  I expected this to push some buttons or go places that it didn’t and she managed to surprise me.

My Rating: C+



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