by Bronwen Evans
So, Lord Sebastian Hawkstone, Marquis of Coldhurst, is a member of the Libertine Scholars' clique/ club. Libertine is right! The Oxford dictionary assigns further synonyms. A libertine in the sense used here (yes, there are other meanings!) is 'a person who is morally or sexually unrestrained, especially a dissolute man; a profligate; a rake.'Likewise descriptions were lecherous, licentious, lewd, really the list goes on...
Seconds into reading, and in keeping with said libertine behaviour, I'm already into a highly descriptive encounter between Sebastian and a courtesan Clarice that is more mechanics than intimacy. Really, I'm feeling quite jaded by the time I've read the second page. Just how many more bouncing body parts are going to be trotted out I wonder?
The crux of the matter is that this sexual encounter serves as the basis for the ongoing storyline. A duel ensues between Sebastian and a young man, one Douglas Hennessey, the Baron of Larkwell, after Doogie bursts in upon the scene. The courtesan is Doogie's mistress. Unfortunately, Sebastian kills him and has to flee the country.
The plot thickens and things are turned on their head. Three plus months later we have Sebastian pardoned and coming back to England only to be confronted at the docks by the sister of the young Baron he'd killed. Sebastian agrees to marry Beatrice Hennnessey more or less as penance for his deed and because it was about time he turned respectable (for his sister's sakes), married and went for an heir and spare. He saw it as a marriage of convenience. I really liked Beatrice. She's much maligned by the mean pettiness of the 'ton'. She has character and resolve. As the story went on, I came to like Sebastian who is not quite the utter cad I first thought. Though he certainly has a problem with emotional intimacy and 'love.'
Anyway misunderstandings, murders, attacks, and potential deaths litter the path of Sebastian as we view this particular Scholar's descent into the folly, or madness, of true love.
Meanwhile it seems the other Libertine Scholars are also under attack. But these are other stories.
Those jouncing body parts continue to be examined albeit in the marital bed.
I thought the storyline had real merit but I don't know that it needed such frequent and intimate forays into the bedroom bliss of our couple. I have however come to appreciate that the 'Loveswept' part of the title is really code for the frequent mad passionate moments described in detail. These seem to have a similar purpose to that of the use of the word 'and' in a sentence. The sexual encounters link the various plots and counterplots in the story with sweeping abandonment.
A NetGalley ARC