I have now been a fan of Celeste Bradley for about a year, so was pleasantly surprised when I picked up her debut novel Fallen at the office bookshare.
Here is the back synopsis: When Izzy went to bed, she never expected to awaken to disgrace. Of course, it felt wonderful…warm hands on her flesh, rough stubbled skin on her cheek. It all seemed some wonderfully wicked dream. But that hardly mattered to the ton. To them she was ruined, for Lord Eppingham Julian Blackworth had been discovered in her bed and she’d claimed him as her own.
She had not wanted to trap the handsome rake into wedlock. Though she might want to fall forever into his golden-brown eyes, marriage to any man was not something she sought. It had been something in his touch, his kiss. Something that had called out to her to protect Julian from his own ruination by placing herself in the way. If to save this man meant to be fallen, so be it. And in saving him, she just might save herself.
I love the way our hero and heroine fall in love, I love the rake Julian’s slow reformation…heck, I just love this book! It is entertaining without relying too heavily on plot twists and turns, and her banter sparkles. I love that Izzy, our heroine, actually welcomes the freedoms that come with ruination and I love her Pollyanna ability to see the good humor in things. She is frank and sassy, and it is her inner beauty that truly sparkles through.
Julian is also a well rounded character with none of the caricature-esqueness other rakes take on. He feels as really as Izzy, and he is ultimately loveable, especially as he falls in love.
Although the ending was maybe a bit disappointing (I won’t spoil it, however), it was at least different.
For a debut novel, I think it is an outstanding example of Bradley’s talent.