All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess is the latest installment in the Lords of Vice series by Alexandra Hawkins and I was rather disappointed in the book. Although I need to reread the other four books in the series I can safely say that Ms. Hawkins has had a better showing in her other books.
This book for me at least started out as a strong 4 out of 5. The plot was a bit different than the usual, after all how often does a Marquess marry a brothel owner. The first three chapters of this novel span several years as Charlotte or “Madam Vena” as she is know at her brothel and Saint the Marquess of Sainthill meet and have a tryst. The story picks up several years later as Madam Vena and Saint are thrown together at odd times and for various reasons that I won’t get into here. However, the fun part of the story begins when Saint and the mild mannered Charlotte are also thrown together. Saint wants to save Charlotte from a life as a prostitute at the Golden Pearl not knowing that she is actually Madam Vena herself. If this had been the whole story it may have stayed a 4 out of 5.
Unfortunately, both Charlotte and Madam Vena have problems; her two worlds are colliding and she is finding it hard to keep them apart. First, Madam Vena is being blackmailed by the man that raised her, Mr. Royal. Secondly, Charlotte is being harassed by her natural father or rather his representatives. She rightfully dose not want anything do with either men. Thirdly, Saint is always there aggravating her in both of her worlds.
This is where the story becomes a 2 out of 5. Ms Hawkins could have created so much drama out of all these problems not to mention the fact that somehow she has to make it acceptable for these two to marry. Instead Saint packs Charlotte off to stay with some of his friends and voila! He comes back a week later with her natural father and all is well and they marry the end. Did I mention that this all happens in the last two chapters. In one chapter Charlotte is contemplating disappearing into the mist and the next she is married to Saint. No conflict, no troubles, just THE END. I felt like many other people that have read this book, several chapters seem to be missing if it is due editing they choose to edit out the most important part of the book.In this case, Ms. Hawkins editor should be hogtied, hung, shot and left out to dry.
At the end of the day I enjoyed the read but was disappointed in the ending. If you can get it at the library or a second hand book store for cheap then try it out just know that it will not be a keeper.