Lady Vivienne Bancroft has tried so hard to fit into what she deemed was proper society and please her father by marrying Miles Durham, Viscount Bancroft. However, she couldn't handle Miles' vices anymore. The last straw for her was after his blatant seduction of her in public, walking away, hearing of the rumors of him spending the night in a house of ill repute, and then having the gall to ask her for more money! Viv fled England for New York and hoped that she wouldn't have to deal with her wayward husband until she could set herself free of him and exist on her own. Yet, their paths cross once again at the reading of her father's Will. It looks as though Viv may finally realize her dreams when she stands to inherit monies from her late father. However, there is a catch. In order for her to gain her inheritance, Viv must fulfill a duty given by her father. She must take control of a diamond brokerage in Africa that her father owns and make it turn a profit within a year. If she can do, this she will have the option of buying the brokerage and inheriting quite a bit of money. If she is unable to fulfill the mission, she will not get nearly enough to see her dreams come to fruition.
Miles Durham, Viscount Bancroft, enjoys his hedonistic ways, but he much prefers a challenge! He has heard that his father-in-law has recently passed away and his estates are in need of cash to remain solvent. Miles would also like to exact revenge on his estranged wife, Vivienne Bancroft . . . what better way than to kill two birds with one stone. He will get his revenge as well as some money to save his estates. Miles goes on to Africa and Viv arrives shortly thereafter to find her husband already ensconced in the life there. He offers to stay and help her as he can enter into more business situations as a man than she can, but she will have to agree to take up her wifely duties while they are in Africa. Miles longs to have her back in his bed and then he plans on walking away from HER. They embark on fulfilling the terms of the Will while also being forced to ferret out a villain amongst the locals. However, neither counted on discovering secrets that the other had carefully hidden, and Viv isn't sure that Miles will want his soiled wife when all is said and done. Can Miles convince Viv that he has changed and can offer her the security that she longs for if she will just trust him, or will Miles find that what he thought he wanted wasn't what he wanted after all?
Flawless is a surprisingly entertaining historical romance set in a different part of the world from the usual romances. Miles starts at the bottom of the barrel when Flawless opens, and I was actually hoping that Viv would meet a better hero in the end. Yet Miles soon grew on me as his point of view was explored and contrasted with Viv's.
Neither Viv nor Miles truly knew one another, but over the course of Flawless, they soon found that there were strengths in each other that could be tapped if one only searched for them. Viv wants security and Miles couldn't seem to give her that, but he never knew how desperately she needed it either. Miles wanted what Viv refused to offer and she was too scared to have that part of her revealed because of her past. He felt that Viv was a pretender and he wanted to break her polite mask that she hides behind. Miles really did come across as an ass in the beginning of Flawless, but as his emotions and feelings were explored and revealed, he redeemed himself.
Miles changes from what he was in England to a better person in Africa as he rises to the challenges set forth before him. Miles could have never been trusted with Viv's secrets in the beginning of their marriage in Flawless, but he and Viv grew with their experiences and learned to trust one another. Viv had entered the marriage of convenience with hopes of companionship and respect, instead she was forced to cope with what she had rather than what she lacked. Yet by the end of Flawless, Viv was taught that it's okay to ask for what she needs.
The beauty in Flawless was the potential for so much between the characters of Miles and Viv. It was the knowing that they could be so much more if only they worked for things and learned to give and take in their relationship. It was the looking beyond the surface of what is presented and trying to understand Miles and Viv, to see what they will become.
For Joyfully Reviewed