The heir presumptive to the Viscount Rathmoor, Dominick Manton once had his heart’s desire within reach—a bright future as a barrister and engagement to Jane Vernon, a wealthy baron’s daughter. Then a shattering betrayal by his vindictive brother George snatched away Dom’s inheritance and his hopes of offering Jane a secure future. Brokenhearted, and attempting to end their engagement without destroying Jane’s reputation, Dom staged a betrayal of his own to convince her that he’s not the husband-to-be that she thought.
Now George is gone and the viscountcy restored to Dom, since his brother’s widow, Nancy—Jane’s cousin and closest confidant—never bore an heir. But when Nancy goes missing, a panicked Jane calls on her former fiancé to track down her cousin. Dom knows the mistakes of the past may be unforgiveable—but now, entangled together in mystery and danger, will they rekindle a passionate longing that was never lost to begin with?
I’ve enjoyed this series quite a lot. I really loved the first two books, and the third was fun – if not quite up to the same standard. This fourth instalment, If the Viscount Falls, had me staying up until dawn to finish it. I would recommend you read the series in order, because past characters do feature heavily, but you could probably manage it on its own.
I’m a very big fan of reunited lovers stories, and this one involves a huge amount of angst. What was done to break hero and heroine apart was pretty terrible, but also probably the only option at the time. So now we have a pair who spent twelve years apart, and still the odds are stacked against them.
Something I noticed with this book is that the author has a very contemporary feel to her writing. It may well be that it has always been this way and that these days I’m just more pedantic about having a genuine historical feel to my historical romances. However, I did find it a little distracting at times.
The characters not only converse in very contemporary English, but they discuss things that people would be shocked about today. Brothers and sisters very openly joking about their sex lives, for example. And the proper forms of address and use of titles were practically non-existent. Hmm. I really don’t remember noticing this before.
However, I liked a lot about the book. The mystery pushes the story on from start to finish. I didn’t feel like there was a point in the story where things got boring or stale. With a missing woman, an entire viscountcy at stake, and two very different opinions on what actually happened, I liked the way things were revealed gradually.
As for the romance itself? I liked both characters a lot, though I did question the ethics of restarting a relationship while the heroine was still engaged to another man. I did think a few of those typical historical romance moments: I’ll show you! I’ll surprise you with a kiss in the middle of an argument! were unnecessary, but I was willing to overlook them because I liked most of what I read.
One other thing that has troubled me a bit about the series is that my favourite couple, who appeared in book two, have practically been eliminated from the other books. Whereas other heroes and heroines have continued to play big parts in each story, my two favourites have practically ceased to exist!
However, not only was If the Viscount Falls a solid end to a fun series, but it subtly sets up the author’s spinoff series, which I am really looking forward to.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.