On the eve of the London Season, Jane Chance is about to make her entrance into high society. And after a childhood riddled with poverty and hardship, Jane intends to make a good, safe, sensible marriage. All goes according to plan until a dark, dangerous vagabond helps her rescue a dog.
Zachary Black is all kinds of unsuitable – a former spy, now in disguise, he’s wanted for murder. His instructions: to lie low until his name is cleared. But Zach has never followed the rules, and he wants Jane Chance for his own.
If that means blazing his way into London society, in whatever guise suits him, that’s what he’ll do. Jane knows she shouldn’t fall in love with this unreliable, if devastatingly attractive, rogue. But Zach is determined – and he’s a man accustomed to getting what he wants.
Anne Gracie writes the sort of historical romance I think “wallpaper romance” writers try to achieve – and rarely do. She is a favourite of mine even though her books are much more light-hearted than I usually like, and this is largely because she works dark themes and emotion into her more humorous stories.
What she does best – and what next to no historical romance authors do these days – is write an actual romance. And there’s an actual plot. And both hero and heroine have their own story arcs. And nobody is having sex in a friend’s spare room. And there are real friendships and family relationships. And she basically does everything right that so many authors (because their publishers are demanding it) are doing wrong.
I really enjoy this series, and this is the third of four books. They work as standalones, but are much better read in order.
I love books with beautiful heroines. The Plain Jane book has been done to death and is starting to seem really hypocritical when all of the heroes are dashing and gorgeous and perfect, and male beauty is made such a priority. I love that Jane’s beauty brought her other issues.
I liked that our hero (who goes by a number of names!) actually took the time to fall in love, even though he wanted her from the outset. A relationship was established. The characters acted normal, instead of like sex maniacs with no thought for unwanted pregnancy. And Jane was uncertain when she got married. Unlike 99.9% of historical romance heroines these days, she didn’t come to her marriage with anachronistic knowledge of everything to do with sex.
Jane does fall in love while promised to another man, so it will be up to the reader to decide if what she did was right or wrong. I thought Gracie did just enough for me to forgive her for it.
There is also a mystery here, and I liked the way all the little bits and pieces came together at the end.
The light-hearted tone of the story allows for a little bit of room to play with class rules and behaviours without making the story too anachronistic. I don’t really notice when something is a little bit outlandish.
This is definitely one of the best historical romance series around at the moment.
Oh, and the US cover for this book is ALL WRONG! Is that tanned brunette seriously supposed to be the pale, blond beauty who is the heroine?!
Review copy provided by NetGalley.