Once, she was beautiful…
Abigail Vautille dreamed of escaping the Whitechapel rookery and starting a new life, until one tragic night left her scarred and penniless. To save her family from debtor’s prison, she strikes a deal with the rogue who owns her father’s gambling vowels–if he excuses the debt, for two weeks, she’ll give him her body, but not her heart.
Once he was charming…
Inspector Michael Strickland of the Metropolitan Police has always had a way with women. Success comes easily to him, and he glides through life on his good looks and family name. But Abigail lights a passion within him he never knew existed. He sees the beauty within her, not the beast she believes herself to be.
Together, their love is beyond a fairy tale.
After a dangerous figure from Abigail’s past resurfaces vowing vengeance, things take a sinister turn. But Michael will stop at nothing to keep the woman he loves safe. When the stakes are high and the scars are more than skin deep, passion might be the key to a happily ever after.
I’m an idiot for not reading this sooner, because I’d been looking forward to it. However, I got this author’s name mixed up with another (similar) historical romance author’s name and kept passing over it when it came up for review!
I really love what Erica Monroe is doing with historical romance. The 1830s aren’t the loveliest of time periods (the fashion was just awful!), and the rookeries of London not the most romantic of settings, but wow, this is the sort of historical romance I need to pull me out of my rut. Throw in a bit of suspense, as the author has, and I’m one happy reader.
The research in this series is VERY impressive, and explained a little in the author’s notes, however in the future I’d like to see Monroe get some help with her language, because it’s the only place in her books where she really misses the mark.
Self-publishing is a minefield of a thing, but this is one self-published author who well and truly delivers.
Another great thing about NOT writing about dukes and daughters of dukes is that all that ridiculous behaviour that makes no sense in aristocrats makes sense with these characters. Becoming someone’s mistress is actually good career choice for these women. Going out without a chaperone is just the way things are. All those ridiculous anachronisms in most historical romances make sense in these books.
My biggest issue is with the language. These women in this series have no education, and are from the rookeries of London. Which means they would not have spoken like this:
“It’s a system of cards advancing in a predetermined rhythm.”
“I believe that the world is fundamentally flawed… I’m a Whitechapel girl. Few people care about our existence.”
And nor do people in 1830s London use mid-twentieth century American terms like “cover all bases”! I was also wondering how the hell they left the building via the first floor (surely the drop to the ground resulted in broken limbs!) and why everyone kept displaying their bare little donkeys (asses)! And the shortened form of mathematics is maths.
I’d say you should read the book before this one first, though it isn’t necessary. You’ll catch up easily, but it makes more sense if you get through these in order. Especially so to get the background on the horrible thing that was done to the heroine, and why it is now shaping her future.
It’s sad that traditional publishing has become so stagnant. I want more books like these.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.