He’s never forgotten her. But can he forgive her?
When Alastair Ransleigh sees Diana, Duchess of Graveston, for the first time since she jilted him, he makes her a shockingly insulting offer…the chance to become his mistress. And even more shockingly, she accepts!
But the widowed duchess is nothing like the bold, passionate girl Alastair once loved. Years of suffering at the hands of a cruel husband have taken their toll. And as Alastair resolves to save Diana from the damage of the past, their chance meeting turns feelings of revenge to thoughts of rescue…
Firstly, ignore this book’s cover. Usually this publisher produces great historical covers, but this looks like Gossip Girl meets whiny Hollywood teen (close your mouth, lady!). Nothing about it looks remotely Regency or English.
As usual, the Mills and Boon/Harlequin historical romance line is doing better things than most historical romance publishers. This is a story about coming back from abuse, and it includes my favourite trope: the reunion romance.
I enjoyed pretty much everything about this book. Regency England is SO overused, and yet when a book like this comes along you forget you’ve already read ten thousand books in the same time and setting, and about similar characters. This author created a totally original and fascinating story, and it had some real depth to it.
I read another review that referred to the hero being patient, and I think that’s a good way to describe him. It’s so nice to have – despite the book’s title – a hero who is a good human being, rather than some fool who disrespects women at every turn and is “transformed” by the heroine.
Even though it is the third in a series, it really doesn’t matter. I haven’t read the others, and wonder if I missed any backstory, but this felt like a complete story on its own. Clearly there were a few mentions of past books’ characters, but it definitely didn’t intrude on the story.
Julia Justiss is an American who writes England so well I didn’t notice mistakes with the language
One issue I’ve noticed with a few books in this line, from different authors, is that the book lost its way just a little at the very end, as though the word count was too long for the story being told. In following with the structure of a romance, there’s a wedge driven into the relationship at the end, but it was a bit too manufactured. As with the last Mills and Boon/Harlequin historical romance I read, I felt the true story finished a couple of chapters before the book did, and that it was a complete and solid story without the little unnecessary separation at the end.
I also didn’t like the idea the heroine wasn’t “healed” until she could forgive her husband. When he forces you to marry him, and then abuses you in every possible way for eight years, you DO NOT have to forgive him! You’re not a better person for weakening when it comes to a monster.
It might have been nice for a reconciliation between the heroine and the hero’s sister, but you can’t fit everything into one book, and back then travelling wasn’t exactly a quick thing to do – even in England!
However, I did really like this book. I’m SO glad I bought it, and I immediately started looking for other books by this author.