After the death of his sweetheart when he was at university, Daniel Herbert buried his grief in medical studies and his passion for healing. Viewed as a saint by those who know him, in his own mind, he never quite manages to live up to his own high standards.
Most men would be thrilled to learn they’ve inherited a title and estate from a distant relative, but Daniel is appalled because the burden of wealth will interfere with his medical calling. Warily he accepts that he must enter society and seek a wife—a sensible woman who can oversee his properties, leaving him free to continue his work. He does not expect to become intoxicated by a woman called the Black Widow, who is as mysterious as she is shockingly beautiful…
Jessie Kelham’s looks have always been a curse. Now alone with a young daughter and a perilous secret, she is in need of protection. But dangerously attractive Daniel Herbert is not the kind of husband she has in mind. If he recognizes her, the demons of her past will surely erupt. Yet they cannot keep apart—and soon they are drawn into a union that may bring joy—or shattering danger…
When I started this book I was unaware it was the seventh in a series. I think that even though it was clear there were some things I’d missed out on from previous books, and some characters I should already know, the author did a really good job of keeping this story separate from her others. So from that point of view I think it’s fine to read this one on its own.
This is a dark book in many ways. The heroine has had an endless life of abuse from three different men, and is also a widow twice over. The theme of this one is about violence against women in the Regency era, and about a woman’s precarious place in society. I do think the drama in this one is extreme. Some people really like that; others will not.
I do think this is more Jessie’s story than Daniel’s. I know Daniel has been in previous books, but I’m not sure Jessie was. Daniel’s life seems very heavily influenced by religion, which is not something I’ve seen in a book in this genre before. I do like he was blond – we need more variety in heroes!
One thing I would have liked was for another chapter to deal with the big suspense/adventure/drama at the end. There’s danger and violence and a dangerous escape, but it was resolved very fast. I guess the word count got in the way of the story.
It’s a pity that publishers don’t make use of editors familiar with British English, because there was some distracting terminology here. For example, a full stop, not a period ends a sentence if your character isn’t from North America. Putting terminology like that into the British characters’ dialogue was distracting me.
Overall, I think there were a lot of good things about this book, even if some might struggle with the heavy abuse of the heroine. It definitely kept me turning the pages.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.