Despite her cover as the daughter of the land steward for Lord Malton, Marcus Aurelius, spirited Viola Gates is tied by birth to the treacherous Jacobite legacy. Not that this keeps her from falling for the dashing Lord from afar. Despite his staid demeanour, Marcus is devastatingly handsome—and hopelessly beyond her reach. Then Viola’s father is mortally wounded and her secret identity revealed, sending her straight into danger’s path—and Marcus’s arms…
For years, he’d only known her as a wild child, the tempting—and forbidden—daughter of his trusted steward. But when Viola’s life is threatened, Marcus must act as duty—and his barely contained passion—dictates. Ferrying the bold beauty on an eventful journey to safer quarters, he offers her the protection of his name. Their tempestuous union might succeed in vanquishing their enemies, but will the chivalrous lord and his unsuitable wife surrender to the power of love?
This is a really great series, set in the Georgian era and based around the concept the Old Pretender had children who are now secretly living in or around the English aristocracy. If they can be found, they can be dangerous to the monarchy. One side wants to use them to gain power and destabilise the country, while the other (the “Emperors” of the series title) want to keep them safe – usually by marrying them so they’re taken out of the equation.
The book starts a little suddenly, and it will seem like you’re already supposed to know these characters. Go along with it, because there’s a lot of story to pack in (thank goodness – better than all those historical romances that just meander from one ballroom to another!), and so we have to establish a connection fast.
Hero and heroine have known each other their whole lives, so this was easy enough to believe. I liked that there was danger and that the characters were on the go almost from the start.
Set in the century before most historical romances, this is a totally different world. The clothing, the technology (or lack thereof), the politics. It’s a fascinating time in world history, and this is an author who knows the world the characters inhabit down to the tiny details. It makes the book believable.
I liked both leading characters. I like that we were given a hero who was both very powerful and influential, but also a little bit reserved and shy. He seemed a more complete person than many in this genre.
While each book in this series is perfectly fine as a standalone, I think it’s a series worth reading from the start.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.