Gently bred Emma Chadwick always assumed she’d live and die the daughter of a gentleman. But when her father’s death reveals a world of staggering debt and dangerous moneylenders, she must risk her good name and put her talent for mathematics to use, taking a position as bookkeeper at London’s most notorious gambling hell. Surrounded by vice and corruption on all sides, it is imperative no one discovers Emma’s shameful secret or her reputation-and her life-will be ruined.
But Roderick Bentley, the hell’s sinfully wealthy owner, awakens a hunger Emma cannot deny. Drawn deep into an underworld of high stakes gambling and reckless overindulgence, she soon discovers that in order to win the love of a ruthless scoundrel, she will have to play the game…and give in to the pleasure of falling from grace.
Even though maths bores me to tears, I liked that this heroine was original in her interests, and that she had a talent for something that wasn’t going to get her very far in polite society. I like historical romances that delve into a darker world than just the fancy ballrooms, and books that deal with lower-ranking characters.
However, I do think the plot was a stretched a little thin for the length of the book, and by the halfway point the characters were just going through their daily routines. I began to lose interest at about that point, and think that either the plot should have been a little more complex, or the story should have been a novella.
Something I did like was the way the hero was treated. As the bastard son, he doesn’t enjoy the same standing in society as legitimate siblings, and I think that often this distinction isn’t shown properly in books in this genre. Here, it was dealt with well.
I do wish a little more care was taken with the very modern language, including eliminating those phrases from the 1990s!
I think this is an author with some good ideas, but I need a little more life in the story for a book to hold my interest from start to finish.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.