Please ignore the silly blurb; it’s a much better book that the publisher wants you to think!
When Lady Sara Herriard’s husband dies in a duel, she turns her back on the vagaries of the ton. From now on, she will live as she pleases. She won’t change for anyone certainly not for the infuriating Lucian Avery, Marquess of Cannock!
Lucian must help his sister recover from a disastrous elopement and reluctantly enlists Lady Sara’s help. She couldn’t be further from the conventional, obedient wife he’s expected to marry, but soon all he craves is for her to surrender and join him in his bed!
I will read anything Louise Allen writes. She is far and away one of my favourite historical romance writers, and she should not be overlooked because she writes for Mills and Boon/Harlequin instead of one of the other publishers.
This might be one of my favourite books by her, even though I’ve not yet read the others connected to it.
This story features the daughter of a marquess, who meets a marquess in disguise in a coastal town in Dorset. It’s not some silly, contrived disguise plot, but because he is trying to protect his younger sister’s reputation after he rescued her on the Continent, close to death.
I loved that he had to give up on the deception early, because a peer can spot a peer amongst the working and middle classes. I also liked how hero and heroine came to be together, from him thinking she was a widow he could have an affair with, to him needing her to help with his sister.
The heroine is twenty-four, but already widowed because she lost her husband in a duel. She has no interest in marrying back into her class, where the men have paternalistic ideas about honour and protecting women – and this is exactly how the hero is.
Things progress believably, and there is a lot for both characters to overcome.
There is also the mystery surrounding the hero’s sister, and a mystery surrounding another man in town.
Not all the book takes place in Dorset, and we do get our time with the aristocratic families – something most people seem to think is necessary for a Regency romance!
I can’t really explain why some authors are so much better than others (I was reading another Regency at the same time, and there was NO comparison). However, everything about this book works.
From the historical accuracy and total understanding of social rules – nobody is addressing someone out of turn or in the wrong way. To the true English feel to it (it helps the author lives in England) – no silly, inaccurate stereotypes you find in too many books like this. To the genuine ROMANCE that develops even though both characters only planned to be lovers at first (made believable by the fact the heroine has already been married once).
To the amount of PLOT from start to finish, which means my mind never drifted…
Every time I read one of Louise Allen’s books set on the English coast, I feel like planning another trip!
This was such a good read.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.