An arranged marriage, class difference, intrigue… sounded fantastic. I was eager to try this Georgian era romance by a new to me author. So glad I did. Started off good and kept my close attention to the end.
The book is second in a series, but I had no trouble reading is as a standalone. I could see the tie-in, but it was a loose one and made it easy to pick up this one with no trouble.
The story opens with Maximillian Wallace, Marquess of Devereaux, meeting with his new business partner in the City. Max’s father depleted the family coffers over his desire to build a monstrosity in the country side. Max now through good business decisions has rebuilt the family fortune and is pleased to continue doing business with the man who was wildly responsible for guiding Max. But Russell has a new proposal involving his daughter as the stipulation for continued business association.
Sophia Russell thought she was in love and the man her father was grooming to take over the business and marry her was in love with her until he forced himself on her and then the rumors began. Now her father insists she marry Devereaux to save her reputation and because her father truly believes the Marquess will make her happy. Devereaux has always been kind and respects her business acumen. He never was snobby about her middle class roots, but to marry him a near stranger particularly after another man just assaulted her, scares Sophia to death.
Max goes through with the marriage and is content until he discovers that Sophia has brought forth emotion and strong attraction in him. Then he discovers that she might be tied to his worst enemy. He can’t let her have a hold on him and he definitely can’t trust her, or can he?
Sophia has kept secrets from her husband and she knows her accidental meetings with a man from her past look bad, but will the slow build of trust between her and her husband be enough when the revelations start coming?
I love arranged marriage scenarios especially when the author makes the relationship from near stranger to a true couple feel right. This one was interesting because there are some addition intriguing factors like Sophia coming from a lower class into the highest circle of society and because there is a silent battle between Devereaux’s family and another and Sophia is inadvertently placed in the middle ala Romeo and Juliet’s Capulets and Montague style.
Sophia and Max both have a tendency to not communicate to each other and that gets them into trouble. But, as they are near strangers and things do look bad for forming proper trust, I got it.
The romance starts off shaky because Sophia suffered an assault that didn’t quite go all the way, but was enough to put her in terror of physical relations. Max doesn’t fully understand, but he is sensitive to the fact that she didn’t enjoy her wedding night. Max got a bit autocratic when he thought she was consorting with the enemy and Sophia lost her temper when she thought he was controlling her. It made for some sizzle even before they got to the passion. And the passion? Whew, these two were on fire. Max was the teacher, but he got a wife who could match him in the bed chamber and other delectable places. I enjoyed how they came together slowly and learned to work as a pair on one thing which led to trust forming over other things.
Sophia’s secrets are like the Sword of Damocles. The reader just knows that her reticence will come back to bite her especially with an already wary Max and it does. She had help getting set up, but it did make for an intense last several pages.
As to the historical backdrop, I thought the author did a bang up job. The Georgian era London was colorful and written well. It was present and factual without overwhelming the story.
In summation, I enjoyed with this story and definitely want to go back for more of the Emperors of London series. Historical Romance fans who like some intrigue and a lot of spicy passion might want to pick this one up.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #143 HR
Mt. TBR #60
New to Me #59 author/series
Blogger Shame #14
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