Genres: Historical Romance, M/M Romance
Published by Riptide
Released on April 30, 2018
A custom’s officer and a smugger find themselves in a reluctant attraction and a need to trust in this lush, authentic feeling age of sail intrigue. The enemies to lovers set against such a backdrop by a longtime favorite author was just too good to be missed.
Contraband Hearts is book ten in the loosely connected Porthkennack series of books told in multiple eras and by multiple authors. Each book can be read standalone as their only connection is generally the location. They each cleverly tell m/m romances of all shape and color with the added wealth of getting each of their writing styles, as well.
Contraband Hearts is a Napoleonic era tale that brings newly-made custom’s officer, Perry, to this small suspicious and hostile village to root out trouble in the customs office. His race is already a mark against him, but his strident purpose has him at odds with the whole town. He further takes on the commission to arrest the local well-loved ‘Robin Hood’ figure, Tomas Quick.
Tomas has his own colorful history and determined mission to end the reign of the Quicks up in the estate house lording it over and choking the village with their their monopoly and threats. He is set on revenge, but is distracted when he learns there is a deeper danger lurking in Porthkennack then the annoyingly straight-laced and attractive custom’s officer.
I loved the complexities of this story from the authentic descriptions of setting, activities, customs and smuggling/wreckers’ history, social mores of the day to the diversity of characters and races, social strata, and morals. The author draws engaging characters full of strengths and flaws and I loved seeing the pair take turns narrating and work through private and relationship issues. And oh boy, do they have a serious conflict of interest.
The mystery element was a nice twist and I loved how it wove through the story to give the pair reason for hostility, but an opening for trust, too.
All in all, Contraband Hearts reminded me why I have been so enamored with this author’s fantastic Age of Sail Historical Romance more sweet than spicy. I highly recommend this one.
My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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