I’ve never read Robyn DeHart before and it irks me to great extent that I had this story in my TBR for as long as I did before buckling down to read it. The first in the Dangerous Liaisons Series, I couldn’t have asked for either a better introduction to both the author and the series. I even cheated a little by not reading this too fast because I just knew that I didn’t want it to end.
Sometimes when a story suggests that someone’s lost their sight, most of the time they don’t mean that the person is completely blind and instead suffers from vision loss and can still see shapes, colors and light. Well, Mia Danvers is completely blind: no shapes, no colors, nothing after a very unfortunate horse riding accident when she was 15. At the advent of her 16th birthday, her mother and two sisters take Mia to the Carrington estate and literally drop her off in a cottage on the edge of the property to manage on her own. I couldn’t have been more shocked about that. Just when I thought that was bad, it got worse. Hold on to that thought, I’ll get to that in a few. Thank goodness Mia’s former nanny and now only companion, Rachel, stays with her in an effort to have not Mia completely alone – with no one and no money.
The Eighth Duke of Carrington, Alex Foster, is new in his role. He’s taking over both the title and the responsibilities from his older brother whose misdeeds lead to his accidental death. Oh the tragedy of it all. But the good news is that Alex is also former military leader who’s penchant for order is perfect for his role as the Duke. As the middle son, he never thought that the title would be his nor did he ever dream that part of his future would include a hand selected bride. Part of his duties is making sure that everyone in his household and on the grounds are taken care of. Nine years after living on the Carrington estates, while walking home from town one day, Mia is a witness to the murder of one of his household staff. Lucky for her that Alex’s protective instincts shift into high gear.
After convincing Alex that she’s not insane, as he had been led to believe, Mia’s able to convince him that yes, she can identify the killer. Not by what he looks like but by the scent of his clothing, the cadence of his voice, the smell of the tobacco that he smells, and a plethora of other little things that a sighted person would not pick up on in such a quick manner. Even I needed some convincing, but by the time Mia was through proving herself to Alex, I was telling Alex she knows what she’s talking about. Now this story starts in 1880 and the murders happen in Whitechapel. If you remember your history you can guess who the murderer might be. This is one of the best villains I’ve read in any genre of romance in a long while. DeHart does write from the murderer’s point of view and gives us a small glimpse into crazy (because he is) and I absolutely adored it because she pulled no punches and everyone was up for fair grabs. Nice!
I loved Mia and Alex. They were a well suited pair. Mia is as independent as she can get considering the time she lived in. She was able to move about without aid and had very little, if any, fear in trying something new. Had Mia lived in the elite society instead of her little cottage, I don’t see how she would have flourished as she did with Rachel’s help. The dictates of that society would have stifled her ability to grow and try something new. Rachel was a true blessing in her life and I wish we knew even more about her. She and Rachel grew from their start as nanny and companion to a lovely settled relationship where they were true friends. But I digress.
Mia’s attraction for Alex was such a refreshing change because none of it was based on looks. She was attracted because of the way that he took ownership and made her feel safe. As she depends on her other senses, she paid attention to the way he spoke, the way he touched her – all those little things that get lost in the visual. I saw her falling for Alex and it was a nice build and not in any way rushed.
Likewise, Alex’s attraction to Mia wasn’t based on the way that she looked either. She’s too thin, too tall, and she’s not had a new dress in years. But her determination to take care of herself and her inability to not let him get away with talking down to her were all things that made her appealing. She was pleasantly spunky to both his frowns and his bad attitude.
There are so many wonderful secondary characters, including her selfish family who told everyone that she’d died, I want to tell you about, instead I’m just going to tell you that you should put this review down and go get a copy of the story. You’re going to like it.
Happy reading folks!
*ARC provided by publisher (InterMix) via NetGalley
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Secrets of Mia Danvers
by Robyn DeHart
Release Date: June 18, 2014