I can’t remember the last time I cried this much reading a book. It says so much about Lorraine Heath’s ability to craft her characters that she made me care for them so much. I expected a light story about about a rich rake, falling for a canny con artist. But what I got was so much more. Rosalind is a swindler, but that is the tip of the iceberg for her character; and it’s her backstory and its impact on the present that kept me reading, cover to cover, without putting it down once.
The Duke of Avendale never considered a woman as more than a pleasant diversion, until he spotted Rosalind at his gaming hell. Between her stunning red dress and sharp eyes, she was captivating, and he knew he had to have her. The fact that she didn’t fawn over him or accept his advances only made her more attractive, and from then on, he was completely hooked. Of course, he had no idea that she was really playing a con. She’s actually not a widow waiting for her inheritance. She is good at reading people and can tell a convincing story. She has to. She has people to take care of.
It’s not a baby. I’ll tell you that. But I don’t want to spoil the particulars. Heath unwraps this story one step at a time and that is part of what makes it so engaging. There are no predictable tropes. No unnecessary tripe to wade through to get to the good parts. All the parts are good parts. Even the parts that break your heart. And it will break your heart.
Rosalind is a fabulous heroine. She is smart, resourceful, and so pragmatic. I love the time spent in her point of view, watching how her mind works, fighting between her practical needs and her emotional wants. I loved watching her fall for Avendale, yet never losing sight of her priorities. As for her hero, I liked him too. He was slightly underdeveloped in comparison to Rose, but I really didn’t mind. He is a good man. His actions speak so much louder than his self-derision. And together, they were wonderful.
The real scene stealer, though, is that mystery character. That person Rosalind takes care of. He is the heart of this book. The connections he makes with the other characters and his impact are impossible to overstate. I loved him and you will too.
I would heartily recommend this book for historical romance fans. But bring your Kleenex and be prepared for it to grab a hold of your heart. Until then, try to stay spoiler free, if you can.
*ARC provided by Avon
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Duke and the Lady in Red
by Lorraine Heath
Release Date: April 28, 2015