Vivienne Lorrett wraps up her Rakes of Fallow Hall trilogy with Lucian’s story. Lucian is the dark, broody member of the trio of friends who wagered against ever getting married. And he is the last man standing, with only 6 months to go. It should be easy for him to hold out because A) he really has no plans to ever marry and B) that 10-thousand pound payout is essentially a matter of life and death for him.
Lucian borrowed that very amount of money from Lord Whitelock in order to save his father’s old steward Thorne from hanging for a crime he didn’t commit. Ever since then, Lucian’s luck at gambling has shriveled up and his dastardly father has disowned him. If he doesn’t win the wager with his friends, Thorne will go back to the hangman. It seem like Whitelock may be somehow behind Lucian’s losing streak. To make matters worse, he seems to have taken an unusual interest in Thorne’s daughter, Frances.
Lucian doesn’t know how or why Whitelock is conspiring against him or why he has made Frances into his wife’s companion, but he is determined to figure it out. He makes it his mission to keep Frances safe and unwittingly falls in love with her in the process.
The read was pleasant and I rather enjoyed watching the relationship between Frances and Lucian go from adversarial to sensual. But I had some serious issues with the book. The biggest problem I had was with the overwhelming powers of the villain. HOW did Whitelock manage to pull all those strings at once? How did he ensure Lucian lost so soundly? How did he orchestrate all of his plans so effortlessly? And still have a spotless reputation? Beyond that, the reason he targeted Frances felt flimsy.
Then there is Thorne. I can’t reconcile the man Lucian described before his arrest with his behavior afterwards. I kept waiting for a reveal that Whitelock was drugging him too, to explain away his character destruction, but no.
All this –and I had issues with Lucian, himself. He is willing to take 10-thousand pounds from his friends in a bet, but not a loan. He’d let this fester for three years, rather than ripping off the band-aid… And promise or not, the fact that he kept his situation a secret from his friends and Frances was just stupid.
I thought the reveal of why Whitelock framed Lucian was lame. And the off camera fate of Lucian’s father was highly unsatisfactory.
Plus, while the romance had some engaging moments, especially in the dialogue and banter, I felt like the revelation that these two were in love felt like flipping a switch. One day, each realized they were in love –and well, that was it.
This one was not great for me overall. There was some spark, but I had way too many issues to overlook.
*ARC provided by Avon
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Maddening Lord Montwood
by Vivienne Lorrett
Release Date: July 14, 2015