I am such a fan of this series. It has made Kerrigan Byrne an auto-buy for me. I read this entire book in one sitting, as I have done with all the installments before it. It wasn’t my favorite of hers, for a few reasons. But even at her worst, this author has become one of my faves in the historical romance genre.
This is the Duke of Trenwyth’s story. It begins before the events of the last book. Cole is about to go off on a secret spy mission, the one where he was taken hostage and ultimately rescued in an earlier book. Before he embarks on his perilous journey, he visits a brothel with his buddies. That is where he meets Imogen.
Our heroine is not a whore, but she is a serving girl who is working off her father’s debt to the owner of the place. She wears a disguise and hides her identity so it does not besmirch her sister and mother’s reputations, nor does it spoil her day job as a nurse. Anyway, when Cole spots her, he has eyes for no other. He pays the proprietor an enormous amount of money for her, and here’s the first place the book went a little awry for me. The owner forces her to do the deed. I wasn’t sure how I could be OK with the story when our heroine lost her virginity without really much consent to the hero. To be fair, he thought she was a prostitute and he did not know about her objections, but still.
Anyway after their night together, he disappears for a year and Imogen doesn’t see him again until he shows up at the hospital where she works, gravely ill and missing a hand. Despite the fact that memories of her helped him endure terrible torture, he does not recognize his lady without her wig and make up. He lashes out at her, even though she is the one who saved his life. And again, I had a problem, because she’s a pretty nice girl and for the second time he has trampled all over her life.
Strike three: two years later when he encounters her again he doesn’t recognize her either as his precious Ginny or as the nurse who he got fired and thrown out on the street. For petty aristocratic reasons, he is a butt to her yet again. It should’ve been three strikes and he was out, but I held on. Mostly because this author has never let me down before. But also because there was such amazing chemistry between these two.
Imogen is almost too perfect. She is very forgiving and is using her new lease on life to help others. It’s kind of hard to believe that there is any softness left in her after all she’s been through. Even more hard to fathom is why she did not hate Cole’s guts. But the despite the fact it strained credibility, despite the fact that Cole deserved a swift twist to the ‘nads, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book.
It’s dark and twisty. It has this great Victorian flare. The great characters from the previous books are back and woven into the story. There is a murder mystery going on too. For me, it was just captivating despite the things that niggled at me. Maybe from another author, those things would’ve been deal breakers. But here they just weren’t.
Even when Cole didn’t deserve it, I rooted for them to find their way back to each other. I was invested in both main characters and in their romance. The resolution is a little bit quick, but it was satisfying. I am already itching to get my hands on the next book.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Kerrigan Byrne
Release Date: February 7, 2017