Review: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Reviewed by Jen

I haven’t read a historical romance from Julie Anne Long since the conclusion of her Pennyroyal Green series. And I’d almost forgotten just how much I enjoy her books. Though this story didn’t have the laugh out loud moments I associated with the other series, the romance was just as good and the black moment/reconciliation hit me right in the feels.

The book follows the title character, Lady Derring (Delilah), in the immediate aftermath of her husband’s death. The man left her penniless—and with nothing, save for an abandoned building on the docks. She discovers this at the same time she learns he kept a mistress, and left her in the same dire straits. Delilah finds she likes Angelique, despite herself. After all, neither of them really loved her husband, and neither needs to be ruined by him. They band together, sell all their jewelry, and turn the old building into a boardinghouse to support themselves.

It turns out that the late Derring was even more of a scoundrel than the women in his life knew. He was somehow tied up in a smuggling operation. One that Captain Tristan Hardy has been tasked to ferret out. He goes into the boardinghouse undercover, to figure out who was involved with the plot and bring them to justice.

I loved Tristan. He is hard and stoic and he keeps everything to himself. Born in St. Giles, he is no nobleman, but understands how to live among them—how to get the information he needs. Delilah is a breath of fresh air in his life. She is genuinely kind and lovely and he can’t help the way he is drawn to her. She brings light to his life. And she does it without being saccharine. There is stern stuff beneath her soft exterior and that makes her such an interesting combination. Remember, this is a woman who has never known love, one who has been insulated by her life as a lady. But she is willing to do hard work to be independent and in control of her own future.

The smuggling mystery was kind of meh. And the reveal on that was a bit lackluster. But the fallout—at least in the romance—was magnificent. Long did a fantastic job making my heart break along with Delilah’s, and Tristan’s redemption/grovel was totally top notch. She nailed it.

Big props for the lovely friendship between Delilah and Angelique. And a slow burn romance with a great payoff at the end.

Glad to have JAL writing historicals again. I look forward to reading more from her.

Rating: B+

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Lady Derring Takes a Lover
by Julie Anne Long
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Publisher: Avon

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