I know I’ve done a lot of kvetching lately about some of the fluff reads I chose to partake of recently, but this was one such read that I did not complain about nor will I and I just had to share. First and foremost I love a good historical romance. I’m not picky about time period so much as about the writing itself. Cowboys in the land of 19th Century West/Southwest/Midwest work just as well for me as the rogues in regency England. Always the stories live or die by the prose. For regency I’ve reviewed two other titles, one I was not overly fond of while the other is the standard against whom most authors wind up being measured, while this one has renewed my faith in the genre. Not easy to do for a category of books that seem to be overrun by anatomically correct terms and details while boasting all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
The hero in this tale is the rather typical rake: dashing, debonair with quite the reputation and, of course, he’s titled. We meet him in Hyde Park as he is taking part in a duel. That’s right, he’s in a duel facing down the husband of his rumored lover. He also winds up being shot in the leg thanks to the entrance of our heroine, a drably dressed woman on her way to work who screams out in hopes of stopping the duel.
Things do progress between our hero and heroine who wind up first being employer and nurse then into master and mistress. While the relationship goes through the common fluxes romance audiences are acquainted with, fear of intimacy and the like on the part of the hero, we have the opportunity to get a glimpse of what made the duke who he is. The character is deep, rich, flawed, and wholly believable in the hands of the author. But then we have the heroine. She is a woman we know little about beyond her incredible singing voice, gift with a needle and that she is wanted for murder and running from those seeking to confront her.
The growth of each character, the unveiling of each cause of emotional trauma, is handled deftly and believably by Balogh. From the family dynamic the duke grew up with, to the brilliant counterpoint of the heroine’s upbringing, every piece of history held relevance to the characters, the plot, and subsequently to this reader. The times of awkwardness or the lack of subtlety were few and far between where as overwhelmingly this book was tightly written and evidence of a truly talented author.
This delivers a happily ever after that warms the heart and delivers it in such a way that even the most clever or astute reader will be kept guessing until the very end. While it was a loaner from my local library I think this book will be sought out for a place on my own shelves. Rest assured I’ll be partaking of other works by this author in short order.
My next review will be: “Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt”, hopefully airing one week from today.