By Loretta Chase
This was my second book by Loretta Chase and it does measure up to Lord of Scoundrels. I listened to it on audible read by the very talented Kate Reading who has a voice perfectly matched to both of the dynamic couples in the books. I wearied of Historical Romances quite some time ago, but Loretta Chase reminds me of why I used to gobble them up. When I finished the first novel, I was hoping that it wouldn’t be the last I saw of the unforgettable Lord and Lady Dain so I was very pleased to see them again in this, and not just in passing. Not to mention the large and very surprising role the dutchess’s hapless silly brother Bertie has in it!
In 1820s London Lydia Grenville is a crusading journalist who also writes best-selling serials in secret. She meets our bad boy hero Vere Mallory, Lord Ainsworth, after practically running him down in her carriage while in hot pursuit of a bawd who has kidnapped still another young innocent country girl for nefarious purposes. He follows her with mayhem in mind and they face off in a dark alley which ends with the Amazonian Lydia, as always accompanied by her mastiff Susan, knocking him down in the mud. In full public view. Coralie temporarily escapes Lydia’s wrath but the rescued country girl, genteel and well-educated Tamsin, becomes Lydia’s girl Friday. There are many subplots in this which makes the book a bit episodic. It is very action-packed. Lydia continues to pursue and outwit Coralie, the infamous and evil madam, steals back Tamsin’s stolen rubies, rescues a pitiful new mother from prison, participates in a dangerous and exciting carriage race, and foils a kidnapping. Somehow Ainsworth always seems to be around to either lend a hand or to complicate matters, to Lydia’s frustration. It is a passionate battle of wills and they are evenly matched. They fall in lust, then love, quarreling and fighting every inch of the way right up to the altar (she lost a bet). Meanwhile, we learn about their tragic backstories and uncover the mystery of Lydia’s parentage. Tamsin is no slouch either and has her own story and romance as well.
It’s a wild ride and very entertaining with lots of caustic and amusing banter, comedy, adventure, and drama. Social conditions and women’s issues are given due attention. To top it off, the passionate and satisfying romance was free from silly misunderstandings, deceptions, and stupidity. They were made for each other for many reasons, but mostly because they both hide hearts of gold.