*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by the author*
A very good collection of Victorian Era novellas.
To Lure a Lost Duke – Christy Carlyle – 5 stars: This was my favorite in the collection, it was also the longest of the five and the steamiest. This is the story of Octavia aka Tavia and Killian Graves, the Duke of Strathmoor. Octavia is an investigator hired by the Queen to track down Killian and bring him back to London. Killian was a soilder and never expected to inherit, he doesn’t feel worthy and couple that with an accusation of murder – he has decided to walk away from his life. Tavia finds Killian and worms her way into his life. After a confrontation with the murdered man’s brother, Killian agrees to return to London, where he hope Tavia will agree to marry him. But upon his return he is promptly arrested for the murder and believes the woman he loves betrayed him. Can Tavia clear his name and convince Killian that she was not party to his arrest? Great story!
Cast In Scandal – Laura Landon – 4 stars: This is the story of Edward, Duke of Townsend and Alyssa, Countess of Lindleigh. Edward has been tasked with finding a missing agent of the crown and finding out the truth of Lord Lindleigh’s death. Alyssa has lived under a cloud of suspicion for the past year – the ton believes that she killed her husband. Alyssa would be more than happy to live the rest of her life out of society – but for the sake of her daughter, she has re-entered society and is trying to put the scandal behind her – without much success. Edward is drawn to Alyssa and after a rocky start, they form a friendship. Edward manages to find the missing link between the missing agent and the death of Alyssa’s husband – but will he be able to save the woman he loves? I liked this story – both Alyssa and Edward are older and have been in love before and been hurt by those loves.
The Viscount’s Secret – Anthea Lawson – 3 stars: Anthony, Viscount Percival is a spy, he has honed an image of a frivolous flirt to glean secrets. Irenna is the niece of Anthony’s latest target – but somehow she sees past his disguise. Anthony is intrigued by Irenna and hopes that she can be the one woman that can love the real Anthony. But the path to their HEA will be difficult, Irenna has been hurt before and war is brewing. I felt like this novella was a little too short and therefore it made the love story feel rushed and unbelievable.
A Spy to Call My Own – Rebecca Paul – 3 1/2 stars: This story started out so good, but it wrapped up too quickly. Vera is a suffragette and attending college when she learns that her brother has died. Desperate for answers, she travels to Africa to find her brother’s partner, Owen. Owen is an agent for the home office – he fell in love with Vera years ago – but his duty has made walk away from her. When she shows up with a map that she found hidden in her brother’s belongings – he wants nothing more than to ship her back to England where she will be safe. Vera is having none of that and manages to save herself and Owen from certain death when the villain tries to take the treasure that cost her brother his life. This was well written and interesting – but it wraps up way too fast and felt incomplete.
Tempting the Scoundrel – Lana Williams – 4 1/2 stars: Elliott, Earl of Aberland is a spy, he has cultivated the image of a rake and a wastrel to explain his many absences from society. Sophia Markham is his grandmother’s new companion and far to lovely and clever for Elliott’s peace of mind. Elliott tries to send Sophia away – because he knows it will be impossible to maintain his cover with this woman, but his grandmother adores her and he doesn’t have the heart to hurt her. They grow close and Sophia is sure that Elliott is not the scoundrel he wants the world to believe. However when she spies on him and is caught – he makes it clear that he is not interested in her and that he is exactly what his reputation implies. But when danger threatens and Sophia is dragged into an assassination attempt on the Queen – Elliott will move heaven and earth to save the woman he loves. Great addition to the Seven Curses series with cameos from the previous characters.
I really enjoyed this collection and would be happy to recommend it.