Series: The 1797 Club, #3
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
This series is phenomenal – there is so much emotion written into these books, that you can’t help but to be sucked in and become invested in the characters.
This is the story of Graham Everly, Duke of Northfield and Lady Adelaide aka Lydia Ford. If you have been following the series, you know that Graham was jilted in the previous book and that Lady Adelaide is dear friends with Emma, Duchess of Abernathe.
In the two months since Graham was jilted and lost his best friend in the process, he has been sulking. He didn’t love Meg, but his pride was hurt and he was angry at both Simon and Meg for their betrayal. He has been drinking and brooding ever since. His fellow dukes have decided that he has sulked long enough and convince him to go out with them to see a play. Grudgingly he agrees and is immediately captivated by the actress Lydia Ford. After the play, he meets her backstage and they share a passionate kiss.
Lydia Ford is not who she seems, she is in reality Lady Adelaide, daughter of the late Earl of Longford. When she hears the Duke of Northfield wants to meet her, she is terrified that he will recognize her and she will be ruined. She started acting to escape her unhappy home life and has been successful in keeping her true identity a secret. By day, she is the dutiful niece to the abusive, unstable Lady Opal. She is a wallflower, who wears spectacles and dowdy gowns. But by night, she is the bold and talented actress Lydia Ford. She meets with Graham and is relieved that he doesn’t seem to recognize her – but why would he? He is gorgeous, rich and popular and Lady Adelaide is a wallflower.
Graham feels lighter and happier after meeting Lydia and decides to stop hiding and return to society. To avoid a confrontation with Meg and Simon, Graham asks Lady Adelaide to dance and is surprised and delighted by her. The encounter causes Graham a bit of turmoil, how can he be attracted to two women at the same time? It isn’t exactly easy for Adelaide either, she is attracted to Graham, but can’t tell him her secrets.
Things between Graham and Lydia heat up and they share a passionate night together, but strangely, Graham feels out of sorts. He keeps crossing paths with Adelaide and they have formed a friendship. He has begun to care for Lydia, but he also has begun to care for Adelaide and his affair with Lydia makes him feel like he is betraying Adelaide. Adelaide is also having problems, the least of which is she is jealous…..of herself.
When a villain from the past attacks Lydia, Graham beats the man senseless and Lydia saves him from himself. They share another night together and Graham shares his deepest, darkest secrets with her. Adelaide is horrified by the pain and suffering Graham endured as a child and admits to herself that she is falling in love with this broken man. She knows that she will have to tell him her secrets and soon, as their night together might have complications. Graham awakens to find Lydia gone and he is more confused than ever – he wants both women and has no idea what to do. He turns to his friend James, Duke of Abernathe (Meg’s brother & Emma’s husband) for advice.
When Adelaide returns home, her aunt loses control and attacks her, she is saved when her friend Emma arrives and takes her to her home. Graham is also at Emma’s house and James tells him to let Adelaide go. He accepts this advice with a heavy heart, but when he goes to leave, he finds Adelaide in the library. When he sees her, he is confused, she looks more like Lydia and when she confesses the truth, he is overjoyed. They share another passionate encounter and he makes a decision.
The next day, he arrives to see Adelaide and tell her of his plans, but they are interrupted by her aunt and then by an agent from the home office with the news that Graham is the prime suspect in a murder. To save Graham, Adelaide confesses her affair with Graham. Her aunt goes crazy and attacks Adelaide again. Once she is taken out of the house, Adelaide and Graham decide to find out who the true killer is. Once they do, Graham tells Adelaide that they will marry.
The truth of the murder and his acceptance of his feelings for Adelaide, lead Graham to reconcile with Simon and Meg. It also leads Adelaide to try and make amends with her aunt.
This book is so good! It is well written, flows perfectly, has steamy love scenes, great secondary characters, a lot of secrets, nasty villains, some heart stopping moments, reconciliations and finally a sigh worthy HEA.
I would highly recommend this book, it is the third in the series and could be read as a stand alone title, but I think you would have a great understanding of the character’s motivations if you read the series in order.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review of an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*