Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Sutherland Sisters #1
Publication Date: 9/5/17
What an unexpectedly delightful read with very complex and interesting characters. I say unexpectedly delightful because before I started reading I had wondered how the characters could go from blackmail to an HEA. Then, after the things that were said during the initial blackmail contact, I was sure it couldn’t happen. This was my first book by Anna Bradley, but it most definitely will not be the last.
Both the hero and heroine as well as several of the supporting characters are fractured and flawed by terrible childhoods. Once you finally understand the depth of emotional disturbances in their childhoods, you can better understand their actions in adulthood.
Lady Eleanor Sutherland is referred to as Lady Frost by the ton. It isn’t a name she has sought, nor is it a name that describes her in any way. So far, she has soundly rejected six suitors – five the ton knows of and one they don’t. She has her own page in White’s betting book where young bucks bet on everything from getting a smile from her to getting her to accept a marriage proposal. One of the first scenes in the book shows one of these young bucks trying to propose to her at a ball. Eleanor wants to marry for love, but she is afraid of marriage because of the way her father treated the family and her mother just seemed to disappear as a person. Eleanor has learned to feel that she isn’t important and she doesn’t matter.
Camden West’s childhood was shattered when he was nine years old and his father died of a fever. His uncle moved in and took over Cam’s inheritance. The uncle is a vile and hateful man and when Cam becomes really close (like brothers) with Julian (the uncle’s son), the uncle becomes wildly jealous of the relationship. Cam’s mother is shattered emotionally and never recovers. I can’t really tell you much more here without spoiling the story for you – but just know that the pivotal events in Cam’s life happened at the country estate.
Cam left home when he was thirteen and left for India when he was seventeen. Once he left, he never returned. While in India he made a huge fortune and came back to England bent on justice for his sister. However, he has confused justice with revenge and doesn’t take into account all of the collateral damage his revenge will do.
You’ll love Cam’s little sister. She is the sweetest eleven-year-old you’ll ever meet. Everybody loves her and she is the sunrise in Cam’s day. He loves her beyond all measure and will do anything for her, her future and her happiness.
The first part of Cam’s revenge includes marrying Eleanor. He tries gaining her interest in the normal way, but when that doesn’t work he develops a scheme to have her sister, Charlotte, compromised and he would be the only witness. That way, he can blackmail her into marriage. You’d think that wouldn’t work, but the Sutherland’s are a very, very close family and will do anything for each other.
The morning after Charlotte has been compromised, Cam pays a visit to Eleanor and delivers his blackmail demand. She finally agrees, but with no intention of actually going through with a betrothal. Thus begins a game of cat and mouse with each of them scheming to outwit the other. That part is a fun read when you see how Eleanor pulls his chain – until he finally figures out what she is up to.
You’ll ride along on a rollercoaster of emotions right up to the end. Cam finally realizes what true love is and that if he loves Eleanor, he might just have to let her go – yep – when that scene gets there you better have the tissues ready. You’ll also sigh and cry for Julian and Charlotte as well.
“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”