Release Date: September 25, 2017
This book was almost perfect and I really enjoyed the story.
Declan Sinclair, The Duke of Darington aka Dec has returned to England after 12 years. He was sent away after his father committed suicide and has been forbidden to return, until now. But this will not be a happy homecoming for Dec, he returns to find his beloved older brother Albert is dead and he is the new Duke.
Dec is determined to find his brother’s murderer and clear his father’s name, but when he reunites with his childhood friends, Lady Alethea Swinton aka Allie and Finlay Swinton, Viscount Firthwell, his single-minded pursuit of justice is in danger of derailment.
This story is not what I expected, I was thinking it was going to be a straight up friends to lovers story and in some senses it was, but it is so much more!
Allie is overjoyed to see Dec again, but she is cautioned by her father The Earl of Rockhaven to stay away from him as he is considered scandalous. Allie seems to crave her father’s acceptance and has only recently returned to England herself – she has been in Scotland for the last three years caring for her mother – when her mother passed away, she stayed on in Scotland, only returning at her father’s request. Her time in Scotland changed her, she is no longer content to be an idle lady of leisure. But she still has a strong desire to make her father happy, which seems to stem from her contentious relationship with her mother. But the pull of Dec is too great to ignore.
As Dec and Allie renew their friendship, Allie learns the reason Dec has returned and offers to help him. Dec is reluctant to draw Allie into his investigation for many reasons, the primary one being, he believes her father is involved. He tries to keep his distance and ignore his growing attraction to her, but like Allie, the attraction is too great to ignore.
The story is gripping and well written, it is packed with surprise revelations, steamy interludes, life altering secrets, ruthless villains and a little heartbreak before finally culminating into a sweet, sigh worthy HEA.
The only reason I didn’t give this five stars is there are some unresolved questions, like why did Dec get sent away and why was he forbidden to return? There are also a couple of minor inconsistencies and period related errors (that may actually be corrected before the publication, this was an ARC) but were glaringly obvious to this reader. But even with these issues, I really enjoyed this book and would happily recommend it and look forward to reading more by this author!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*