Barbara’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Diamonds In The Rough #3
Publication Date: 8/28/18
Danger, suspense, and romance abound in this great addition to Sophie Barnes’ Diamonds In The Rough series. I loved the earlier tales about this ‘fish out of water’ family and was afraid this was to be the last book, so I was delighted to learn that there is at least one more book coming. The characters are interesting and unique, the villain finally gets his punishment and the romance is delightful.
Florian Lowell is the most brilliant physician in England. He is always learning from the medical sciences in other lands and incorporating them into his practice. Other physicians decry some of his modern practices – probably out of jealousy – but Florian gets results. He really just wants to be left alone to practice medicine, but the world just won’t leave him be. Florian has deeply held secrets – secrets that would ruin him, his family and anyone who is closely associated with him. To add to the stress of his secret, his uncle (his mother’s brother), the Duke of Redding, has petitioned the King to make Florian his legal heir, there is a typhus epidemic in London, and the most beguiling woman he has ever met is plaguing him at every turn.
Juliette Matthews is the youngest sister of the Duke of Huntley. She has always had a delicate constitution and has, therefore, always been protected and coddled. She chafes at that. She is stronger than they think and she wants to do something with her life. She was raised in the slums of St. Giles and has no patience for the ton’s habits of making morning calls and attending balls. Earlier in the year, her older sister, Amelia, used her yearly allowance to purchase a building and set up a school for underprivileged children and now Juliette wants to do something similar. She wants to donate her yearly allowance to St. Agatha Hospital and to become a member of the hospital’s board. The fact that a board membership would bring her into regular contact with Florian Lowell is just icing on the cake.
I loved the romance between Florian and Juliette. He was so honorable and selfless that you just had to love him. He fiercely fought his attraction to Juliette – for her sake, not his. He knew that an association with him could put her in physical danger and also ruin her family. Then, you have Juliette who is so open and honest – she doesn’t hide the truth from herself or Florian. She is attracted to him and she lets him know it. How in the world can he fight against such innocent and open honesty?
I loved learning more about the medical practices during that period and Florian’s implementing some of the more creative practices from around the world. Typhus was a horrible disease and could have wiped out all of London if Florian hadn’t acted quickly and decisively. Juliette’s ideas and money contributed greatly to containing and stopping the spread of the disease. (Be sure to read the Author’s Notes in the back – they are great – very informative.)
The suspense is palpable. When Florian’s enemy threatens Juliette, he will do anything and everything to protect and save her – and she feels the same about him.
I would have loved to learn more about the street urchin that escaped from the quarantine in St. Giles. How many other people did he come into contact with? Was he found dead on the streets somewhere? Was he somehow found and treated? It just felt like a thread that wasn’t wrapped up.
Other things I wondered – What happened to the house where Juliette contracted typhus? Florian had the coach burned – would the house have been burned as well? Why wouldn’t Florian have treated Juliette in that same house since it was already contaminated instead of taking her to his uninfected home? Another thing was the conversation between Huntley and Florian as they were removing Juliette – From what I’ve seen of Huntley so far, I don’t buy that conversation. At that particular moment, he wouldn’t have cared one whit about what would happen with her reputation, his only concern would have been her survival. He’d think about her reputation later.
It seems strange to me that someone so young (23 or so) would CHOOSE to be the Dowager Duchess of Tremaine. Actually, her name would have been Viola Tremaine since peers use the title name as their last name. Anyway – she doesn’t automatically have to be the dowager. She has no children. She could just continue to be the Duchess of Tremaine until the day she dies – or remarries. Should the new heir have a wife that wife would also be the Duchess of Tremaine. One would be the 4th Duchess of Tremaine and the other would be the 5th Duchess of Tremaine (or whatever the appropriate number is).
Anyway, it is a great read – don’t let my ‘wonderings’ make you think that I didn’t thoroughly and absolutely love it – because I did love it.
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