Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Capturing the Carlisles #5
Publication Date: 3/8/19
# of Pages: 318
This is another wonderful and unique addition to the Capturing the Carlisles series. The writing is excellent, the plot is excellent and I loved the characters. This book features Evelyn (Eve) Winslow who is the sister-in-law of Robert Carlisle (As the Devil Dares) and sister to Mariah, Robert’s wife. We don’t see a lot of the Carlisles in this book and I did miss them – but I loved both Dom and Eve. In Eve’s sister’s book, it was Hellion meets Hellion. In this one it is driven meets driven – and their journey is a fun one to watch.
Eve Winslow has narrowly – by the skin of her teeth – avoided scandal. She’s in a precarious position in society anyway – nobody wants anything to do with her because her father is in trade (and rich as Croesus) but they can’t shun her because her sister has married into the powerful Carlisle family. What was Eve’s scandal – well, if you read her sister’s book, you know – but if you didn’t – she was eloping to Scotland with a real scoundrel, and when he discovered she wasn’t an heiress, he left her at an inn. She had no money, no transportation and she didn’t know a soul. As this book begins, Eve is still being carefully monitored by her sister and her father because she can’t afford any chance of scandal. She is really chafing under that close scrutiny because she is a restless soul and can’t be still for long. Eve has what I would assume is a sort of anxiety disorder. When she was very young, her mother died and Eve equated it with sleeping – her mother just went to sleep and didn’t wake up. So, Eve has always been afraid to sleep because she was afraid she wouldn’t wake up. Eve is so fearful that she’ll die young herself that she tries to cram eight lifetimes into one short one.
The Duchess, Robert’s mother, asked Eve to assure that she picked up a painting (by Domenico Vincenzo) that Dominick Mercer, Marquess of Ellsworth, was giving to Robert and Mariah as a wedding present. No problem – that is simple enough. Except, it isn’t. When Eve arrives at the Marquess’ house, things are in turmoil. When Eve tries to ask about the painting, the butler assumes she is a model for Vincenzo (the painter) and sends her to another address. Then, when she arrives at the studio, again – chaos. The artist is in a hot argument with a woman and he also leaps to the conclusion that Eve is there to model (nude) for him.
Dominick had long been estranged from his family because they didn’t understand his need, his drive, his obsession with being a painter. He had left England and moved to Venice to study and paint. His art came first – before everything else – and he had become the famous Italian painter Domenico Vincenzo. Of course, a life of debauchery went along with that name. Then, the worst thing happened. Dominick’s brother died and Dominick was now the Marquess of Ellsworth. Dominick packed up and moved back to England to perform his duties, but he couldn’t give up his painting, so he started leading a double-life. In one life, he was a staid, much-respected Marquess and in the other, he was a driven painter. Too bad those two lives are about to collide.
Dom is mesmerized by the model that has just shown up at his studio and he just knows that she is perfect for his masterpiece. When she tries to tell him she’s not an actress or model, he doesn’t listen and just overtalks her right into the studio. Eve is chagrined at first, then intrigued and thinks this could be an adventure – just what she’s been looking for.
Dom and Eve are thrown together almost daily and grow closer and closer – until Dom is afraid she is getting too close. He must keep her at a distance because his art must come first. Add in a vindictive former model who wants more from Dom and a revenge-seeking former ‘betrothed’ of Eve and you have a rollercoaster of a ride.
I thoroughly enjoyed this read – and it even had a lovely epilogue. I would have liked to see just a bit more in the epilogue though. It would have been nice to see that Dominick James Mercer’s paintings became some of the most sought-after in England and the continent and far exceeded Domenico Vincenzo’s. Still — the epilogue was sweet and lovely!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.