Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Wicked Wallflowers #4
Publication Date: 5/7/19
Number of Pages: 352
Finally, the Mad Marquess gets his HEA and I’m absolutely thrilled with Gertrude and Stephen as well. They all had their own growth to manage and issues with which they had to come to terms. I usually have to read this author’s work in increments because it is so intensely emotional and gripping. I love that this one wasn’t that way – I read it straight through. Yes, it was every bit as emotional as the other books, but it was a beautiful emotional rather than the gut-wrenching kind.
In the last book, The Governess, the Mad Marquess was going after Broderick Killoran full tilt. He blamed Broderick for the kidnapping of his son and the deaths of his wife and unborn child seven years ago. To avoid hanging, Broderick and his street-sisters all had to agree to never again see Stephen again 0nce they returned him to the Mad Marquess – they couldn’t even accompany him on the coach ride to the Marquess’ home.
Gertrude Killoran has always been the outsider among her street-siblings – she belonged and was loved equally, but she was also on the outside. She was the weak one who was overlooked while others made decisions for her. She can’t do that anymore – she cannot allow an apprehensive and upset Stephen to make that long and lonely trek from the Devil’s Den to his father’s home. So, at the last minute, she slips into the coach and they begin the stressful ride. Along the way, she talks seriously with Stephen and realizes that she cannot leave him to adjust to his new circumstances alone. She’ll do the impossible! She’ll convince the man who despises everything about her and her siblings to allow her to live in his home until Stephen is settled with a suitable governess.
Edwin Warwick, Marquess of Maddock, isn’t really mad but he has every reason to be! He has suffered unspeakable horrors in his life – his home was burned, his wife and unborn child died, and his son August died as well. Then, he learned that August hadn’t died, he had been kidnapped and taken into the street gang run by Mac Diggory. In that seven years, Edwin had been accused of murder, shunned by the ton, and called a madman. He embraced being a madman, he stopped going out in public, drank prodigiously, and stayed angry all the time while nurturing his hate for the remaining members of Diggory’s gang – the Killorans. Now, there is one of those vile, despicable creatures standing in his foyer – and she’s refusing to leave.
With his son standing there, ready to bolt and run, what can he say to the woman? He drags her into his library so he can rant at her in private – but – imagine that – she doesn’t cower from him or show any fear. She stands up to him and makes reasonable arguments for why he should change his mind and let her stay until Stephen is settled and a suitable governess is hired.
I absolutely loved their journey – and it was a journey of three. Stephen had to grow to trust Edwin in order to be happy in his new home and circumstances. Edwin had to learn to be a father again and to trust that Gertrude was helping him and Stephen adjust to each other. Gertrude had to learn to trust Edwin with Stephen and to trust that he wouldn’t go back on his word and harm Broderick or her sisters.
I am in deep admiration for how the author handled all of this book, but especially the final chapters. Her writing is excellent, the characters are deep and well developed and the romance is truly swoon-worthy! Now, I can’t wait for the next book in the series, The Spitfire, featuring Clara Waters and the Earl of Waterson, coming out in September.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.