Series: Wicked Wallflowers #5
Publication Date: 9/17/19
Number of Pages: 327
This was a thoroughly enjoyable read with an improbable, slow-burn romance and a villain of whom you are happy to see the end. It was also nice to visit with Reggie Killoran again. I never really loved Henry, but I was so very happy that he wasn’t a man ‘ho. I thoroughly appreciated Clara as a heroine because she had overcome so much in her life, yet she wasn’t hard and cold – even though she tried to be. I also loved that the book wasn’t filled with angst. There was a bit of repetitive introspection, but not page after page after page of angst.
The book gets right into the action and excitement with Henry being attacked with the intention to murder him in St. Giles. He doesn’t make it easy for his assailants – he just keeps refusing to die. When he is totally unconscious and being dragged down an alleyway, a savior appears.
Henry March, the Earl of Waterson, is a prig of a man – uptight, regimented, fully focused on his role in parliament and totally unaware of how those who are less fortunate than he lives their lives. His parent’s marriage was a cold one – totally a business affair. Henry fully intended to follow along the same lines. Henry is also full to overflowing with guilt. Unjustified guilt, but he feels it anyway. His younger sister was caught in the riots at Peterloo and she’s been traumatized and withdrawn from the world since then. Henry blames himself for not getting her out of there sooner.
Clara Winters, former actress, whore, and madam finally has a future to which she looks forward. She and her friend Reggie Killoran are building a music hall in St. Giles. Clara will have a secure future and will be able to provide jobs for others who don’t want to have to sell their bodies in order to survive. She’s worked so very hard – and overcome so much – and she’s still almost afraid to hope that it will all work.
I loved the way Clara pulled at Henry – and Henry pulled at Clara even though neither of them wanted that. Henry began to learn what it was like for those less fortunate than himself and it was good to watch his growth as a person. Though this a very highly unlikely match, I still enjoyed the story.
I would have liked to learn what happened with the villain – and to see his punishment. That ending felt a little rushed to me. I know that Henry got his licks in, but – did he kill the villain? I don’t think so – but I didn’t really learn. The perfect thing, in my humble opinion, would have been for the villain to have been tried and convicted – transported would have been good given that he was a slaver – AND – I would have loved for his association with Lord Peerson to have been made public so Peerson could have some punishment as well. Something I didn’t understand was Henry’s older sister. Was her husband a peer? If so, why wasn’t she living in their home awaiting the birth of the child that would become the heir to that title if it was a boy? It just seemed odd that she was living with her brother rather than her deceased husband’s family.
I hope you’ll read and enjoy this book as much as I did.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.