Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Seven Curses of London, #10
Release Date: February 25, 2020
If you have been following this series you will definitely remember Lady Samantha Brown as the nasty witch of a fiancée to Tristan Hawke, Lord Adair. She was positively evil to Grace Stannus, the widowed Viscountess Chivington in Rescuing the Earl and when I realized that she was the heroine in this book, I was seriously wondering how Ms. Williams was going to actually pull off the redemption of this lady!!
Lady Samantha is on her way to a house party thrown by the Duke and Duchess of Rushford, where her mother and uncle hope she will snare a proposal from the Duke’s son and heir, the Marquess of Dallen, a proposal Samantha is not sure she really wants. She has changed in the two years since her broken engagement to Adair and she is no longer interested in just wealth and status, she truly wants to be a better person, but she knows her family is counting on her to turn their fortunes around and she feels obligated to comply. They are nearly at the estate when their carriage is held up and the highwayman demands their valuables. She parts with her grandmother’s onyx ring under duress and to add insult to injury, the highwayman steals a kiss! A kiss that she can’t seem to forget, so when she meets the mystery man again at the ball, she agrees to help him if he will return her ring. He agrees and directs her to meet him at the Walthorpe Club.
Gabriel Sloane is the unacknowledged bastard son of the Duke of Rushford. He was raised by his mother in a poor section of London and through hard work has risen above his humble beginnings to become the owner of a successful gaming club. But Gabriel has never forgotten where he came from and when a local tea factory burns down, leaving many people jobless and several injured, he wants to help, when pleas for donations to charities and his father are ignored, Gabriel takes matters into his own hands and dabbles in Highway robbery – but after his encounter with Samantha, he knows that is not the way to help his friends. When she shows up at the club, he returns her ring and explains why he was robbing people. Impressed by his selflessness, Samantha vows to help him.
Samantha wants to help the people affected by the fire and tries first with the charities she works with, but soon learns that they are not really interested in helping. She is also trying to make amends for her past behavior and asks several people, including Adair and his wife Grace for forgiveness. Through these apologies, she learns about the book the Seven Curses of London and is shocked to learn about the corruption in charities. She makes a serious effort to raise awareness and manages to upset Dallen’s mother, jeopardizing her hope of a proposal.
Meanwhile the series ongoing villain Jack McCarthy is at large and is not happy about the attention Gabriel has brought to the neighborhood or the help he is supplying the victims of the fire. Jack wants to have a legit business and needs the property – he offered to buy the buildings but was turned down, leaving him no choice but to take them! Now everything he has worked for could be ruined and there is no way he will allow that.
Gabriel works with Rutland to try and bring down Jack, he also works with Samantha to aid the victims and soon it is clear feelings have developed, but Gabriel has nothing to offer her and she needs to marry for money – but they can’t seem to stay away from each other.
This was a well written, sweet romance that was a very nice addition to the series, I enjoyed the story and I was completely won over by Samantha, I went into this story not believing that I could ever like her and ended up loving her, her transformation was amazing, heartfelt and completely believable. Gabriel was a wonderful hero and very easy to like. The book has cameos by almost all the previous couples in the series, it is very low heat with just a couple of kisses, redemption and a very hard won HEA. I did feel like the story lagged a bit in the middle, but it picks up steam towards the end and sprints to the finish. I was also a little disappointed that there were no details regarding the “end” of the villain – I don’t know if that was on purpose or simply overlooked with everything going on at the end of the book, but I felt the lack. Otherwise, this was a great book and while it is the tenth book in the series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone. I enjoyed the book and would be happy to recommend the entire series!