In The Dark With The Duke by Christi Caldwell

In the Dark with the Duke (Lost Lords of London, #2)Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Lost Lords of London #2
Publication Date: 6/9/20
Number of Pages: 365

Lady Lila March and Hugh Savage have more in common than either of them realizes and it was fun to watch them figure that out. The book is well-written and I liked the story, but it did leave me scratching my head about a few things. I liked both Lila and Hugh, but some of the other characters just seemed to be space fillers. I also think this is one of those books that just begged for an epilogue. I would have dearly loved to see how Lila’s family reacted and maybe learn a bit about the wedding, etc. – but definitely, I would like to see things maybe a year out into their future.

For the last nine years, Lady Lila March has lived the life of a recluse. She goes nowhere and she sees no one. A couple of years ago, she realized she needed to get some of her life back, so she sought out someone to help her return to her love of music. That helped, but with all of the news in the scandal rags about children of the ton being kidnapped, she is terrified for her small nephew. Nine years ago, she was helpless and couldn’t protect herself – and now she is determined that won’t happen again. She’s going to learn to fight – to defend herself and those she loves – and she’s going to find the very best person to teach her. He’s undefeated, he’s even killed in the ring – she just has to convince him to show her how it is done.

Hugh Savage was forced to fight from the time he was a young boy. Luckily, he was very good at it and that is the only reason he survived his childhood. Each bare-knuckle match became bloodier and bloodier until it was the expectation that one opponent would die. All of that terror, degradation, blood, and slaughter just for the jeering entertainment of the toffs. When Hugh escaped his prison, he joined the army – only to find himself begging on the streets after returning from the horrors of the Napoleonic wars. He abhors violence and wants no part of it, but when two former fight-mates rescue him from the street, he returns to the fight clubs. Though he rarely has to enter the ring, he still wants out of it altogether.

When Hugh is approached by a slip of a girl who wanted him to teach her to fight, his reaction was to send her away. No way would he teach anyone – especially someone like her – how to fight. Then, he saw the fear and despair in her eyes. Hugh and Lila were attracted to each other from the moment they saw each other. The aristocracy sickens Hugh and he refuses to have any dealings with them – but something about Lila tells him there is more to her than meets the eye.

I loved how Lila just kept mowing down all of Hugh’s defenses and I loved that Hugh was really a gentle giant who hated the life he’d had to live in order to survive.

I was puzzled throughout the entire book though. Hugh was stolen and sold to a crime lord when he was very, very young. He had no memories of his parents at all – yet he spoke perfect aristocratic English. Also, he had all kinds of knowledge about things he just ‘knew’, but didn’t know how he knew it. Thus my conundrum – if he were old enough to have learned about battle strategies and to speak perfect English – why wouldn’t he have some memories of his parents. But, if he were stolen very young (as the story implies), how would he speak perfect English and where would his knowledge have come from? Also, he was basically locked in a cage until he was at least 15 years old. Then he went into the army – so where did he learn how to plan and run a business?

The puzzles didn’t keep me from enjoying the story, but they did keep me scratching my head trying to figure out what happened. I hope you’ll enjoy the story – I did.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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