Tracy’s rating: 3/3.5 of 5 stars
Series: Rebels of the Ton, #1
Release Date: November 24, 2020
****WARNING THIS REVIEW CONTAINS OPINIONS AND REFERENCES THAT MIGHT BE SPOILERISH****
Drusilla “Dru” Clare is mistakenly caught up in a plot to call out Gabriel Marlington that results in them having to marry. Drusilla is best friends with his step-sister Lady Eva de Courtney and has harbored tender feeling for Gabriel for years. On the outside Dru is a sharp-tongued, non-nonsense feminist who has repeatedly voiced her distain for marriage and when she does speak to Gabriel, she is curt and tosses out veiled insults. But inside she is a lonely, insecure woman who doesn’t believe that Gabriel would ever be interested in a woman like her and is insulting to protect herself from being hurt. She is stunned when she realizes they will marry and is sure that she will be hurt when he breaks her heart.
Gabriel Marlington is the son of Mia, Marchioness of Exley, who was taken captive as a young woman and was a slave owned Sultan Abdul Hassan of Oran. After the sultan’s death and his brother Assad’s betrayal – Gabriel left the only home he ever knew and moved to England. He has done his best to acclimate to his new existence – giving up his family, culture and religion – and even giving up his loyalty to save others, but the cost was high and led to some startling discoveries. He is trying to figure out what to do with those discoveries, when it seems that someone in England has targeted him for vengeance. It is that vengeance that sees him married to Dru – a woman he can’t seem to figure out and who he desires beyond reason.
****WARNING – THE FOLLOWING MIGHT BE SLIGHTLY SPOILERISH****
After reading the Outcast series and meeting Gabriel (Jibril) in those books, I was incredibly excited to learn the first book in this new series would feature him, but as it has happened before, the likeable character I met in the previous books was barely recognizable when the focus was on him – I don’t know, maybe he was always a selfish, arrogant prick and I chose not to acknowledge it in the previous books – but in any case – I was really put off by his attitude – he forbids Dru to see her friend after seeing the man holding her hand the day before they are to marry – then trots off to see his mistresses – yes, plural – house to “break up” and engages in kissing and cuddling with one of them that day and the other one another day – he tells Dru that they are his friends and she has to accept that they will continue to be a part of his life – I don’t know about you – but I would not be cool with my husband continuing to spend time with and being “friends” with two women that he had a long term sexual relationship with that only ended because he married – yeah – that doesn’t work for me. Then when he springs his “secret” on her – again, she is told she has to accept it and if she doesn’t like it – too bad. You would think that all that would make me feel sorry for Dru and pick her side against him – WRONG – she is a complete shrew for 80% of the book – she has a lot of internal dialogue that is in complete contradiction to what actually comes out of her mouth – but sadly, what comes out of her mouth makes it almost impossible to sympathize with her. She is not an evil person and if you base your opinions on her internal musings, she is relatable and actually quite nice – but her insecurities are crippling and make her seem like a witch for most of the book. It seems like the only thing going for these two is that they rock it in bed – other than that – I really no idea why they fell in love.
This is the first book in a new series and while it is loosely tied to the Outcast series, you can easily read this as a standalone title. Honestly, I didn’t love certain aspects of this book, but overall, it is a well written, nicely paced story with interesting characters, steamy love scenes, surprises, villains that surprise you, cameos with Adam and Mia, a HEA and I really did like the way the author portrayed Gabriel’s transition from Oran to England – the good and the bad. There were some title errors, but nothing too egregious and the ending of this book really made me want to read the next one!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.*