Tracy’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars
Series: The Survivors, #11
Release Date: September 14, 2021
Aiden Sterling met Jenny Tate, the love of his life when he was only 12 years old. Against her better judgment, Jenny saved Aiden’s life when she found him left for dead in one of London’s rookeries, and the two formed a bond. For years they watched over each other and became the best of friends, later when they grew older, they became lovers, and words of love were spoken and promises of forever were made. But not long after those words were spoken everything changed. Aiden’s birth father’s family found him and Aiden left the rookery, promising to return for her. He left and joined the army and was soon part of Draven’s troop. He fought in the war and by some miracle survived. But when he returned to England and went looking for Jenny, he couldn’t find her and assumed she was dead. Heartbroken, he turned his passion to making money and was soon one of the richest men in England. Now thirteen years after he left her, Jenny is back in his life and he is desperate to find a way to keep her there. But it won’t be easy because one she hates him and two she is betrothed…
Jenny loved Aiden and when he left was heartbroken, but life goes on she refused to let his betrayal break her. About a year after he left, she was breaking into a house and was caught, but instead of calling the authorities, Roland, Viscount Chamberlayne instead offers her a job as his assistant. A job she takes and spends the next twelve years learning to appraise antiquities and to be a lady. She and Roland become friends and when whispers about Roland’s choice of lovers sets the ton against him, Jenny steps in and suggests they marry to save his reputation. It is not long after that while attending a ball, she comes face to face with Aiden. She would happily give him the cut direct, but Roland wants to investigate some artifacts that were found in Aiden’s house and is delighted to learn that Jenny and Aiden know each other. Aiden agrees to let them view the artifacts and sets his plan in motion to woo Jenny by proposing a wager – if he wins, she will help him find Harley, a street urchin who saved one of his friend’s wife and if she wins, he will have the artifacts sent to Roland’s house and won’t bother her anymore. But winning the wager isn’t enough to win Jenny’s love again, for that Aiden will have to prove to Jenny that not only does he love her, but that she is worthy of love…
This was a very well-written, nicely paced story with wonderful characters and a lot of emotion. The book is set in two parts, the first part is the past when Aiden and Jenny meet and their struggles growing up in the rookery, the second part is years later when they are both grown and successful. The book is filled with emotion, great secondary characters, cameos from previous survivors (including a cameo from Gideon of the Covent Street Cubs), steamy love scenes, homing pigeons, a secondary romance of forbidden love, and finally a HEA. I did feel like not enough attention was given to Aiden’s time with Draven’s troop or how he became so rich in such a short time and I had a real problem with Jenny getting physical with Aiden while she was engaged to Roland – yes, their’s was to be a MOC and he supported her having lovers after they married, but by carrying on with Aiden before they wed, she put Roland and his lover in danger and in my mind, not only cheated on him, she betrayed him. I am mentioning this because, while I know this doesn’t bother everyone, it bothers me and might be a trigger for some readers. Those points aside, I enjoyed the story and would recommend it to people who are following the series. This is the eleventh book in the series, but it can be read as a stand-alone title without any issues.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*