This final entry in the Diamonds in the Rough series definitely ticks all of my boxes. If other authors want to know how to write a strong, courageous, intelligent, and resilient female lead, all they have to do is read this book. Lady Louise seems to be a very biddable young lady, doing as she is told by her parents and society, but underneath that pliant exterior resides a spine of steel and a determination that is unmatched. Then, there is Marcus, we’ve met him before, and I am so very pleased to see his HEA finally. He is one of the strongest and most honorable heroes you’ll ever meet.
Lady Louise, the youngest daughter of the Earl of Grasmere, has lost her sight on and off all of her life. Each time, she has had to undergo an excruciatingly painful procedure, cupping, to get her sight back. The procedure, inserting a needle into the eye and scraping the lens to the side, isn’t the only treatment available, but it is the only one her father will allow. Louise lives in constant fear of suddenly losing her sight in a social situation and making a fool of herself. That has happened before – and will likely happen again. The first time, she ended up sprawled in the middle of the ballroom floor. Now, she knows it is happening again – she’s lost sight in one eye and knows it will only be a matter of time before she loses the sight in the other eye. She just cannot – absolutely cannot – undergo another cupping treatment. To think that the remainder of her life will be coping with cupping treatment after cupping treatment – until finally, they don’t work anymore and she’ll be blind. When she meets a gifted eye surgeon she knows she wants to learn more about his procedure, but her father refuses to even discuss it.
Mr. Marcus Berkly, formerly Viscount Seabrook, son of the convicted and executed Earl of Hedgewick, lost all of his social and financial standing when his father was convicted of murder. It made no difference that Berkly had done the right thing and it was at his word the earl was convicted. Nope – nobody in the ton cared about that. He has spent the last decade remaking himself and has done an outstanding job of it. He didn’t spend any time with the woe-is-me attitude – he sucked it up and decided on a career – went to medical school – and is now the premier eye surgeon in England. Many doctors don’t accept his method of treating cataracts even though the procedure has been around for seventy-five years. No, these doctors don’t really understand the process – nor the science – and will continue using the cupping procedure.
When the lovely young woman he’d only met twice approached him about performing the procedure on her, his first inclination was to decline. Her father was adamantly against it and would not allow it, so it would have to be a covert process – and she’d have to lie in bed with her eyes bandaged for a month after the procedure. Not something that could be easily managed. Until her brother and sister-in-law step in to offer a solution. What a fateful solution that was!
When unwanted betrothals happen – as well as kidnappings, coach accidents, and other things – well goodness – things get really exciting. Can Louise and Marcus outwit the furious Grasmere? If they do, can Louise adapt to being a social pariah with no financial standing?
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. I even managed to get past the addressing of a duchess as ‘Lady’ rather than Duchess or Your Grace. The writing is excellent and I absolutely adored both the male and female protagonists.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.