Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Series: Stonecliffe #1
Publication Date: 5/24/22
Number of Pages: 384
This author never disappoints. Her writing style just resonates with me. Do you know what I mean? Some authors write excellently and you enjoy their books, but others just seem to sing out to you – this author’s books always sing out to me for some reason. The pacing is excellent and your emotions, fears, etc. just ebb and flow right along with those of the characters. You can absolutely feel the panic as it overtakes Noelle when she thinks Carlisle will take her son, Gil, away from her – by fair means or foul. Yes, our poor Carlisle has a lot to answer for in this enemies to lovers book – and believe me, it really is enemies to lovers because Noelle thoroughly despises Carlisle Thorn.
Noelle is the daughter of a Cambridge professor, so her education is unusual for the times. Being a progressive thinker, her father educated her far beyond what most women were – she spoke several languages and knew art, Latin, mathematics – well, all of it. Noelle is also arrestingly beautiful and much sought after by the students at Cambridge. She ignores them until Adam comes along and won’t take no for an answer. He’s handsome, romantic – and a gifted artist – and they love each other. They marry and have a child a couple of years later – only Adam dies – and she and the child are destitute. They’ve been living in an artist community on the continent – and Adam has been cut off from his family. Now, what is Noelle and baby Gilbert (Gil) going to do? And that is where the book begins. A tall, forbidding, grim, angry, and overbearing, dictatorial man shows up at her door and wants baby Gil – the man wants to PURCHASE Gil. Panic sets in and Noelle flees with Gil.
Carlisle Thorn was taken in by Adam’s family when he was a young boy. To Carlisle, that is his family and Adam was like a little brother. He’s tried to convince Adam’s father to reconcile with Adam, but he won’t – and now Adam is dead so they never will reconcile. The least Carlisle can do is bring Adam’s son home to England so he can be raised in the comfort he deserves. He just has to get the baby away from that scheming female who beguiled Adam and tricked him into marriage. There is no telling what someone with her loose morals will do and how she’d raise Adam’s child.
So, the misconceptions are off and running from the first page of the book. Noelle and Gil are constantly on the move. They hide their identities, they change how they look, they change their names – yet, Carlisle Thorn is continually searching for them – even after five years. He’s relentless and he’s almost caught them several times – well he did catch them several times and tried to kidnap Gil, but they always managed to escape.
When Noelle and Carlisle finally confront each other a second time, she really blisters his ears. Yet, he is unrepentant and doesn’t understand why she is so upset and fearful of him. As the story continues, each begins to understand the other may not be who they’ve believed all these years.
The secondary characters are wonderful and I loved them all. None of them are superfluous fluff added in just to fill page time. Each had a vital role in the story as it unfolded and each was truly likable. You’ll find mad dashes through unsavory parts of London, carriage chases across England, and hurried, dangerous flights across rooftops, but mostly you’ll find an exciting and well-told tale.
I can definitely recommend this book and cannot wait for other books in the series.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.