Tracy rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Dread Penny Society, #4
Release Date: September 6, 2022
In this installment of the Dread Penny Society, we learn that Dr. Barnabus Milligan has been keeping a rather large secret from his fellow DPS members. Barnabus who has been deemed a confirmed bachelor is actually married! This comes out when the members of the society were looking for answers regarding Resurrection Men working for the “Mastiff” and to the shock of everyone, Barnabus says his wife’s family are the Kincaids – London’s most notorious corpse snatchers. He hasn’t seen his wife Gemma in three years when she left because she was in love with him and he didn’t return her feelings.
When Gemma gets Barnabus’ letter asking her to come to the house, she thinks he has finally ready to make their marriage real and has realized that he does love her. She is more than a little hurt to learn that not only did he not tell anyone they were married, but he only contacted her because he needed information about her former occupation and her family. She offers the answers he seeks and asks to stay a bit, as she thought this was a reunion and not a visit, she gave up her lodgings and her job. Staying is dangerous for her heart and her person since it seems that her family is in need of her skills and is actively looking for her.
As they work together to thwart her uncles, Barnabus realizes his feelings for Gemma are deeper than he thought and he wonders if he can convince her to stay with him and give their marriage a chance. Unaware of Barnabus’ change of heart, Gemma makes plans of her own to free Barnabus of their marriage and convince her family that she is dead. But when the Mastiff warns “The Tempest is Coming” and Barnabus confesses his love and then unintentionally exposes Gemma to her family, their plans change and soon death will be the only way that can be together.
This installment is much like the previous stories which included two “penny dreadful” stories interwoven into the main story – for me, realizing this right away and remembering that reading the short stories as they appeared in the book kind of broke the flow of the main story for me, I skipped the dreadfuls and then read them after I finished the main story in the book. This book was once again very light on the romance, Gemma already loves him when the book starts and the story is primarily about the ongoing battle between the Mastiff and the DPS. So love scenes are little more than a few kisses. and there are no intimate scenes at all. This installment is filled with a lot of action, a lot of twists and turns, shocking revelations, familiar faces, death and near-death moments, and finally a HEA for Gemma and Barnabus. And if all that isn’t enough to tempt you – we finally learn who the Mastiff works for AND the real head of the DPS – one I had pretty much guessed, the other was a complete surprise 😊. This book is the fourth in the series, and could be read as a standalone title – but if you are planning on reading the entire series, I would strongly suggest reading the books in order. Overall, this was a very good read and I would happily recommend it.
*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.*