You’ll just love John Pickett, but, of course, you know that if you’ve ever read any of the books in this series. If you haven’t read any, I strongly urge you to read them all – from the beginning because it is so heartwarming to watch John grow from a gangly pickpocket to the intelligent, mature, caring man he is today. You can certainly read this as a standalone book, but the experience is so much richer if you’ve watched John from the beginning. Now, he’s going to be a father, and he’s going to be such a wonderful one. We know that because of the way he treats Kit, his ten-year-old half-brother.
The book opens with a bang when John is followed and then abducted by two men. He’s definitely shocked to learn the identity of the man behind the abduction. Not only shocked but definitely displeased. He doesn’t like the man and he doesn’t like what the man has to say. As soon as he arrives back at his home, he gets another shock. John’s father, Gentleman Jack Pickett, has returned from serving his sentence in the Antipodes. Yes, another man John doesn’t want in his life and he’s shown up in it – and on the same day.
John fully intends to put his father out of the house and not look back, but Julia influences him to do otherwise. Kit also influences John’s decision to offer his father a place to stay; after all, Kit has never seen his father before and Gentleman Jack didn’t know he had a second son.
When Gentleman Jack is murdered that same night – stabbed in the back with a strange-looking knife – John is determined to find the murderer. Gentleman Jack had hinted at some life changes while he was visiting, but didn’t elaborate on them – are those changes the reason he was murdered? John treks all over London – from the docks, to the City, to Whitehall, and points between before he puts all of the clues together.
It turns out that Gentleman Jack’s life-changing news was just that – for both Jack and John and I cannot wait to see the results of that in future books. I’m also anxious to see what happens with the gentleman who had John kidnapped – that one is scrumptious as well! Then, to add whipped cream to the top, Julia went into labor and delivered their first child.
This book had it all – and might just be my favorite book of the series – but I think I say that with each new book. There is a true abiding romance between John and Julia, a sweet newly found love between John and Kit, an intriguing murder mystery to solve, and a relationship with someone new who will be a friend or foe. So, I can definitely recommend this book, this series, and this author, and I hope you will enjoy the read as much as I did. The trouble with this series is that as soon as you finish a book, you are already wishing for the next.