A Kiss in the Moonlight by Cathy Maxwell

A Kiss in the Moonlight (The Gambler's Daughters #1)A Kiss in the Moonlight by Cathy Maxwell

Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Gambler’s Daughters, #1

Release Date: March 28, 2023

The Lanscarr sisters have always relied on each other, especially now that their grandmother has passed away and their father has gone missing and is presumed dead. Living as poor relations in their own home thanks to an overreaching cousin who has claimed the estate as his inheritance. Gwendolyn, Dara, and Elise along with Lady Eleanor their elderly widowed aunt “Tweedie” know that their cousin wants to marry them off and get them out of the house, the girls are not opposed to marriage, but they want more than the rural Irish countryside has to offer. When Dara suggests they try their luck in London, Gwen and Elise are skeptical, but as always, Dara has a plan! Dara convinces them that if they go to London that they will have their choice of husbands since even though they are penniless, Gwen and Elise are gorgeous and will have no trouble attracting eligible suitors. They just need to get enough money to get to London and rent a house for the season and for that she suggests that Gwen go to Dublin and gamble at one of their father’s haunts to make the money. After a bit of misadventure, Gwen does get the money and they set their plan in motion! But things don’t go as planned when they arrive and find the connection they had hoped to use as an entre to society is not in town. But after a couple of weeks of trying to find an “in” the girls are invited to a ball and it is immediately clear that Dara’s prediction was true. The girls are extremely popular, especially the very lovely Elise. So when fellow Irishman, Michael Brogan, an MP, and a mere mister, tries to dance with her, Dara steps in and warns him off. But is she warning him off because he is not appropriate or because she is jealous?

Michael Brogan isn’t looking to marry, but his investigation of a case of embezzlement in the war office that may have ties to a nobleman, so pretending to court Elise Lanscarr will give him a perfect reason to attend events that he usually avoids, plus dancing with the beautiful Elise is no hardship. However, while the lovely Elise may have captured his eye, it is Dara who holds his interest. He isn’t sure if he wants to kiss her or throttle her – but when things get dangerous, he knows that Dara is the sister he wants by his side and the sister he can’t live without. Now he just needs to catch the embezzler and convince Dara she is the only sister he wants.

I was a little confused at the beginning of this book since it wasn’t clear who the heroine was, but once they get to London and enter society it sorts itself out. I really liked Michael and Dara together, the chemistry between them was clear to see and they really complimented each other. This slow-burn romance is filled with intrigue, passionate kisses, wonderful secondary characters, a love triangle (sort of), a lot of emotion, some surprises, witty banter, and a bittersweet ending that includes a cliffhanger-ish epilogue. The story does a nice job of setting up the series and the mystery was intriguing, so for me, it was a very enjoyable read. In my opinion, the beginning could have been a little clearer and I am not a fan of love triangles, but somehow, the story works and I would be happy to recommend this book and am looking forward to the next installment!

*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.*

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Avid reader (and reviewer) of historical romance.

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