Barbara’s rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Series: The Gilded Age Heiresses #4
Publication Date: 2/23/23
Period: Victorian/Gilded Age – 1878 London
Number of Pages: 336
Thank goodness for the book that wasn’t supposed to be! The series was originally supposed to be three books featuring the Crenshaw siblings, but once we and the author met Camille, Duchess of Hereford, we all knew she just had to have her own book. She endured emotional and physical abuse from the duke before he died and I absolutely loved seeing her find herself, her strength, her determination after he died. Then, there was Jacob, who was the perfect mate for her. His gentle, understanding, considerate, and kind ways were just what she needed to heal from the trauma she suffered. Yes, it is a sensitive subject, but I believe the author dealt with it in a way that makes Camille a heroine rather than a victim. This could have been a really angsty, woe-is-me book, but it wasn’t, and I’m so glad Camille was shown as a woman who was strong and working toward healing herself.
Camille was thoroughly controlled by the Duke of Hereford during their marriage, and now that he is gone, she’s showing a bit of rebellion. Her first rebellion was to join the Montague Club – owned by her best friend’s husband and his half-brother. Her next rebellion, though it won’t be made public, is to seek out Jacob, one of the owners of the club, and make a proposition. She wants to know if it is possible for her to enjoy intimacy – because she never has. He has a counter-proposition for her and they strike a deal. Her third rebellion is to embrace the suffragette movement – and that one almost costs her life.
Jacob very much wants to accomplish something on his own. Yes, he is part owner of the Montague Club, but he did that with the backing of his half-brother and a good friend who both hold lauded titles. He wants to do something on his own – without the backing of those titles. He has a business partner and just needs one more investor and he can get the project rolling. The fly in the ointment? The investor is very hesitant to invest because Jacob isn’t a settled, married man. So, what Jacob needs is a fiancé – or at least a pretend fiancé.
It was wonderful to watch Camille and Jacob find that love isn’t such a bad thing after all – especially when it is with the perfect person. Jacob’s tender care causes Camille to blossom and become who she was truly meant to be and Camille’s loving smiles and caring heart taught Jacob that loving someone doesn’t cause you to lose yourself.
This book was excellently written, and excellently plotted, and, for me, the flow was just perfect. I can definitely recommend it.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.