Review: Drawn to the Marquess

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Drawn to the MarquessDrawn to the Marquess (Imperfect Lords, #2) by Bronwen Evans
Series: Imperfect Lords #2
Published by Loveswept on September 4, 2018
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
four-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this book because the focus, besides the obvious romance, is on these two characters who are damaged and yet find in one another a reason to move beyond their fears.

THE STORY: Stephen Hornsby, Marquess of Clevedon, is determined to see everything he can before he goes blind. When he bids for a painting, he finds his competition is a beautiful widow, Lady Penelope. Stephen is determined to experience the beauty of seeing Penelope naked and in passion. Penelope has her own motives. She needs Stephen’s help. She certainly isn’t interested in becoming another conquest for the determined rake. She already was married to a man who betrayed and used her emotions and dreams against her. She will never get involved with another man and risk herself or her emotions.

OPINION: I admit to being a sucker for a damaged hero. Stephen struggles with his increasing blindness. It makes him question just about everything about himself. I liked his journey throughout the book as he discovers what is important about himself — both in his own eyes and in those around him. Balancing his “weakness” with his strength as a hero was done skillfully demonstrating that any weakness that Stephen senses in himself doesn’t overwhelm all the strengths he has. I especially loved that Penelope flat out tells him that he is strong enough to overcome his challenges.

Penelope is a woman of strength and determination. She has a horrible past, but she has not allowed it to make her cower in fear. Instead, she has built a life for herself and intends on doing what is right no matter the consequences.

The dynamic between Penelope and Stephen was interesting because the need for reassurance that each needs ebbs and flows with the events in the story. I liked that about the couple. They both don’t want to trust, they both have fears and they both have to open themselves up to the possibility of being hurt.

The plot of the story about the death of Penelope’s husband serves its purpose in the story. I wasn’t particularly interested in the resolution, but it did push Stephen and Penelope into situations which challenged them individually and as a couple.

WORTH MENTIONING: For readers of ADDICTED TO THE DUKE, we get a nice little update on Alex and Hestia.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DRAWN TO THE MARQUESS is the second book in the Imperfect Lords series. This book has overlapping characters, but the romance is completely separate and can be read as standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to help prepare this review. I was not required to write a review and I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

four-stars

Review: A Dream of Redemption

Review: A Dream of RedemptionA Dream of Redemption (The Disgraced Lords, #8) by Bronwen Evans
Series: The Disgraced Lords #8
Published by Loveswept on February 20th 2018
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: An enjoyable cross-class romance with a hero with a dark past and a heroine who is determined to have him. I especially enjoyed seeing the characters from the series five years later.

THE STORY: Lady Helen Hawkestone has decided to stop searching for a man to marry at balls and soirees. She realizes that every person she knows who married for love found their spouse in an unconventional fashion and also she has been intrigued by her sister’s employee Clary Homeward. Clary, however, is no gentleman and no match for the innocent and aristocratic Helen. When the two work together on her sister’s new orphanage project, Clary and Helen face danger from those engaged in the seedy underbelly of child trafficking and also the attraction between them that society would be scandalized by.

OPINION: I enjoyed this entry in the series. While there is a storyline involving the orphanage, the real focus in this book is on Helen and Clary and their romance. I liked how the two interacted and how Helen becomes stronger throughout the book.

Clary is a man who has overcome a horrible past and this book forces further growth in his character. He must overcome his shame in his past. I did think that his past was glossed over a bit. While it was important to the story, we don’t really delve into his past. It is difficult to believe that Helen would be so blase once she found out because she truly doesn’t have the experience to understand the exploitation. I did like seeing how Clary and his brother have reinvented their lives and it was nice seeing a happy ending for them.

Helen is also a character that grows through the book. She falls for Clary and begins to see the world as more complicated and more dark than she imagined. While this progression would not work for a typical aristocratic woman, her own sister’s life and her sister-in-law’s determination to not hide the darker parts of the world from her. Helen is no fool and she begins to recognize that her relationship with Clary will be complicated and perhaps make her a pariah, but she is willing to do everything for love.

I liked the complexity that Helen and Clary’s relationship brings to the characters from the series. This is a complicated situation and I liked that the story reflected that complication.

This was an enjoyable read especially for those who have followed the series because it provides a nice wrap up along with giving some characters a well-deserved happy ending.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book left me feeling good about the entire series because the five years later update shows how happy everyone is.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A DREAM OF REDEMPTION is the eighth book in the Disgraced Lords series. This book can be read as a standalone, but the book might be more enjoyable if one reads A WHISPER OF DESIRE first because it introduces all the relevant characters.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

four-stars

Review: A Whisper of Desire

Review: A Whisper of DesireA Whisper of Desire (The Disgraced Lords, #4) by Bronwen Evans
Series: The Disgraced Lords #4
Published by Loveswept on December 1st 2015
Genres: Historical
Pages: 300
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: Darker than the other books in the series, this book made me cry at the injustices done to this couple. The most complex and layered book, this is the best book of the series for me.

THE STORY: Lady Marisa Hawkstone is planning her marriage to the man she loves when everything goes wrong. She wakes up naked in the arms of her brother’s friend Maitland Spencer, Duke of Lyttleton. Maitland has a reputation of being cold and controlled, but secretly he fears the seething amount of passion and emotion he feels. Compelled to marry as Marisa is ruined, Maitland is challenged at every turn by the passionate Marisa. At the same time, it becomes clear that the secret enemy that is stalking Maitland and his friends has turned her attention to him.

OPINION: This is my favorite book in the series even though it tears my heart out. The story definitely isn’t “fair” as Maitland has one of the darkest backstories from among his friends and also there is a very dark moment in this book.

Maitland is a man who, like the other Libertine Scholars, had a miserable excuse for a father. Maitland saw his father ruthlessly indulge himself in his passions and Maitland has imposed deep controls on himself as a result. He intends never to feel enough passion to challenge those controls — because he is scared. And that is one reason that I really enjoyed this book because Maitland is a fallible and complex character who struggles through this book.

Marisa is another character that I liked. She is thoughtful and strong and determined to make her husband talk and listen to her. In fact, one of the best parts of this book is how the characters actually have discussions and work out their problems.

One small dislike in this book is how quickly Marisa declares her love for Maitland. As he observes, just a few days ago she claimed to be in love with someone else. That bothered me a little as well.

The sadness and darkness in this book is its strength. It demands more complexity and nuance in how these characters lives deal with their adversities and while I cried through much of the last quarter of the book, I think this book is the best of the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: One of the minor characters in this book gets his own happy ending in A DREAM OF REDEMPTION.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A WHISPER OF DESIRE is the fourth book in the Disgraced Lords series. While the romance can be read as standalone, there is an ongoing storyline involving the villain out to destroy the heroes in the series. This makes the series better read in order. I began the series by reading book 5 and while I quickly understood what was going on, it is better reading from the beginning.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

 

four-half-stars

Review: A Touch of Passion

Review: A Touch of PassionA Touch of Passion (The Disgraced Lords, #3) by Bronwen Evans
Series: The Disgraced Lords #3
Published by Loveswept on March 24th 2015
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: This book had a great premise, but I thought that it eliminated what would have been the most adventurous and exciting parts for a more pedestrian story. It was okay, but I wish we got to see more of the adventure.

THE STORY: Lady Portia Flagstaff is kidnapped and sent to a harem by the enemy of her brother and the man she has loved for years, Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood. Grayson comes to rescue her. But Portia is ruined and Grayson is determined to keep his promise to Portia’s deceased brother by protecting her and thus marrying her. Portia, on the other hand, has no intention on being married to a man who doesn’t love her — even if he is her dream.

OPINION: The description of this book was more exciting than the actual book itself. I read the preview and it was amazing. The scene in the book where Grayson comes to save Portia from the harem is tense and filled with emotion.

Unfortunately, the book itself was not as well developed. Most of the book turns into one endless argument — Grayson is falling for Portia but fears love and loss. After the two talk this same thing out a dozen times, I just wanted to start skipping to where something new happens in the book.

While the story was perfectly good, I think my disappointment that the book didn’t live up to the description colored my experience. I just didn’t get the sex and tension between the couple that I wanted.

On the positive side, I enjoyed the continuing mystery in the series and Portia is certainly a heroine who isn’t going to be pushed around. I also enjoyed the interaction between the characters in the series. Their relationships are definitely a highlight of the book.

Finally, I really did enjoy the relationship between Portia and Grayson once he stopped being stupid.

WORTH MENTIONING: I liked that Portia is physical and strong and willing to be independent.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A TOUCH OF PASSION is the third book in the Disgraced Lords series. While this book has a self-contained romance, there is an overarching storyline regarding a villain who is trying to destroy the heroes of the series. I recommend reading the books in order to better experience the overarching mystery.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

 

three-stars

Review: A Promise of More

Review: A Promise of MoreA Promise of More (The Disgraced Lords, #2) by Bronwen Evans
Series: The Disgraced Lords #2
Published by Loveswept on April 15th 2014
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: My favorite of the series. I loved the couple and how the story played out. It was a good combination of the personal drama between the Beatrice and Sebastian and the overarching storyline.

THE STORY: After a duel where Sebastian Hawkestone, Marquis Coldhurst, kills her brother, Beatrice Hennessey and her family are in desperate straights. She comes to the docks to meet his ship with a proposition but instead she ends up being rescued from the Thames. She is rescued by Sebastian both from the Thames and from impending poverty. The two marry but Sebastian is determined that Beatrice will be perfect for the marriage of convenience he has planned after seeing his parents destroyed by the obsessive love for one another. At the same time, Sebastian is the focus of the enemy of the Libertine Scholars who is out to ruin and perhaps kill the men.

OPINION: This book is my favorite of the series. I enjoyed the interaction between Beatrice and Sebastian which begins as a spinster and rake story but has some interesting twists.

I liked the characters and this book is better developed than the first in the series (perhaps because everyone is introduced now). Beatrice is a woman who decides to sacrifice herself for the good of her family. (One negative is that we really don’t see her family so it is hard to put her sacrifice into context). She has been the responsible one in her family which has destroyed her marriage prospects because she has been given the nickname Henpeck Hennessey because she tried to turn her brother away from the vices in order to help their financial situation. Now Beatrice is stuck with the nickname, seasons without a match and no dowry. She is willing to do the only thing reasonable to her…convince her brother’s killer to marry her and save her family and sacrifice her dreams of love. I really liked how Beatrice is determined to make the best of her life and ultimately won’t sacrifice her dreams of more than a marriage of convenience with Sebastian.

Sebastian is a worthy hero. Although he is a rake and determined to live a life without the love that destroyed his parents, Sebastian is a good man. He cares for his sisters and is determined to right the damage done to Beatrice’s family — even if that means marrying her.

Watching Sebastian fall under Beatrice’s determined spell was fun to watch. As he finds the truth that love is not something that hurts, he and Beatrice build a relationship with one another.

I enjoyed the plot and drama in this one very much. A negative of the story is that, for me, Beatrice too quickly turns to her project of making Sebastian love her. Happened a little too quickly for my tastes.

WORTH MENTIONING: Spoiler but warning:  Some readers might be offended by Sebastian contemplating adultery and even engaging in some sexual situations with other women (although he ultimately rejects the women). I didn’t think it was serious but I know some readers don’t like sexual situations after the couple are together.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A PROMISE OF MORE is the second book in the Disgraced Lords series. This book has a continuing storyline that weaves the books together although each couple has its own book. While this book summarizes the events in the first book, I think this series is better read in order.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: A Kiss of Lies

Review: A Kiss of LiesA Kiss of Lies (The Disgraced Lords, #1) by Bronwen Evans
Series: The Disgraced Lords #1
Published by Loveswept on January 14th 2014
Genres: Historical
Pages: 320
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: Intriguing premise and I liked the characters, but I thought the execution of the story was uneven. Parts of the story did not hold my interest and the romance was resolved too quickly with only external things keeping them apart.

THE STORY: Christian Trent, Earl of Markham, is determined to return to England after having been shanghaied to Canada by a duke who accused Christian of raping his daughter. Christian will return to England and repair his name. While in Canada he acquired a ward after the death of the family that took him in. So Christian needs a governess to accompany them back to England. Sarah Cooper, a widow, is desperate to get the job as she runs from the darkness of her past. She once saw Christian when she was a young girl and had a crush on him. But Christian doesn’t know who she is, which is good because she is disguising herself — she is actually the daughter of a duke.

OPINION: I liked this book, but it has its weaknesses.

The positives: I liked Christian and Sarah as a couple. The story is very sexy and hot. I also enjoyed the premise of the story and the beginnings of the overarching storyline of the series. The other characters also make appearances here and I liked seeing how everything began.

The weaknesses: Too much needs to be explained in the beginning as everything is set up for the series. Too many new characters and stories mean that the momentum of the main storyline is stopped quite a bit. I also didn’t always enjoy the resolution of the problems that Sarah and Christian have. Sometimes things were too neat and quickly fixed for what should be extended and dramatic.

Overall, I liked this book knowing that there are other stories coming that I liked better. This book acts as a setup.

WORTH MENTIONING: This series has a continuing overarching storyline even as each book follows a different couple. The series is really meant to be read together in order. (I actually read the last books first and I think it would have been better to read in order).

CONNECTED BOOKS: A KISS OF LIES is the first book in the Disgraced Lords series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Christmas in Kilts

Review: Christmas in KiltsChristmas in Kilts by Bronwen Evans, Lavinia Kent, Lecia Cornwall, May McGoldrick, Terri Brisbin
Series: MacKendimen #2.5, Pennington Family #0.5
Published by Swerve on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
four-stars

This is a collection of five novellas with a Scottish theme.

A HIGHLANDER’S HOPE by Terri Brisbin — Iain MacKillop is a widower who yearns for marriage and children, but intends on making his own choices this time. The one woman he can’t stop thinking about is completely inappropriate. Robena MacKendimen is the village whore and while she too thinks about Iain, she knows that her status makes anything else between them impossible. This was a lot of story packed into a short novel. I really enjoyed the fact that this book doesn’t flinch from the difficulties of a man falling in love with a whore. The story has a sweet aspect but also a serious one and there is no magic wand that resolves these issues which I really like. There are compromises and a will to make happiness happen. This is a novalla in the MacKendimen series. Rating: 3.5 stars.

A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS WAGER by Lecia Cornwall — Meggie MacLeod is forced to take refuge at a castle where there are three lairds. One of the lairds is the man that Meggie fell in love with at the age of eighteen before he broke her heart by marrying another. A wager between the men as to who will be able to gain her kisses ignites a competition between the men. Hugh MacAuley needs an heiress in order to satisfy the elders of his clan. He has come to ask the sister of his host, but Meggie tempts him with her fire and her sweetness. I enjoyed this story as Hugh is a shyer hero than I expected and this book really deals with Meggie having lost her virtue and yet Hugh choosing her despite all the cultural reasons he shouldn’t. The story is really sweet between Meggie and Hugh. Rating: 3.5 stars.

A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS by Bronwen Evans — Dougray knows he must marry again to have an heir, but his love for his deceased wife means that he never intends to love a woman again. Instead, he will marry for companionship and children. Emma has loved Dougray since she was a child. At a houseparty, she challenges him to teach her about passion before she accepts her spinster existence. He is tempted to succumb to passion before choosing a life without deep emotions. I really enjoyed this story. Dougray and Emma are such nice people. Life and love has treated each of them with some difficulties. I liked how Dougray allows himself to be “convinced” by Emma but quickly realizes that there is more at work here than merely a spinster who wants to learn about physical love. This is one of the highlights of the set and a story I would read again. Rating: 4.5 stars.

LEFTOVER MISTLETOE by Lavinia Kent — English Emma Spencer finds herself in a coach with James Barran. James is on his way to stop a wedding, but machinations leave him and Emma stranded at Christmas time at a cabin. I enjoyed this story which is focused intensely on the couple. The two being stranded allows them time to get to know one another even though the actual time period covered by the story. I liked the characters who are decent people who are trying their best to do the right thing. The story has a hot little element which I also enjoyed. Rating: 4 stars.

SWEET HOME HIGHLANDS by May McGoldrick — Captain Gregory Pennington encounters a precocious child and her desperate aunt while waiting for travelers he is to accompany home. Freya Sutherland needs to marry someone immediately in order to keep her niece. I loved this story primarily because of the depiction of Freya’s niece. She is adorable and really tied the story together. Penn and Freya are such nice, well meaning people that the niece is necessary to put some spice into the story. I was surprised at how much development was able to be done considering how few pages the authors had to work with. Penn is a gentleman who is looking for his purpose in life and finds it in a gentle woman and her strong willed, determined niece. Rating: 4.5 stars.

four-stars

Review: A Love to Remember

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Love to RememberA Love to Remember (The Disgraced Lords, #7) by Bronwen Evans
Series: The Disgraced Lords #7
Published by Loveswept on August 29th 2017
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: The tale of longtime lovers who have reached a turning point in their relationship, this novella is very sexy. I enjoyed the connection between Rose and Philip but was a bit annoyed with Philip’s motivations.

THE STORY: For Rose Deverill, Duchess of Roxborough, one marriage was more than enough. She never intends on marrying again and indeed she is enjoying her widowhood so much that she is known as the “Wicked Widow”. She is satisfied with her lovers and raising her young son, but her relationship with Philip Flagstaff, Earl of Cumberland, is challenging her intentions. The two have been lovers for several years and recently, Rose’s thoughts have turned toward the possibility of a future with Philip — perhaps even marriage. But Philip is also against the idea of marriage. Having gained the title after his older brother sacrificed his own life for Philip’s, Philip is wracked with guilt and intends on making sure the title eventually goes to someone more worthy than he. So he intends never to marry or have children. When threats arise toward Rose and her son, Philip has to decide what Rose means to him.

OPINION: For me, one of the highlights of this book is how Rose accepts and relishes her own sexual nature. She regrets her past only because she fears that Philips doesn’t want to marry her because of it. But she truly doesn’t regret her lovers or her past. She enjoys sex and recognizes that she is not willing to live a celibate life even if Philip cannot be part of her future. In a genre filled with wide-eyed virgins, this fully realized woman was a definite positive.

Indeed, Philip’s own response to Rose’s past was also welcome. He has some jealous moments, but doesn’t judge Rose for her past lovers. His acceptance of her on all levels is one thing that makes him special. Even if he is annoyingly guilt ridden and thus making stupid irrational decisions.

I liked that Rose and Philip are longtime lovers by the time this book really starts. This isn’t a relationship often depicted in historical romances. What the story shows is that a story can start mid-relationship and still have something to show about how their relationship progresses and changes.

I enjoyed this book even though Philip’s determination to reject happiness annoyed me for quite a while in this book.

WORTH MENTIONING: Which looked to be an ending to the series is not. There are more Disgraced Lords books coming.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A LOVE TO REMEMBER is the seventh book in the Disgraced Lords series. This novella can be read on its own. I have read some, but not all of the previous books in the series, and while this book does have references to other characters, the romance is self-contained (but fans of the series will get some treats).

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-half-stars

Review: Addicted to the Duke

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Addicted to the DukeAddicted to the Duke (Imperfect Lords, #1) by Bronwen Evans
Series: Imperfect Lords #1
Published by Loveswept on June 13th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 260
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A good kickoff to a new series about men who are definitely not your perfect men.  Alex is a man struggling with an addiction and the consequences of his capture and imprisonment and his belief that he is not good enough for Hestia.  I love damaged heroes and Alex is definitely an imperfect one.

THE STORY:  Alexander Sylvester Bracken, Duke of Bedford agrees to help Lady Hestia Cary find her missing father. Alex feels a debt to Hestia’s father for helping in Alex’s rescue from his captivity with a pirate.  When he is forced to take Hestia with him in order to ensure her safety.  Four years ago, Hestia was rescued by Alex from the same pirate who had captured Alex years before.  At sixteen, Hestia fell in love with Alex and doesn’t understand why he has spent years avoiding her.  Alex is determined not to taint the sweet Hestia with his tainted presence but their voyage together allows Hestia to batter down the walls that Alex is using to separate them.

OPINION:  I greatly appreciate books that stretch the genre — and this book does.  Alex is a hero who struggles with his addiction and there is no easy and simple resolution.  He also has done terrible things under the influence of his drug of choice. This book is about how he forgives himself and reaches for happiness rather than dwelling on a past he cannot change.

The story was filled with adventure which I didn’t expect.  There are multiple levels of villains that Alex and Hestia have to defeat on the way to their happy ending. Some of their challenges are external, some are internal.  Some want to threaten their lives and some want to threaten their relationship.

At first, I wasn’t sure about the matchup with Hestia because she seemed too sweet and innocent for the damaged Alex…but she has a hidden strength that I didn’t expect.  Alex doesn’t expect it either.

This book pushes the envelope on Alex’s addiction because there are no easy answers for him.  During this time period, addiction is not understood and is seen as character flaw rather than an illness. My one serious complaint about the book is that I would have liked an explicit update in the epilogue about Alex’s addiction since it was such an important part of the story (maybe in the next book in the series).

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book deals with the issue of addiction in a time period long before there was an real understanding of addiction.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ADDICTED TO THE DUKE is the first book in the Imperfect Lords series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: A Night of Forever

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Night of ForeverA Night of Forever (The Disgraced Lords, #6) by Bronwen Evans
Series: The Disgraced Lords #6
Published by Loveswept on October 25th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 240
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  An enjoyable end to the drama of the Disgraced Lords series, the romance between Arend and Isobel has much angst and distrust on Arend’s part.  Isobel must get beyond the shields that Arend has erected while an enemy intends to destroy them both.

THE STORY:  Arend Aubury will do anything to protect the only people he trusts, his fellow Libertine Scholars.  After all his friends have suffered from the person who is trying to destroy them all, Arend knows that he is next and he is ready.  He suspects the stepdaughter of their enemy, Lady Isobel Thompson and intends on keeping a close eye on her.  When Isobel approaches him with her own suspicions about her stepmother, Arend agrees to work with Isobel — while secretly suspecting her.  Isobel wants a marriage like her friends, but can’t seem to ignore the dangerous Arend.  A fake betrothal hides their investigation but also ignites a strong passion between Isobel and Arend while they question motives and evade their enemies.

OPINION:  This book brings the series story regarding the Libertine Scholars enemy to a close. This book overlaps the fifth book in the series, A TASTE OF SEDUCTION. I enjoyed this book because Arend and Isobel are an intriguing match with a significant amount of angst.

Arend is a man who thinks himself unworthy.  He has lived in poverty, been abused, betrayed and as a result has a difficult time trusting anyone.  Even his attraction to Isobel is something that he distrusts.  At the same time, Arend is loyal, caring and willing to sacrifice himself for those he cares about.  His guilt and shame and fear prevent him from having an open relationship, but he cannot seem to resist Isobel.

Isobel is a woman who has been tainted by her stepmother’s evil, but still sees the good in people, especially Arend.  Even as Isobel is warned away from him, she finds him irresistible. Isobel is strong willed and willing to go after what she wants.  She can also stand up to Arend which is important.  Most significantly, she believes in Arend’s goodness and is determined to make him see it as well.

I liked the relationship between Arend and Isobel because many times Isobel is the strong one if the relationship which is a reversal from traditional roles.  Arend has the poor self-image and abusive background and it is Isobel who must help him accept himself and believe that he is entitled to a good future.

I enjoyed this book as a closure to the series (even though there will be some spin off books).  I thought that there was enough about the other characters to see where their lives are going without overwhelming the story and the overarching storyline was neatly wrapped up as well.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Although this book completes the continuing story in the Disgraced Lords series, Evans states that there will be some future connected books wrapping up the romances of other characters in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  A NIGHT OF FOREVER is the sixth book in the Disgraced Lords series.  The romance can be read as a standalone although there is an overarching story in the series that finishes in this book.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars