Published by Avon on November 29th 2016
FINAL DECISION: With a heroine who is unusual in historical romances, this book shatters traditional romance tropes. Deeply emotional and difficult, I ended up liking it quite a bit, but had to struggle with it a bit.
THE STORY: Viscount Locksley intends to save his mad father from a mercenary woman who has shown up to marry him. Instead Locke marries her himself because he knows that while he wants her, she is the type of woman he could never love. Portia Gadstone is desperate for security and is forced to agree to marry Locke in his father’s place. Two people who plan never to love find that getting to know one another changes everything — until secrets from the past threaten everything.
OPINION: It’s taken me nearly a year to actually read this book because I made a mistake that I’ve done before and likely will do again — I read reviews that gave away the big secret in the story and I hated it. And then I couldn’t read the book because every word I tried to read was infused with my dislike for the ending.
I know better — especially with Lorraine Heath books. Heath often challenges the assumptions and expected stories. Her characters are imperfect and are put in terrible situations. Yet I love her books for exactly that reason.
While this book never fell into the intense love that I have for some of Heath’s books, I managed to enjoy this book quite a bit in spite of the revelation I knew was coming.
The characters here are complex, especially Portia who is a woman who has been burned by love and has no intention of being vulnerable again. She is different from other heroines and I think that a reader is supposed to learn about her before her secret is revealed.
Locke is wonderful. A dear and caring man who has learned the wrong lesson from his father’s intense sense of loss of his wife. He is so ready to fall in love despite his protestations that he will not. He is kinder and more forgiving than I expected. His character was what made the book for me because through him I could understand how I should respond to Portia.
This is a worthy book to read because of how it challenges the standard historical romance, but I do recommend that a reader approach the story with an open mind, an open heart and without reading spoilers.
WORTH MENTIONING: There is a novella about Locke’s father which overlaps this book.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE VISCOUNT AND THE VIXEN is the third book in the Hellions of Havisham series. This book can be read as a standalone although there are character crossovers.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.