Published by Avon on October 29, 2019
FINAL DECISION: A book that just lifted my spirit and heart. Beautiful, lyrical and filled with acceptance and redemption. Some books just fill my heart so much that I can’t find the words to express how much it touched me. This is one of those books.
THE STORY: Angelique Breedlove has begun to build a new life for herself. After failed love affairs and a turn as the mistress of her now business partner’s deceased husband, Angelique knows that men are trouble. Trouble walks into the Grand Palace on the Thames in the form of Lucien Durand, Lord Bolt. Ten years after his supposed death, Lucien has returned to London seeking revenge. Angelique is deeply attracted to Lucien, but that is a reason she is determined to keep her distance. Lucien ends up having to decide if he wants to pursue Angelique or seek his own justice.
OPINION: I loved this book. It didn’t feel huge in the story (in that it didn’t feel like the world was at stake), but the heart of it was large and emotional and it lingered in my thoughts. Long has become a favorite of mine because the story is always centered on the emotional journey of the characters. The heart is always unabashedly center her books.
Angelique is a woman who has a disappointing past love life, but she accepts her life without apology. She is not a virgin and doesn’t see that as shameful but rather as a person who looked for love and was disappointed by the men she trusted. Indeed, a theme of both this book and the prior one are the ways that men disappoint and use women and how those women find strength to go on. I liked Angelique’s brassy and bold personality which hides a deeply hurt and vulnerable heart. She has loved too unwisely because she loves deeply. The question here is whether she is willing to risk again. How does she know that Lucien is a man who will not be yet another disappointment for her.
Lucien is always dealing with his own disappointment. Rejected by his father and left for dead in a plot which send him on a decade journey to make himself, Lucien has returned for revenge. But it is clear that what Lucien really wants is to belong. His question is whether he is willing to give up the chance for revenge in order to have his chance to be a part of something. Lucien, like so many of Long’s heroes, have a deep emotional center. They feel so much and indeed his emotional core is quickly unlocked in this book. Much of the book is him finding a way to show his worth to Angelique.
I’m impressed how this book creates and expands a community that is primarily based in a few rooms in what is essentially a bed and breakfast. The characters and their relationships have significance and there are some nice payoffs from what appeared to be peripheral issues in the first book.
Lyrical and emotional, this is another winner by Julie Anne Long.
WORTH MENTIONING: I love the found family in this series and want to know more about the characters as the series develops.
CONNECTED BOOKS: ANGEL IN A DEVIL’S ARMS is the second book in the Palace of Rogues series. Although the romance here is self-contained, I think the series is better read in order because the interconnected relationships between the characters are important.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Edelweiss. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.