The hunt after a good historical romance brought this up in my fishing net. Well, my NetGalley account. LOL
Victor Cale never imagined that his sweet, shy bride, Isabella, would use her talents for creating exquisite imitation jewels criminally. But there’s no denying that her handiwork was used in the theft of the Dutch royal diamonds– right after Isa disappeared into the night.
Ten years later, Victor is sent to Edinburgh to investigate a wealthy baron’s mysterious bride-to-be… who turns out to be Isa, masquerading as an alluring widow. No longer the meek girl he once knew, Isa boldly asserts that it was Victor who abandoned her, after he helped steal the royal diamonds!
Piecing together the truth of the past reawakens their volatile passions, which burns hotter than ever. But with a decade of secrets between them, Victor and Isa must trust each other to bring the real thieves to justice– without getting burned themselves.
The simplicity of that time, in this regency romance, makes for a really fun writing scenarios. While there are few technological advances, the plainness and naiveté of this “era” brings out innocence in characters that I really like.
I found that Jeffries managed to write that aspect into the plot beautifully.
Victor Cale is a young and traumatized veteran with his share of secrets from him very young and very innocent bride. Isa Cale grew up with her older sister and her sister’s husband, who in time used her talent in making imitation jewelry to their advantage.
After an incident in which the couple fooled Isa and Victor, and as a result separated them believing they each betrayed the other, ten years go by before they are reunited. Ten years in which Victor has not stopped looking for a thread of information to lead him back to Isa and demand an explanation for her behavior.
Isa and Victor’s characters definitely grew in those ten years apart, but their yearning for innocence and the time that’s been stolen from them remained and I loved that they somehow renewed their courtship upon being reunited.
There are happenstances in abundance in this story and they both enraged me as a reader but also they were what made me turn to the next page. The beautiful writing and flowing plot completed the package and definitely made this a light, fun but still maintained the historical vibe of the plot. I recommend!
Oh, I just found out this is part of a series The Duke’s Men but it can definitely be read as a standalone. That’s how I read it.
* My thanks to Pocket Books and NetGalley for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Sabrina Jeffries is the NYT bestselling author of 35 novels and 8 works of short fiction (some written under the pseudonyms Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas). Whatever time not spent writing in a coffee-fueled haze of dreams and madness is spent traveling with her husband and adult autistic son or indulging in one of her passions—jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, and music. With over 6 million books in print in 18 different languages, the North Carolina author never regrets tossing aside a budding career in academics for the sheer joy of writing fun fiction, and hopes that one day a book of hers will end up saving the world.
She always dreams big.