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  • I adored this exquisite Victorian romance!

    Benedict – Beast – is the epitome of my ideal book hero. Equal parts wild Jason Momoa and refined Henry Cavill, he’s an intelligent man of the world with a heart as big as all England and shoulders wide enough to carry away all the problems that beset everyone lucky enough to be under his protection. Thea is a readily-identifiable heroine, a woman whose life was completely shattered by her father’s actions yet she’s determined to hang on to the best of herself while finding a new path in life. I really enjoyed the way the author had Thea comparing and contrasting her former and current acquaintances, lifestyles, and moral compasses. She’s a wonderful example of feminine strength and resiliency. Their beautiful romance would make even the most jaded cynic swoon! The story was expertly paced, giving us their growing love and passion as they discover each other’s hearts, then just as you think they’ve sailed over every hurdle, the most wonderful revelation turns out to be the most insurmountable obstacle. The first proposal was magnificent, but the second was so perfectly timed, so sublimely presented that I had to go back and reread it several times before moving on. The way the entire Trewlove family was woven throughout this book – and added to as opportunity arose – was simply magical, drawing out the best of its characters despite having survived their Dickensian youth. My heart fairly melted at the reference to the young Trewloves’ family book club and how it probably influenced Ben’s later career. The secondary love story between Ewan and Mara in the book’s final quarter was told so briefly, yet so beautifully, and established a concrete foundation upon which Ben and Thea’s family could be built. The author’s writing was enthralling, nimbly dancing between charming, romantic interludes and intense, commanding showdowns. Beast and Thea’s emotional journeys were precisely detailed, bringing tension, joy, grief, and hope vividly to life through characters that feel as real as lifelong friends. The use of firelight imagery was inspired, portraying Benedict as a man who would not only keep Thea’s fire burning but also give her the space and the freedom to light her own path. The insightful character studies and sophisticated vocabulary elevate this book above the standard historical romance. I especially appreciated the explanation at the end of how the author balanced her story’s fictional demands with the desire for historical accuracy. I haven’t read the earlier books in the series (yet), but I wasn’t left hanging. This is not just a beautiful standalone, but as the last in the Trewlove family series, its epilogue, set some 36 years in the future, works as a brilliant, crowning glory for the entire family. This is the best Victorian romance I’ve read in a very long time, and I highly recommend it. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.

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  • Compelling

    This is a high-stakes story about a duke's daughter trying to survive after her family's fall from grace. Althea wants Ben to instruct her in the art of seduction so she can leave the terrifying world of Whitechapel and return to Mayfair—even if it's as a courtesan. Ben wants her to teach the women under his protection how to be more polished so they can enter into more honorable employment. When he learns the truth about his origins, can their burgeoning love survive? The tense plot coupled with expertly drawn characters makes for a compelling read. The heroine and hero are likable and relatable. The emotions between them are intense. This is the first book I've read in the series, but I'm looking forward to going back and reading them all. Thanks, NetGalley and HarperCollins, for providing me with an ARC of this book.

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