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  • Stunningly beautiful

    Such a deep, intensely emotional story. I didn't think I could like Alastair after his appearance in the previous book of this series. I was wrong.. Alastair and Olivia's stories overlap and develop into something powerful, complex and angsty. It's not a quick read like some of the "fluff" I've read..but it will stay with you....I found it intensely lovely...

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  • Enjoyable but familiar plot

    Olivia Mather is on the run from Lord Bertram, who hates her so much he wants her dead. She has been hiding/working as a ladies' maid and uncovered some letters between Lord Bertram and the late Duchess of Marwick which refer to the Duke, Alastair de Grey, holding dossiers on members of the ton for blackmail purposes. She determines to find employment as a maid in the Duke's household and steal the dossier which she hopes will provide sufficient dirt to force Lord Bertram to leave her alone. Alastair was an up-and-coming politician, widely tipped to become the next British Prime Minister, until his wife's death. Shortly after his wife's death he found correspondence between her and four men which indicated that not only had she loathed Alastair and been having affairs with each of the men, but she had also actively plotted against him politically, telling his political enemies secrets to foil his proposals etc. The realisation that he had been cuckolded and betrayed by a woman he thought was the perfect wife has had a profound effect on him and he has become a recluse, hiding in his London mansion. When Olivia tries to get work as a maid the staff think she is there to replace the housekeeper and she seizes upon the opportunity. She is the only member of staff who will stand up to Alastair's bullying and bottle throwing. This reminds me very much of the film The Secret Garden, Alastair hiding away like Colin until an uppity madam comes to tell him off good and proper. Of course Olivia gradually shames Alastair into washing, stopping drinking, opening the curtains etc, etc, but as their friendship grows can she betray him by stealing information to blackmail Lord Bertram? I enjoyed reading this but I have to confess it did feel like one coincidence after another and I have seen the wider plot line used in other books before so it didn't feel particularly shocking or different. If you like your heroines sassy and resourceful, your heroes grumpy and brooding then I'm sure you'll enjoy this.

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