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  • Rip-roaring enemies to lovers historical romance

    Three and a half stars. Gideon is the Duke of Windermere's fixer and bully boy, born in the slums of St Giles he has done whatever he has to in order to claw his way out of the gutter. Now, he's ready to quit but the Duke has one last request, and the reward is beyond Gideon's wildest dreams, the hand in marriage of the Duke's niece Messalina. The Duke of Windermere is vicious and conniving but he has blackmailed Messalina into accepting Gideon's hand by threatening to force her younger sister into marriage instead. Then Gideon offers her a compromise, a marriage in name only unless she chooses otherwise. This is an enemies to lovers, marriage of convenience, opposites attract kind of romance. Gideon may be a commoner and have done some very questionable things in his lifetime, but he has a heart as big as a house and is determined to help others. Messalina may be a kind and gentle aristocrat but she has never thought about the plight of the poor. After their marriage Gideon finds he has agreed to perform a task which will alienate Messalina forever, he also has to cope with multiple attacks on him and Messalina are they coincidence or the work of the Duke? Or even Messalina's two brothers? I enjoyed this novel, as I do most of Elizabeth Hoyt's books. The characters are believable, engaging and the dialogue is sharp and snappy. I had two small niggles. Firstly, I felt I had read the plot before (I honestly thought it was an Elizabeth Hoyt book as well) and therefore the identity of the person behind the attacks was not in the least bit a surprise to me. Secondly, I thought the intimate scenes were a bit rinse and repeat and therefore a bit boring. Finally, a personal foible, I loathe the words quim and cunny and I wish they could be expunged from all historical romances! As always, I focus more on the negatives than the positives. Gideon was a dark, dangerous, yet vulnerable hero. Messalina was a kind, family-orientated woman who is willing to see the truth when her eyes are opened. There are cute moppets, ridiculously cute dogs, irritating siblings and scheming uncles. All the perfect ingredients for a rip-roaring historical romance. Edit: I have now read the first book in this series and I recommend you read it first. While this book can be read as a stand-alone there is a common thread of what happened years ago to Messalina's older sister. Having read the first book I now, based on this book, have a much better understanding of events and a suspicion of what occurred. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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