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    Captivating Regency Romance!

    This captivating regency romance is the story of Eric, the Earl of Blackstone and Miss Emily Mirren. Eric has been pursuing a French spy for several years, the man whose actions resulted in the loss of his commanding officer (Emily's father) on the field of battle, leaving Emily orphaned and living under the guardianship of Mr. Manning. They both have aims to expose Mr. Manning of underhanded things, but unbeknownst to Emily, Eric's aims clash with her own. Now with time on no-one's side, it's a race to see whose plan will prevail first and whether or not hearts will be broken along the way. There is a mental checklist I have of tropes I love to see in a historical romance and the author must have had a copy of this list because she captured everything I love about this genre. A spy for the crown -check. A wounded war veteran hero - check. A smart and feisty virgin heroine - check. Loyal comrades of the hero - check. An English country estate - check. Shenanigans at this estate that could result in ruination - check. A surprise twist to the ending -check. With all of this going for her, and a fast moving and entertaining plot, there wasn't really anything I wasn't going to like. So the question then is, what makes this story unique and different from what else is available in the genre today? The answer to that is twofold for me. Firstly, and without giving away any spoilers, I liked how the "ruination" unfolded (and I mean that in more than the fact that the sex was well written and steamy ) but also in how things were resolved along that front. In general, plots where the heroine engages in activity of such a nature generally end up with a forced marriage. I won't say what happens here except to say that it was all rather delightful what ensued. Secondly and more importantly, I can't recall ever reading a regency romance where the topic of the slave trade (in particular blacks from Africa) and the impact of it on English Society has ever been discussed. Here it is a huge part of what has shaped Emily's character, her past and her future. I had honestly never given any thought to the fact that black slavery existed in Britain as in America so kudos to the author for choosing a unique subject to focus on for the plot of this story, in addition to the more routine (and equally well written) espionage plot. There is definite chemistry between Eric and Emily from the first time that they meet, thought initially it is one of dislike rather than like - but never indifference. As Eric opens up to reveal some of himself to Emily, it becomes a tit for tat endeavor and before long they realize that they can in fact be friends, with perhaps some added benefits. I loved the sexual tension between them, and how their relationship unfolded. I also really liked Eric's moral dilemma of working towards his ultimate goal when he realizes that in doing so Emily's own plans will be ruined. From beginning to end I found this to be a real page turner, and I can't wait to read more in this series. 5 stars!

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