This book made me cry. No really, the ending had me all teary-eyed, with that intense, heavy feeling in my chest that makes breathing difficult. I haven’t done that with a book in so long, that it surprised me. I’ve always enjoyed Lorraine Heath’s historical romances, but I really think this is my favorite of any book she’s written.
When the Duke of Avendale spies a beautiful woman dressed in red across the gaming hell he is immediately enchanted, but even more so when she doesn’t fall into his arms right away. A man who always thinks of women as nothing but momentary diversions suddenly finds himself thinking of nothing but the lovely widow, Rosalind Sharp. Even when he realizes that her intentions aren’t honest and she fully intends on sneaking out of town in the dark of night with his money, he can’t help but still be drawn to her. He wants her and he’ll do anything to work her out of his system.
Rosiland Sharp is a con artist. A very good one as a matter of fact. She isn’t the widow that Avendale thinks she is, in fact she’s never been married at all. There really wasn’t any time for marriage or courting, or any closeness to a man in her life. She has responsibilities and people who are depending on her to survive. The cons she runs guarantee a way for her to provide that security and she will do anything to make sure those people are taken care of.
I’m going to try and write this review without spoilers because I think readers need to experience this story in all its wonderful complexity as it slowly unfolds. Rest assured, it’s glorious. Avendale and Rose’s relationship develops at a beautiful pace and you can almost feel the warmth and love as it blossoms and grows between them. Rose never makes any bones about her true character and all of the criminal things she’s done in her life. When Avendale discovers her duplicity, she never gives him false hope or pretends to be anything other than exactly who she is. A thief and a con artist. But oh wow, when you discover why she does the things she does your heart will break for her. It will, I assure you. That’s when her true self shines through. Rosalind is resilient and loyal and pragmatic. She’s smart and so very loving. She is one of the best written historical romance heroines I’ve read in quite a while.
Avendale is of course a rake and a womanizer when the story opens. He becomes obsessed with Rose simply because she doesn’t fall all over him and react the way every other woman has to his charms. He wants her so badly that even when he finds out who she really is he can’t help but try and keep her. I adored watching him fall. It’s so heartbreakingly beautiful the way he can’t help but keep trying to make her happy, the way he very tenderly protects her over and over. Avendale stole my heart. When I first started reading I wasn’t convinced I would love him, but by the last word of the last page I had deeply fallen for this hero.
At the very heart of this book is the mysterious person who Rose takes care of. I won’t spoil this review by revealing who that is, or the reasons why he must be taken care of, but believe me when I tell you he is why everything else happens. The reason Avendale becomes the man who will take your breath away, the reason you will fall in love with Rose and the very reason their romance is so wonderful. He is also why you will need plenty of tissues handy. This character will steal your heart and have you thinking about him long after the book ends.
I can’t remember a time when I was so swept away by a historical romance. There is literally nothing about this story that didn’t appeal to me. Not one thing. I loved every single page, every scene and every character. If you read one historical romance this year, make sure it’s this one. Definitely recommend. Final Grade- A
Snaking an arm around her waist, he drew her back to him. “I’ve never kissed a woman in the rain.”
“Then kiss me, so you’ll have the memory, so you’ll never forget me.” Quite suddenly, it seemed imperative that he never forget her, that something about her be different from countless other women who warmed his bed.
“I shall never forget you.”