Source: publisher via Netgalley (thank you, Pocket Books, for providing me with an e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review!).
Genre: historical romance.
The heir presumptive to the Viscount Rathmoor, Dominick Manton once had his heart’s desire within reach—a bright future as a barrister and engagement to Jane Vernon, a wealthy baron’s daughter. Then a shattering betrayal by his vindictive brother George snatched away Dom’s inheritance and his hopes of offering Jane a secure future. Brokenhearted, and attempting to end their engagement without destroying Jane’s reputation, Dom staged a betrayal of his own to convince her that he’s not the husband-to-be that she thought.
Now George is gone and the viscountcy restored to Dom, since his brother’s widow, Nancy—Jane’s cousin and closest confidant—never bore an heir. But when Nancy goes missing, a panicked Jane calls on her former fiancé to track down her cousin. Dom knows the mistakes of the past may be unforgiveable—but now, entangled together in mystery and danger, will they rekindle a passionate longing that was never lost to begin with? (Goodreads)
My rating: 3/5.
This was a light, enjoyable read. I’ve read Sabrina Jeffries before and she always delivers a really nice example of the genre. I’ve read one of the previous instalments of this series, too, so I was familiar with some of the characters, but I think it’s no big deal if you read them separately.
Jane and Dominick were sweethearts when they were young, their love was more than just physical attraction and lust – it was companionship and appreciation (this is actually quite a rarity in historical romance genre, because usually the conflict is something like “insta-lust + misplaced hatred + coincidence = everlasting love”).
I wasn’t too fond of Dominick’s rather high-handed decision to make Jane break off their engagement. It was done “for her own good”, of course, as Dominick was sure she wouldn’t want to live with him in poverty, but it really should have been her decision, no? This is the main argument of the story and the reason why I couldn’t completely connect with Dom.
Jane, however, is delightful. She’s witty and strong and loyal to the bone. Despite my initial dislike of Dominick’s treatment of her, this is his opinion once they meet again: “He wasn’t used to this new Jane, who threw his logic back in his face and didn’t simply accept his opinions. She was maddening. She was magnificent.” I can forgive him a lot for that.
The plotline of a missing cousin and the subsequent search for her is something of a prop, rather than a real, working complication – I sometimes felt Jeffries just had to distract Jane and Dom long enough for them to figure out they’re really madly in love with each other. The mystery of Nancy’s disappearance wasn’t that much of a mystery after all.
All things considered, this is a good choice for a stress-free, relaxing evening. If you’re interested in similar novels (that I prefer to this one), you might want to look at Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover or The Prince Who Loved Me.
Have you read any of Sabrina Jeffries’ novels?
Do you like your heroes to make decisions for their lady love? Or are you a firm believer in the power of choice?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! :)