I’ve got to be completely honest here. Two pages into this book and I was already inclined to give it five stars, because this is the first fiction book I have EVER read, in ANY genre, which starts off by carefully listing appropriate trigger warnings.
Until mainstream fiction figures out some way to follow the lead of fandom and adopt a coherent tagging system for trigger warnings - one which is followed by all authors on pain of getting flamed to death by furious reviewers - readers will have to keep cautiously reading reviews and hoping other reviewers have done them the favor of listing their particular trigger, so they don’t get a nasty surprise. I try to keep this in mind when writing reviews myself - I don’t have triggers, but I’m very aware that others do, and I try to note the major ones (like miscarriage, sexual assault or rape, domestic violence, child death, physical and emotional abuse and the like). Well, in Eve Pendle’s work, I don’t have to. Open up the preview on your device and take a look for yourself.
Thank you, ma’am. I hope more authors follow your lead.
Of course, I did read on, and I’m so delighted I did. I learned about several things in the Victorian era I had no idea even existed, like the craze of genteel ladies for fern-collecting (pteridology), for one. I also fell totally in love with Lady Emily, our heroine, a Very Proper daughter of a duke with at least one extremely surprising secret in her past.
When she’s trapped overnight in a hole with rake Lord Markshall, Emily has no choice but to agree to an engagement. And this is definitely not one of those occasions where the title doesn’t fit the hero (like the anything-but roguish ‘Rogue’ in a book I recently read). Markshall has an illegitimate daughter and is unashamed about his reputation.
Except, things aren’t quite what they seem with Markshall any more than they are with Emily. And as the two grow closer together, secrets are slowly revealed until eventually, it’s very obvious that they are, in fact, each other’s perfect match.
I can’t even begin to express how much I loved this. It’s a story of so many layers, veils slowly peeling away to reveal the core of the characters, stripped bare to each other and the reader. Beautifully researched and well written, this is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. Five stars, and I wish I could give it more.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from the author.