Author: Mimi Matthews
Series: Belles of London #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Kindle ARC
No. of Pages: 432
Date of Publication: January 16, 2024
My Rating: 5 Stars
Fortune favors the bold—but is a confirmed spinster daring enough to loosen the reins and accept a favor from the wicked gentleman who haunts her dreams?
Lady Anne Deveril doesn’t spook easily. A woman of lofty social standing known for her glacial beauty and starchy opinions, she’s the unofficial leader of her small group of equestriennes. Since her mother’s devastating plunge into mourning six years ago, Anne voluntarily renounced any fanciful notions of love and marriage. And yet, when fate puts Anne back into the entirely too enticing path of Mr. Felix Hartford, she’s tempted to run…right into his arms.
No one understands why Lady Anne withdrew into the shadows of society, Hart least of all. The youthful torch he once held for her has long since cooled. Or so he keeps telling himself. But now Anne needs a favor to help a friend. Hart will play along with her little ruse—on the condition that Anne attend a holiday house party at his grandfather’s country estate. No more mourning clothes. No more barriers. Only the two of them, unrequited feelings at last laid bare.
Finally free to gallop out on her own, Anne makes the tantalizing discovery that beneath the roguish exterior of her not-so-white knight is a man with hidden depths, scorching passions—and a tender heart.
In this third remarkable read in the Belles of London series, Lady Anne Deveril fights for her independence, while trying hard to protect her heart from a man she was once engaged to. While this book would serve well as a standalone, the first two books in this series, The Siren of Sussex and The Belle of Belgrave Square, were equally delightful reads if one chooses to read the series in order. I am very much looking forward to the fourth book in the series, The Muse of Maiden Lane, which is projected to be released in October.
For years, Lady Anne has been in the shadows, dressed in blacks, as she lost her father quite some time ago. Her mother has never gotten over the loss, and Lady Anne seems to stay with her mother more of obligation than love. At one point Anne had hoped to marry Mr. Felix Hartford, but her father's death changed her focus.
Hart left the country for some time but he is back now and frustrates Anne at every turn. What about the love they had for each other previously? Is it still there? Then there is the consideration that Anne has for her mother and the long depression that she has been in.
A battle of wills takes place exactly as Anne finds her wings, so to speak. No doubt there would be happy ending between Anne and Hart. After all, this is a historical romance. But their journey was a delight, as well as the cameos from previous books.
Many thanks to Berkley and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
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