Q: do you think that you’d be good at maintaining a lie about your identity if it was your job to do so?
A terrifying ghost dressed in white, rumored to be haunting the husband who supposedly killed her. A bedchamber door that’s mysteriously unlocked, but only for the heroine. A hero who has more secrets than coins (<—this is a purely hyperbolic statement made for effect).
Anna Bradley’s romance The Virgin who Vindicated Lord Darlington takes an intriguing walk on the gothic romance side, offering a slow burn class difference/everyone’s keeping secrets/widower’s second chance at love tale.
Cecilia Gilchrist is posing as a housemaid in Lord Darlington’s home to discover if he really is in fact the Murderous Marquess. Believed to have murdered his wife, Gideon faces malicious gossip & things really start boiling over when a ghostly apparition believed to be his dead wife starts appearing in advance of his upcoming marriage to someone who is not our heroine.
Will Cecilia solve the case? & will Gideon actually marry someone who is not our Cecilia (also remember: our heroine isn’t being honest with him ).
This secret-driven atmospheric romance is an entertaining change of pace. I love how Cecilia challenges the lordly Lord Gideon & how she’s a genuinely nice person who, as Gideon says, enlivens his world. His devotion to Cecilia & his niece is pure sweetness.
But I didn’t care for how the deception plot unravels. Cecilia shares very little about her actual life w/ Gideon & what she does share is a lie, & that doesn’t feel adequately or sufficiently corrected by the end. I didn’t really feel like he “knew her” knew her & that’s important to me.
Also, & this could just be a personality clash, I was annoyed with some of the risks she continued to take .
My reading of this one was a little uneven but I’m looking forward to trying more in the series, especially book 1, which I’ve seen great reviews of.
there’s a disturbing plot element related to the death of Gideon’s first wife. Please contact me if you'd like more info.
3.5 ⭐️. The Virgin who Vindicated Lord Darlington publishes on 02/02. Thanks to Kensington Press & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
💫 Q: what’s your fave fairy tale?
I’ll be honest: I didn’t put together all of the references to Snow White in Charis Michaels’s A Duchess a Day until after the book was over 😆. But I’m blaming that all on me/maybe a little 2020, & whether some of the references sailed over my head or not I enjoyed the heck out of this book by a new-to-me-author.
Declan Shaw, aka the Hunstman, is a mercenary who’s been falsely imprisoned. A dastardly man, the uncle of a duke, says he’ll pay Declan & have him released from Newgate...if he agrees to serve as a bodyguard of sorts ensuring that the duke’s intended, the very reluctant Lady Helena Lark, not escape before the nuptials. As she’s tried before.
While in his guise as a groom, Declan is introduced to Helena, who’s beautiful, determined, smart, & devoted to her orchard & people back home. (She literally has traveled to London with some of her 🍎.)
Readers, though he doesn’t come out & say it, Declan is pretty much immediately gone for her *double fist pumps.
But of course there are lots of obstacles standing in the way of true love 💕, including the fact that the duke needs a duchess & Helena refuses to volunteer or accept the position.
For me, the premise almost seems to share some of the things I love from what I consider my “classic” romance novel loves. Like maybe a Garwood? (Please don’t come for me if you don’t agree 🤣).
✅ A brawny hero torn by obligation & desire.
✅ A beautiful heroine who’s also eccentric in some ways, resourceful, & caring
✅ Some humor
But with a fresh, entertaining spin on it.
There are some narrative intrusions that feel a little strange to me, a joke that feels somewhat insensitive, & one of the characters seems to change his/her mind about something in a way that feels kinda sudden, but I’ll be honest: I don’t know how critically I read this one; I just enjoyed it 🤷🏻♀️ . Low angst, 🔥, sweetness, working-class hero: yes, yes, yes, & YES.
4 ⭐️. A Duchess a Day releases on 11/10. Thanks to Avon & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Give me that HEA, please.
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