Julie Anne Long comes to the blog today with the first in a new series, The Palace of Rogues, and one unlike any other I have read. Please read on for my review of
Lady Derring Takes a Lover
“Thank you sir. I should never have worked any of that out on my own. Thank goodness a man came along.” And therein is the crux and the tale of this story: women, ill-treated by the men in their lives and wholly fed up with the lot of them, and the ‘constraints’ placed by society that determine their should and should nots. Delilah Derring, formerly known as Countess and her friend Angelique Breedlove have both been left in penury with the death of Delilah’s ‘Dear Dull Derring’ the Earl and her husband. Living in masses of debt, he used connections and his title to afford a life which included his home with Delilah and an arrangement with his mistress, Angelique. Through the first of many ‘unexpected’ actions, Delilah encountered her husband’s former mistress, and the two have formed the start of a friendship – free from ‘conventions’ of society, and bonding together over their common ill-treatment by the men in their lives and their own dire circumstances.
Tristan Hardy is a wholly self-made man, rising from extreme poverty to naval hero, to now running a division that is tasked with discovering and eliminating smugglers, particularly after a family was burned in their beds after refusing to aid the smugglers. Tristan has run into a dead end, but thinks it’s possible and plausible that Delilah and Angelique have knowledge of (or are benefitting from) Derring’s apparent connections to the smugglers, and he’s going to avail himself of a room in the newly reopened boarding house, using his skills of observation and detection, and perhaps a bit of late night skulking to find the answers. But, it’s clear to him that Delilah is something ‘different’ and quite special, and that her innocence isn’t possibly an act, nor is the interest she engenders or his need to reach out and…
The characters in this story were divine! From Angelique’s rather cynical and world weary attitude that occasionally came off as condescending where the more innocent and less experienced Delilah was concerned. Delilah’s determination to live her life on her own terms, being beholden to, or directed by no one but herself and her own desires. Her maid Dot, who, while possessing a streak of loyalty a mile long has little else to recommend her in terms of skills – but always trying. The friendship between these three, and the dark humor that keeps a sort of balance between Angelique and Delilah adds a familiarity and security to their little group, in very insecure circumstances. The attraction to Tristan, and his for Delilah, counterbalance his own insecurities and his struggles with the emotional side of life, nicely balanced by his right-hand man’s obvious infatuation with his betrothed. You’ll laugh, you’ll sigh and you’ll find this a wonderful escape that feels plausible and probable, full of heart and hope and a wonderful introduction to a new series. With the tease in the epilogue leading to the one very big mystery yet unanswered, I can’t wait for the next.
Title: Lady Derring Takes a Lover
Author: Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #1
Also in this series: Angel in a Devil's Arms
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency, Setting: Britain
Published by: Avon
Published on: 26 February, 2019
Source: Publisher via Avon Addicts, Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 14 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible
A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.
Delilah Swanpool, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, "Dear Dull Derring," is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It's a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.
But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue's Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.
They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he's ever known?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via Avon Addicts, Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.