What sort of lady doesn’t make her debut until the age of thirty-two? A timeless beauty with a mysterious past—and a future she intends to take into her own hands . . .
Lady Euphemia Marlington hasn’t been free in seventeen years—since she was captured by Corsairs and sold into a harem. Now the sultan is dead and Mia is back in London facing relentless newspapermen, an insatiably curious public, and her first Season. Worst of all is her ashamed father’s ultimatum: marry a man of his choosing or live out her life in seclusion. No doubt her potential groom is a demented octogenarian. Fortunately, Mia is no longer a girl, but a clever woman with a secret—and a plan of her own . . .
Adam de Courtney’s first two wives died under mysterious circumstances. Now there isn’t a peer in England willing to let his daughter marry the dangerously handsome man the ton calls The Murderous Marquess. Nobody except Mia’s father, the desperate Duke of Carlisle. Clearly Mia must resemble an aging matron, or worse. However, in need of an heir, Adam will use the arrangement to his advantage . . .
But when the two outcasts finally meet, assumptions will be replaced by surprises, deceit by desire—and a meeting of minds between two schemers may lead to a meeting of hearts—if the secrets of their pasts don’t tear them apart . . .
GAH! I loved this book so much. It’s easily a 5 star read. I was curious from the first sentence, which talked about poisoning a relative, and enthralled by page 5. Honestly, I’ve become a *very* picky reader lately, so it takes a LOT to fully suck me into a book. It takes writing skill, voice, knowledge, characterization and frankly, a lot of the time it takes something a little different.
This book has it all.
The mature characters (something you don’t see often in romance, and something I want so much more OF) are so well-fleshed out that as the book progressed it honestly felt like I was walking in their skins. I felt like I could smell the surroundings and feel what they felt. That takes a LOT of work as far as grounding the scenes goes.
I found myself grinning along with the author’s witty humour and a little hot under the collar at the intimate scenes that had just the right amount of subtle D/s to keep me interested.
I stayed up til four in the morning reading this book before I dropped it on my face for the umpteenth time and finally went to sleep.
It’s so good that Minerva Spencer is now on my Auto-buy list and I’ve already ordered the next Outcast book.
October can’t come fast enough!!
CONTENT WARNING ON HISTORICALLY ACCURATE (BUT STILL PAINFUL) VIEWPOINTS/WORDS ON MENTAL ILLNESS, specifically postpartum depression and possibly suicidal ideation/suicide, possible bi-polar disorder. This is a historical so the names aren’t used, but it’s there and might be painful to read if you aren’t expecting it.
READABILITY: 5/5 Stars. Kept me up wayyyy past my bedtime and I just HAD to finish it as soon as I could. I was thinking about the characters as I was away from the book, and oh my gods do I ever have a book hangover now!
ARCS: 5/5 The arcs, all of them (Character, Plot, Romantic) are expertly interwoven and beautifully realized.
CRAFT: 5/5 Tightly written, tightly edited and just a treat to read. I caught one doubled word and a single typo in an almost 300 page book.