I’ve been avidly following the adventures of the Emperors of London since the very first book in that series, and while their stories have officially reached a conclusion with the ending of the tangled plots against the Crown, their cousins the Shaws now get to take centre stage in a new series of romantic entanglements. We’ve met a few members of this family already, and some have been paired off with Emperors, but there are a number of unmarried siblings in need of happy endings yet.
Lord Valentinian Shaw and his twin brother have taken part in a number of daring escapades as backup to one or other of their cousins, but neither has so far felt the need to settle down. While his twin has his own very personal reasons for not so doing, Val is simply unable to settle to one relationship or scheme for long enough – in his opinion – to give any potential bride a fitting home. Up till now, his betrothed, Lady Charlotte Engles, has been prepared to wait for him to come to his senses; although theirs is a carefully arranged match, her feelings and passions for Val run far deeper than she’ll ever let him, or anyone else, know. Her home life, however, grows ever more intolerable and, in the hope of finding a safer place for herself and her ‘unmarriageable’ sister, she starts to look around for alternative suitors.
When an apparently eligible candidate presents himself, Charlotte asks Val to release her from their arrangement. They share a kiss, which surprises him in its intensity, yet he is prepared to do the right thing by Charlotte, provided he can determine that her new suitor is worthy of her. This turns out to be far from the case. The man is an out-and-out scoundrel, and a murderer, although the Shaws will never be able to bring him to justice for his actions. He also turns out to be a good friend of Charlotte’s father – another thoroughly dastardly piece of work, and Val decides to rescue both Charlotte and her sister from the two men, by holding Charlotte to their previous arrangement.
The plan does not go entirely to plan, and we get to see the inside of a Georgian courtroom after all, though not in the context the Shaws would have hoped for. We also get to see John Fielding, the magistrate (and brother of the better known Henry), in action – one of those historical figures that I’d love to learn more about – and to glimpse a few areas of historical London life rarely featured in romance novels.
I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to the new series. All actions have believable consequences, and the various mysteries and difficulties are untangled at a realistic rate within the confines of the novel’s structure. I’m greatly looking forward to the next instalment, though that may be a few months in arriving yet.
Read Veena’s review here.
When Lady Charlotte Engles receives an offer of marriage from an eligible suitor, she’s finally ready to let go of her long-held hope that her engagement to Lord Valentinian Shaw will result in marriage. For despite the betrothal their families made between them, Val shows no interest in leaving his reckless life behind in favor of one with Charlotte. But when her plea to end their arrangement ends in a heated embrace, suddenly Val seems reluctant to let her go…
The last thing Val wants is a wife, despite how desirous his lovely bride-to-be has become. But when he discovers sweet Charlotte is planning to marry a dastardly man, he feels duty bound to keep her safe, even if that means making good on his marriage pledge. Then Charlotte is taken hostage by her dangerous suitor and suddenly Val is ready to risk everything for the woman who has won his heart…
Read an excerpt.