(Wicked Widows, #3)
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
THE TRUTH COULD RUIN HER
In Manda Collins’s Why Lords Lose Their Hearts, Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormonde, keeps a dangerous secret—the truth of how her brutish husband died. But a mysterious avenger seems to know it, too, and when anonymous threats turn into public attacks, there’s only one friend she can turn to for help—her husband’s former secretary, Lord Archer Lisle. The man who witnessed her every heartache. The kind of man whose love she can only dream of …
WILL HIS LOVE SAVE HER?
The youngest of the Duke of Pemberton’s five sons, Lord Archer Lisle is used to waiting his turn. For years, he could only stand by, seething, as Perdita suffered at the hands of her husband, but now she’s under threat from another source—one who will stop at nothing to make her pay for the late duke’s death. But the good-natured Archer can be dangerous when crossed—and he’ll do anything to keep the woman he’s adored for so long safe in his arms…
This is the final book in Manda Collins’s Wicked Widows series, although there is a Christmas novella, Once Upon a Christmas Kiss, which features Sir Lucien Blakemore, a secondary character in the series, as the hero.
The series centres on sisters, Isabella and Perdita, and their friend, Georgina… all widows of abusive husbands. They share a terrible secret concerning the death of Perdita’s husband, the Duke of Ormonde, but find themselves threatened by someone who obviously knows that secret and is out for revenge.
I adore Archer. He is the epitome of everything a hero should be…gentle, caring, patient and funny. I also like the idea of the unrequited love being on the hero’s side rather than the more usual scenario of the heroine pining away for the hero.
From that moment on he had been a goner. And in spite of himself he’d fallen in love with his employer’s wife.
His strong protective instincts come to the fore when he shows his determination to keep Perdita safe even if his methods are a little unusual.
I had somewhat conflicting views about Perdita. Having been under the control of her abusive husband for so long, I could understand why she values her independence and her need to make her own decisions. However, I was really frustrated by her stubborn refusal to take Archer’s concerns for her safety seriously.
Thus far, the threats against her had not persuaded the headstrong Perdita to curb any of her normal activities, a resistance for which she was inordinately proud.
On the other hand, she is kind and compassionate towards her servants, always setting them at ease and also refuses to do anything that might place her sister Isabella or her friend Georgie in any danger. I love how she castigates Lord Dunford when he treats Archer as if he were a mere servant.
The romance is both tender and passionate and Archer is so tenacious in his resolve to persuade Perdita to marry him despite her fears.
“You may do what you wish to convince Dunthorp to propose, but I will do whatever it takes to convince you that the only man you should marry is me.”
Knowing what she suffered at Gervase’s hands, he is such a considerate and generous lover putting her pleasure before his own and taking care not to do anything she is uncomfortable with. I enjoyed the bolder Perdita …
“I’d like to watch you lose control.”
Of course, her words had the expected effect and she gave an evil laugh. “You did that on purpose,” he said, flipping her neatly onto her back. “I think I’m going to have to get used to this naughty side of you, Perdita. I had no idea you had it in you.
“I can think of something I’d rather have in me.”
I adore Archer’s family. His parents, the duke and duchess are genuinely fond of their sons and, in spite of the usual sibling disagreements, it is plain to see the strong bond between the brothers. There is plenty of banter between them and the story about the Kimball twins is so funny. I love Archer’s mother because she is instrumental in convincing Perdita to trust what her heart tells her.
Isabella, Trevor, Georgie and Con are on hand to push and prod Archer and Perdita into each other’s arms and to provide practical help against the threat to Perdita.
Ms Collins maintains the suspense well and I didn’t guess the identity of the mastermind behind all the threats. However, there was one scene where you needed a strong stomach and the villain’s back story definitely stretched my credulity.
In spite of my quibbles, I did enjoy this book but not as much as the first two in the series. It appears that Archer’s brothers are getting their own stories as Lord Frederick Lisle is the hero of A Good Rake is Hard to Find, the first book in Ms Collins’s new Lords of Anarchy series, which is due to be published on 31st March 2015.
REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: HOT
Read November 2014
Wicked Widows series (click on cover for more details):