(Lords of Anarchy, #2)
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
Marriage? To a gambler? You must be joking! Yet Lady Hermione Upperton has never backed down from a challenge. When her spendthrift father offers her at the gaming tables, she is given a difficult choice—wed the Earl of Mainwaring, an infamous gamester with no respect for her skills with the reins, or face charges for the murder of a member of the infamous Lords of Anarchy. Either way she’ll have to clear her name. Can she count on her husband’s help the way she has begun to count on his kisses?
All Jasper Fawley, the Earl of Mainwaring, wanted was a night of cards. But by the end of the evening he’s walked away with a fortune—and a bride who’s suspected of murder. Jasper knows Hermione is passionate about her unorthodox membership in the Lords of Anarchy, but he’s certain she would never kill to keep it. Can he protect his headstrong wife from prosecution and a ruthless killer without endangering both their hearts in the process?
I was disappointed with A Good Rake is Hard to Find, the first book in the series, but I really enjoyed this one with its engaging characters, charming romance and intriguing mystery elements.
Jasper has all the traits I look for in a hero… honourable, charming, kind and patient. I love how he champions Hermione and is so protective towards her. He admires her spirit and sharp wit and I like that he has no desire to change her. I think these words reveal the sort of man he is.
“I realize that your life with your father has been somewhat…difficult at times. But you should never worry about angering me or upsetting me. I will always listen to with an open mind.”
Hermione is outspoken, headstrong and determined and, as a keen driving enthusiast, she is considered unfashionable. She is a mixture of strength and vulnerability which made her a very sympathetic character. Her father, Lord Upperton, is a compulsive gambler and Hermione realises that he loves cards more than he loves her. Only a really, corrupt and heartless man would threaten to auction off his own daughter. It’s not surprising she has concerns about Jasper, someone she sees as a gambler just like her father (Jasper’s reasons for gambling are very different from her father’s as revealed later in the story).
I enjoyed seeing their relationship blossom slowly from friendship to affection and finally to love. It was refreshing to see a couple who, although married under less than ideal circumstances, really want their marriage to work and are open and honest with each other.
The conversation they have about what happens in the marriage bed is certainly one of the most unusual ones I’ve read!
“I admit,” she said with a smile, “my knowledge about the process is a bit limited. I have seen horses of course, but as they have hooves there was no question of the lady horse touching the stallion’s …” She made a hand gesture meant to indicate the missing word.
“Quite,” he said with a wince at the absurdity of this conversation.
I liked how Hermione’s boldness extends to the bedroom but also how Jasper shows such consideration and gentleness.
Jasper really proved a true hero when he stands up to his mother on Hermione’s behalf but Hermione proves herself more than capable of holding her own against the over-bearing Lady Mainwaring. At first, I thoroughly disliked Jasper’s scheming mother, but I came to understand and sympathise with her when she confides in Hermione the reasons for the conflict with her son. It was lovely to see a genuine friendship forged between Lady Mainwaring and Hermione and reconciliation between mother and son.
Why did it feel as if this case were becoming more complex not less.
Yes, there are lots of twists and turns before the mystery surrounding the theft of Hermione’s horses is resolved but I never felt that the mystery element eclipsed the romance.
If I were asked to choose my favourite romantic moment, it would be this…
“Just know that I don’t want you to change. Or rather, I don’t expect you to. It isn’t a requirement for my happiness.”
“You are a wonderful man, “she said, kissing him back. “My father couldn’t have chosen better.”
MY VERDICT: This was a very enjoyable read and Jasper and Hermione were a delightful couple.
REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: WARM
Read September/October 2015
Lords of Anarchy series (click on the book cover for more details):
**I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. **