My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Driven by his ruthless ambition, Alexander Strathmore would do anything to come face to face with the mystery man who-d challenged him to first debauch Julia, then destroy her.
A wild shot-a frantic carriage ride through the night-a forbidden seduction. Rakehell adventurer and sheltered spinster, Alexander and Julia will break every rule of propriety to chase down their nemesis and consummate their unlikely passion.
The book started out great and ended great. Julia Woolcott is a spinster who lives a shy and unassuming life with her aunt and sister. She is thrust into a situation that puts her life in jeopardy. Enter Alexander Francis Strathmore. He first saves her from the dungeons then saves her from being ravished (yes, I used the word ravish…this is a historical romance after all). There is an overall villain who is trying to destroy them both, or so it seems.
This becomes the pattern for the rest of the book. Julia ends up not being the quiet shy person everyone thought her to be. In fact she becomes quite adamant about being part of every plan that Strathmore has. That got boring very quickly.
To be honest I did not like Julia at all, that’s why it took me so long to finish this book. I kept putting it down because I wanted to just yell at her to sit down and let Strathmore do everything! She was very self-aware and admitted often to knowing she was acting stupidly, yet she would do it anyway. Also, she kept so many secrets, that by the end I thought she had some great Evil (with a capital E) that she was hiding. But no, nothing that interesting.
Alexander was a much better character. He was blunt and honest about everything, including when he decided he wanted Julia above all else. His motivations were clear and he almost never wavered.
This brings me to the ending. I take back the great ending bit that I said in the beginning. Julia and Alexander seemed to swap roles, he becoming someone unable to make the right choices and almost down right stupid, and she became bold and brave and smart.
All this, and we still don’t know what the great secret is…Ms. Richards has definitely set us up for a sequel, perhaps involving Rowena and Montagu Faron(I don’t think we’ve seen the last of them!).