I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Regency Reformers #1
Published by Entangled Publishing on March, 24, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: the Publisher
To society, the Earl of Blackstone cuts a mysterious figure. He is eligible, withdrawn, and endlessly fascinating. Yet as an integral part of London’s underground spy ring intent on defeating Napoleon, Blackstone has no mistress but the cause.
Miss Emily Mirren is considered “unbiddable” by the ton. She wields a fierce intellect, which she channels into her own secret cause—writing an abolitionist newspaper column under a male pseudonym.
When Emily’s aims clash with Blackstone’s, they stray into a dangerous game of attraction and subterfuge, and secrets are the going currency. And in order to complete the most important mission of his career, Blackstone must thwart Emily, even if it breaks both their hearts.
Emily and Blackstone are a couple of wonderfully complex, rich characters each with their own exciting backstory and driving force behind their actions and thoughts in the present plot. But in the second half of the story – where we get most of the backstory – it was almost like there was TOO much going on. The first half of the novel was the charming exploration and development of Emily and Blackstone’s relationship. It wasn’t a love-at-first-sight situation and it was delightful to watch their love grow and evolve as they got to know each other. The second half of the novel delves into the dynamics of Blackstone’s pursuit of the villain Le Cafard and Emily’s abolitionist activism. While this provided a fascinating extra layer to Emily and Blackstone’s characters, the focus of the narrative shifted from heartwarming, witty romance into a lukewarm, run-of-the-mill spy story. So much was happening and so quickly that it really took away from the enjoyment of reading the novel, especially since it seemed like it was no longer a romance novel.
Emily is a very passionate character, which fits right in with her abolitionist mindset. When she sees a problem, she attacks it from all angles and with all her heart in the interest of justice and seeing a problem solved.
Blackstone is a bit broody and quite powerful in the right social circles. His career as a spy requires cunning and determination – characteristics he possesses in spades. Though his mouth! Good god, there was a lot of cursing in this novel. Very much a turn off in terms of seeing Blackstone as a “hero” character and also for just general enjoyment of the book.
Overall, a great debut from a promising author. This wasn’t the best historical romance – plot lines need to be tightened, plot holes filled in, and the “convenient”-like plot points removed – but I can tell that this author will certainly become much better with time and experience, so I’m eager to see what she publishes next.