Release Date: Oct 23, 2020
Series: Midnight Secrets
Imprint: Lyrical Press
Lord Jonathan Cromford, Earl of Lindsey, is a rogue, a rake, and a scoundrel who spends his days indulging in vices of drinking, gambling, and women. His father has always found him a disappointment, and after his death tries to force Lindsey’s hand to grow up. Upon the reading of his will, Lindsey learns that he must search for three missing paintings that hold the solvency to the earldom and he must wed and produce a heir or he will run out of funds within weeks. Frustrated that his father is still trying to control him even after his death, Lindsey sets out to discover the missing paintings.
Lady Caroline Nicholson recently returned to England from Italy for the season where she is searching for a husband. In the middle of a ball, Caroline catches Jonathan in a compromising position with another man’s wife. She does not know what to make of the intriguing Earl, but she wants to discover the man he is underneath the title. They are drawn to each other like moths to a flame, unable to sever the invisible rope pulling them to each other. Neither can give the other what they want, but perhaps what they need most of all is each other.
“She played with fire. Even one ember of desire was too dangerous. And yet one tiny spark, small and insignificant, given enough air to breathe could create an inferno.”
This book was beautifully written. Annabelle Bryant’s writing sold this book to me. There were some insanely clever and heart wrenching lines that really conveyed the depth of Jonathan and Caroline’s connection. I did feel their passion and their draw to each other, but it took a long time to truly feel connected to their love story. It almost felt like as a reader you were behind a window watching the story unfold instead of in the middle of it.
Jonathan in the beginning was the same as every hero in every other historical romance book. In the end, the reader was allowed to see inside his soul and some of things that he had suffered through in the past that made him the man that he is. He does grow throughout the book, and there are quite a few swoon-worthy gestures from Jonathan to Caroline. Unfortunately, these do not fix the major problems with the book. The plot was completely focused on the relationship between Jonathan and Caroline that the missing paintings received very little attention. The end of the book rushes to pull everything together, but it does not work. This caused the pacing to be off, and it just never regained its footing for me, personally.
The second major problem with this book was that there was not very much physical chemistry and it had an extremely low heat level. The build-up of the emotional connection made the reader invested in the sex scene, but it occurs towards the very end of the book. It was a slow burn that left a lot to be desired. The love scenes are not graphic.
Overall, the writing is elegant and gorgeous but the plot needed some work. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy Julia Quinn as their writing styles and characters are very similar.