Release Date: Jan 12, 2021
Series: Isle of Synne
Heat Level: Sensual
Publisher: Grand Central
Quincy Nesbit runs away from his childhood home to put as many miles as possible between him and his vile and black-hearted mother after the sudden death of his beloved father when he was fourteen years old. He overhears his mother telling his older brother that she wished to have him gone from her sight immediately and has procured him a spot in the Navy. Quincy flees refusing to let a mother who has never loved or shown him affection of any kind make decisions about his life.
Fourteen years later, Quincy returns home to find that all three of this brothers have met an unfortunate demise and he has inherited the title of Duke of Reigate along with crippling debts from the mismanagement of the estate since his father passed away. Quincy feels his dreams of traveling the world slipping away each moment that he is home. His mother wants him to marry an heiress that she has hand selected and groomed to become the next Duchess of Reigate and plans to force his hand into marrying this woman, but Lady Clara Ashford has other plans when she announces that they are engaged to be married foiling the Duchess’s plans.
The next few weeks are spent finding a way for Quincy to save the dukedom, planning the wedding of Lady Clara’s sister, uncovering the secrets of the past, and pretending to be madly in love. Things take a turn when a fake betrothal between two imperfect people with quite a few secrets and flaws between them find that maybe there is not something so fake about their feelings for each other.
“Those eyes saw too much, beckoning him into her confidence like the sirens of old. And heaven help him, just moments ago he had been prepared to gladly drown in their depths.”
This book has characters that you can root for, and that you whole-heartedly want them to get their happy ending with each other. Clara has a secret from her past that consumes every fiber of her being, and you can feel the internal struggle and grief that she feels daily. This sadness consumes her whole character, and she is completely devoid of joy or happiness. She punishes herself daily for the sins of her past.
Quincy is light-hearted despite the issues with his family, and he often tries to infuse some much-needed fun into Clara’s life to give her some true pleasure. Overall, it did not happen enough for this to bring any sort of cheerfulness to this book. It felt sad all the way through, and the reader does not find out why until well after halfway through the book. This caused the dialogue to become so stilted and boring even bordering on repetitive at times. There was none of that witty banter that you come to love when reading a historical romance. Humor was completely left out of the interactions between Quincy and Clara leaving the reader to wonder how they were going to be truly happy together in the end.
The end did wrap everything up neatly, but it felt like it took a little too long to get there. The tough conversations between these characters should have taken place a little earlier so that the reader could see their growth throughout the story. The story was well written, and the characters have real depth to them. The plot just moved a little too slow at times.
Christina Britton is a good writer, and fans of Sophie Jordan or Eloisa James should give this book a try.