Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, is a celebrated courtesan with her finger on the pulse of high society. She’s adored by men, hated by their wives. No one knows anything about her past, and she plans to keep it that way.
Only He Can Offer Her a Dazzling Future…
Warrick Fitzhugh will do anything to protect his compatriots in the Foreign Office, including seduce Fallon, who he thinks can lead him to the deadliest crime lord in London. He knows he’s putting his life on the line…
To Warrick’s shock, Fallon is not who he thinks she is, and the secrets she’s keeping are exactly what make her his heart’s desire…
Not often in historical romance do you see characters quite like the ones in Shana Galen’s latest work. When there are characters that are those who live on the edge of society, it is either the hero or the heroine – very rarely do you see both existing in this way.
I’ve not read any of Shana Galen’s work before this, and was unaware that this was the second in a series. While When You Give A Rake a Ruby could be read as a stand-alone, it would probably pay to read the series in order. I know I will be going back and reading the first in this series, as it will likely fill in a few gaps for me.
This was quite a lot darker in tone than other Regency historicals that I have read recently. Both Fallon and Warrick have dark and often painful pasts that they have and are struggling to overcome. I liked that Fallon, despite her initially horrific station in life, has fought back and made something of herself – the image of a sought-after courtesan may be to some barely respectable, but to Fallon, it is infinitely better than what she may have become if she hadn’t broken away. After reading her story, I can totally understand why she’d want to keep that ‘charming’ family of hers a secret. Warrick, while the owner of a far more savoury past, still had some major-league demons haunting him – the loss of contact with his family, the battlefield death of his brother and the resulting PTSD all combining to ensure Warrick’s journey through life isn’t all beer and skittles.
There is a great deal of suspense and intrigue within this story, but not so much that you can’t catch your breath and not so little that you wonder why bother. I like that the big bad guy was not easy to guess at all – Ms Galen allows you to assume you might know, then tears you in a different direction.
And as for the all-important romance….it was hot, it was intense, it was really well done. You can see them warring with themselves and each other over their mutual attraction. There were misunderstandings that would have kept them apart in lesser hands, but Ms Galen shows that their issues can be resolved without major flouncing about and rash, ill-thought-out statements.
I really enjoyed this book and I am very much looking forward to reading Lily’s story when it comes time to be released. This is the first of Shana Galen’s work I have read, but it will definitely not be the last.
My rating: 4 out of 5
Release Date: 1 March 2013
Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy by Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley in return for an honest review.