What can I say about this series? It has become my most loved romance series. Each book, starting with the first, “She Tempts the Duke” builds upon each other to weave a tapestry of a story of betrayal, loss and ultimately, love.
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know my favorite of the series is Lord of Temptation. Tristan Easton is close to my perfect hero. If you want to read perhaps one of the best written, emotionally wrenching scenes ever written, read the scene when he returns to the castle where he and his brothers were imprisoned. Call me a fool but it never fails to make me cry.
But we, as lovers of this series were waiting for Rafe’s story. Rafe was the little brother, only ten years old, who was left behind in a workhouse by his oldest brother Sebastian. You see, the three brothers, Sebastian, the oldest and heir to the Dukedom, his twin Tristan, always a little devilish, and Rafe, the baby brother, were imprisoned by their uncle, who wanted to take control of their inheritance, homes, their lives.
We know that Sebastian was wounded horribly in the Crimean War and Tristan had his own scars, but Rafe? He was the enigma, the one who hardly spoke, who pulled away from all contact with not only society, but with his brothers. He couldn’t find it in his heart to forgive them for leaving him, for subjecting him to live in the subhuman conditions of London’s underbelly.
The beauty of the writing is how Ms. Heath allows her characters to overcome their psychological wounds and pain. to learn to forgive and to open themselves to life and love again.
Rafe is the owner of the most notorious gambling hell in London and many noblemen owe him fortunes. The Earl of Wortham has offered up his bastard half sister as mistress to the highest bidder. As soon as Rafe sees the lovely Evelyn Chambers, he knows he can’t let another possess her. Evelyn feels drawn to the dark and silent man, and when Rafe takes her home with him, rather than let her be bought by a lascivious lord, she knows her life as an innocent is over.
We read the book and we learn how Evelyn works through her shame of giving up her dream of marriage and family to relegate herself as a mistress.
It is Rafe however whom we want to see redeemed. We want him to find peace for his soul, as he is so tortured, he can’t have anyone touch him. That’s right. He can’t allow anyone to put their arms around him. As you read his heartbreaking story of growing up alone, feeling unwanted, always waiting for his brothers to come and rescue him, your heart continuously breaks for him.
The conclusion is eminently satisfying and worthy of such an epic series. Seeing how these two scarred desperate people battle their demons to learn how to love and forgive is worth staying up well into the night for.
And not everyone is forgiven. Keep a watch for what happens to Evelyn’s brother, Wortham. A fitting retribution.
What is your favorite romance series, and which book out of them stands out for you? Why? What made that book so special for you?
After all, I need more books in my TBR pile!