Publishing Date: April 22, 2022
Despite having humble origins and a criminal past, Ned Wentworth has learned to dress, waltz, and express himself as elegantly as any lordling. When Lady Rosalind Kinwood’s maid goes missing, her ladyship turns to Ned, precisely because he still has friends in low places and skills no titled dandy would ever acquire, much less admit he possesses.
Rosalind is too opinionated and too intelligent, and has frequently suffered judgment at polite society’s hands. In the quietly observant Ned Wentworth, she finds a man who actually listens to her and who respects her for her outspokenness. As the search for the missing maids grow more perilous, Rosalind and Ned will have to risk everything—including their hearts—if they are to share the happily ever after that Mayfair’s matchmakers have begrudged them both.
I really enjoyed this novel, more than the previous novels in the series (though admittedly I’ve only previously read books 5 and 6). A large part of that is that Ned and Rosaline are both genuinely good and likeable people, despite their past and Rosaline’s despicable family. I loved how, as they interacted, they genuinely came to care for one another and do their best to lift each other up. I also loved that it was easy to read and painted a vivid picture of a believable world that sucked me in from the very beginning.
I loved Ned and Rosaline’s determination to save the abducted women and their eventual frank discussion of Ned’s past. I especially loved all the little details, my favorite being Ned’s embroidery. It’s unusual and a seemingly trivial thing but it really showed how much he missed his family and the life that was ripped from him. It also showed his sensitivity and disdain for propriety, as well as how much of himself he’d kept from the Wentworths but was willing to show Rosaline. Oh and the proposal scene was delightful. As was Ned’s tiger Artie, and I greatly hope to see more of him in the future.
I spent portions of the novel feeling as if I had read it before which was very strange as it is an arc and I am quite sure I haven’t. Maybe that was a combination of familiarity with the secondary characters and some backstory from previous novels and a somewhat predictable plot in general? Or perhaps it’s not so much a predictable plot as one that shares themes with other novels I have read in the past. Nevertheless, whatever the reason for the feeling, I still very much enjoyed the journey and was reluctant to close it and leave the world so vividly pressed between the pages.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing an e-arc for review.