Now then, this was something a little bit different. I don't tend to read many Regency Romances but something about the blurb piqued my interest for this one so I gave it a whirl and I'm very glad that I did!
This book breaks all the rules of Regency Romance as I've come to know them. Doesn't it know that the hero and heroine are supposed to meet within the first 20 pages, and then the hero is meant to be transfixed by her heaving bosom, and she's meant to turn into a blob of simpering girl goo every time he comes near. Yada, yada, pithy dialogue, blah-di-blah, several sex scenes involving creamy thighs, quivering members and throbbing manhoods, some other stuff, fiddle-di-dee, happily ever after - the end.
That is how it is supposed to go! Those are <u>The Rules</u>! But that's not what happened here. Far from it.
Instead, what we got were two flawed but fascinating main characters. In particular, the heroine, Mira, had a lot going on internally. She has some stuff to work through before she can even consider members of the opposite sex. So for this reason the romance had to wait quite a while to get going (which made perfect sense in context) while she sorted through some of her problems and issues.
Mira and Micheal are two people who share the same goal--vengeance and the all-consuming need to kill Michael's older brother, the Duke of Tallant. And on the surface, that's all they have in common. But as we go deeper we see that they are more like kindred spirits than they could ever have guessed. Both characters are a dichotomy in and of themselves. Michael, at the start of the book, has just returned from India to England after a decade-long absence. He outwardly looks like a total barbarian compared to all the pomps of London, but underneath, much as he would deny it, he is a decent and good man. Whereas Mira looks like an angel on the outside; soft-spoken and altruistic, caring for her disabled father and turning down frequent offers of marriage to devote herself to her father's few remaining months of life. But underneath that façade, she is a woman filled only with thoughts of revenge and calculating cold-blooded murder.
Neither character was wholly good or bad, but they were definitely interesting and engaging.
Obviously, to find out why they want to kill the duke so much you'll have to read the book, but it's quite harrowing and heartbreaking and I'm just glad that Michael and Mira found each other in time.
I have to say, I loved the setting and all the Indian fables and stories that were thrown in via Michael's Sikh friend Hari. They were used sparingly, but were a nice (and again, different) addition. I also really enjoyed the dialogue, I thought that was very well done. And it was really endearing to read Michael's hopes and dreams through his narration, even though he was adamant he didn't deserve any of what he secretly wished for. All that was just too cute!
If I could wish for anything, I would have loved a few more intimate scenes. However, I would not have brought them forward to earlier in the book, I would simply wish for it to have been longer or to have had a nice epilogue. Particularly after the way things went the first time they were together!
I definitely recommend this book. I may be no expert on this genre, but I know good characters when I meet them, and they certainly were that.
4 Stars ★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher for an honest review