About the book:
With devastating scars in her past, Serena Winthrop is sure no man can be trusted—especially not men like the far-too-smooth Viscount Charmichael. His reputation as a charmer and a gambler is everything she despises. And the young artist makes sure that this disreputable heir to an Earldom knows of her deep disapproval whenever they encounter one another.
Henry, Lord Carmichael, is perfectly aware of his charms to the women of the ton. He’s gambled with plenty of their hearts as easily as he does their husband’s money—it’s all in good fun to him. But lately he’s been wondering if there’s more to life—and confronting the idea that his actions might not prove worthy of the admirable wives his friends have found.
When Serena’s brother-in-law asks his best friend to protect his young ward, Henry promises to be on his best behavior and not woo her. But the more he learns of her, the more he realizes she might be his best reason for changing his character. Then the lady’s art leads her to London infamy. Now Henry must choose between the life mapped out for him as the Earl apparent, and the love of his life. And Serena’s secret may mean the end of his titled family line.
The second in a new series by internationally popular author Carolyn Miller is full of the same rich historical detail and evocative writing that readers enjoyed, and familiar characters make appearances here. The witty banter will continue to draw in fans of Jane Austen, Sarah Ladd, and Julie Klassen.
I felt compassion for Miss Serena Winthrop from the very first page as the author sets up the storyline as to why the character is so mistrustful. I had to keep reminding myself how young Serena is because she seemed older and wiser beyond her years as she built up emotional barriers that only a very few could penetrate.
What I admired most about Serena is how principled she is, again not something that you normally find in a younger character. I liked the close bond she shared with her sister and brother in-law and the fact that they looked out for her and included her in their lives and travels. When you spend time with your family, its only natural you meet their friends, which is how she met, Viscount Carmichael.
Lord Henry and Serena couldn’t be more opposite of each other! She’s reserved, sure of what she will and will not except in a person and he has a less than stellar reputation to put it politely. I loved that she was true to herself and managed to put him in his place when it was warranted.
I liked that the author chose not to have the protagonist attending countless balls and shopping for gowns, not that I don’t enjoy those stories, but I found this to be very refreshing with Serena and her artistic talent. The colors, palettes and subjects described made me see the beauty of the paintings that Serena created.
There are several secondary characters that added to this delightful story, but the ones that stood out to me are Henry’s father, his sister and his grandmother. I felt bad for his father and liked that he could discuss art with Serena, even if just briefly.
Overall, this has a wonderful storyline with some pretty wonderful characters. The author has a knack for storytelling and I learned not only about women artists in the Regency era, but I also learned of an affliction known as abdominal migraine. So, not only was I thoroughly entertained, but I gained a bit of knowledge. I also liked that this isn’t the typical, ” boy meets girl and they fall instantly in love” story. It’s much more nuanced than that. After I finished reading this book, I realized that this is my favorite work by Miss Miller so far. I am looking forward to the next book in the series because I have a feeling it will be just as good as this one.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.