WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS UNMARKED SPOILERS
Expected Release Date: January 28, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Imprint: Pocket Books
Author’s Website: http://www.sabrinajeffries.com
My Source for This Book: Edelweiss
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, The Duke’s Men Series
Series Best Read In Order: Works Well As A Standalone
Steam Level: Steamy
Pet Peeves: Predictable villains
Favorite Tropes: Estranged Yet Faithful Lovers
It had been a decade since Victor Cale, first cousin to the Duke of Lyons, had seen his wife. After some royal jewelry went missing from the jeweler’s shop where they worked, Isabel Mertens disappeared. When Victor gets word of a woman who fits his wife’s description, he sets out to confront her. But he discovers that nothing is as it seems—and revenge is never as sweet as true love.
What Worked For Me:
- I loved that both Victor and Isabel were faithful to their wedding vows even though they were estranged for ten years. Is it realistic? Probably not. Am I thrilled anyway? Absolutely. I despise infidelity in romance, even during estrangement, and I breathed a sigh of relief when it came out that both lovers had remained faithful even though they thought they’d been betrayed by the other.
- While this series, like most, is probably best read in order, I didn’t feel I was at a huge disadvantage having not read the previous installment before picking this one up.
- Even though the build-up to the final confrontation is a bit cliche, I still enjoyed all of the action and cleverness involved in outwitting the villains.
- There was great chemistry between Victor and Isabel, and I loved that they’d had a pretty happy marriage before the events that lead to their estrangement. The angst and heartache between them added just the right amount of tension, while still allowing it to be believable that they would end up together again.
What Didn’t Work For Me:
- It’s not that I didn’t like the daughter. It’s more that I didn’t like how predictable not only her existence was in the first place, but how cliche her involvement in the final confrontation with the villains was. I know fictional formulas work for a reason, but I was disappointed because this particular trope was both predictable and cliched.
As most of my readers know, I’m not big on estranged relationships in my romance. However, this one is a little different from all the rest for two main reasons. First, they were happy together before the estrangement — even in love, which is not something we often find in an estranged-lovers romance. Second, their estrangement resulted from a betrayal that was not their own, though both were led to believe that the other was at fault.
Though I was a little unsure of my feelings about the “secret child” between Victor and Isabel, and though I saw the… er… complication that would arise because of her chapters and chapters before it happened, that didn’t really take away from my enjoyment of the novel.
While the suspense was one thing that kept me drawn into the story, what really appealed to me was the skill with which the author wove a believable and enjoyable romance out of some of the most implausible situations. The heartache, the bitterness, and the gradual rebuilding of love and affection between them was beautiful, and the chemistry sizzled, especially when it (understandably) took a while for the physical side of the relationship to move forward.
Overall, a very enjoyable read, recommended for fans of second chances, big misunderstandings, and delicious chemistry.
A solid 4/5 Stars