My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was everything I hoped it would be and much, much more. Kit Redford has always fascinated me whenever he’s appeared in this series of books from Joanna.
Henry, Duke of Avesbury, we last saw bursting into Simon Reid’s office when he was meeting Murdo and David in The Bequest and in obvious distress.
In this book we find out why. Poor Henry has spent 18 years believing his Christopher was comfortably living in the house he’d bought for him with a yearly stipend and a nice payoff to invest for his future.
Instead, the reader knows Kit has had a traumatic time, glimpses of which we’ve had throughout the Enlightenment series, as he was left alone and vulnerable when Henry was forced to leave him because of a promise to his dying wife.
Henry is such a wonderful man, he is everything you’d ever hope a Duke would be, caring, responsible, willing to do his duty to the best of his ability, and capable of dealing with immeasurable loss and still go on. His is the perfect English stiff upper lip in attitude.
There may be readers who think “but he cheated on his wife?” with Kit. But, it’s more than that. There is an understanding between Henry and his wife because of her own nature, and I really appreciated that she was herself a thoughtful and kind person. She’d been fully complicit in Henry finding himself a lover.
Kit has always been there in the background, the owner of the self-named club where gentlemen of a certain persuasion could come and freely mingle without fear of discovery or exposure.
But there’s always been a sense of him holding something back, there was an air of aloofness amid his joviality and here we finally get the full story of these two men.
With a beautifully written narrative, Joanna gives the reader their journey back, they are Restored not only in each other’s eyes but also in the love that they’ve never lost.
And she does it through a multitude of individual plotlines which weave brilliantly together to create a build up of tension which all comes to a head with a dramatic encounter at a gaming den (and hello Jake Sharp, aren’t you a delicious character!)
This is also wonderfully steamy, the dynamic between Kit and Henry is turned utterly on its head and oh gawd how much did I love seeing Henry willing to do whatever Kit wished?! So, so emotionally vulnerable and chemistry bouncing off the charts.
I won’t go into more detail than I have here, other than to say there wasn’t a bit of this story that didn’t work for me. In actuality, it was the complete opposite, it left me wanting more.
More Kit and Henry, more of Simon Reid, definitely more Jake Sharp.
It also gave me George and Freddy, Henry’s two grown-up sons, and George is just like Henry and oh, how my heart hurt for him. His has clearly been broken and a throwaway comment from his father years before has led to a world of unintended pain, which I really hope Joanna is going to resolve with his own book.
And yes, I’m begging you for that one, Joanna! 😁😉😊
PS: How gorgeous is this cover too?! The Enlightenment series has some of my absolute favourite covers in the genre, such simplicity which evokes not only the time period but the men inside.
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review