Christina Britton has once again charmed me with a book full of mystery, romantic tension, and drama! The first book had even more angst than this one, and I especially loved the best friend, Quincy, throughout the story. When I found out the next book would be his HEA, I was over the moon. While I expected more humor, given his character in the first book, it was apparent that he would undertake a more serious demeanor in his own story, given the dark undertones in his own story as well as that of his heroine. There is quite a serious element in this story that might be triggering for some of you, so proceed with caution. You'll get enough hints that you can draw back if you need to, before it gets too difficult to read, but I highly encourage reading until the end. I felt so much better seeing things resolve and seeing how life after trauma can improve and grow into something even better than before.
Quincy Nesbitt left home at the age of 14, feeling unwanted and unloved by his own family, and he made a new one starting with his best friend. When he returns years later as a man, the last people he wants to see are those who wanted to throw him away. However, as a courtesy, he visits his childhood home and learns devastating news - not only are his brothers all dead but their deaths have made him a duke. He had plans to travel, finally do what his father longed to do with him, and now he is tied down to save a dying estate. Oh yes, and his mother wants him to marry his late brother's fiance. Luckily, his good friend Lady Clara Ashford is there to save the day...and announce that he can't marry the other woman because he is engaged to Clara. A bit unexpected but a welcome relief from his vindictive mother. Clara never had any intention of marrying after a tragedy in her past led to the swearing off of romance and children, but if anyone were to tempt her, it would be Quincy. Now that he is a duke, it's even more imperative that they end their fake engagement soon, before her past comes to light.
I felt like crying so many times in this book, as my heart literally hurt for both Clara and Quincy. Poor Quincy - he was a joy in the first Isle of Synne book, and it was so horrible to hear his backstory and how life continued to thwart him even in adulthood. All he wanted was to be as close as possible to the one person who ever loved him, his father, and he couldn't due to duty to a family who never wanted him. It was heartwarming, therefore, to see how much Clara loved him. It started out with warm affection, but as their fake engagement persisted, they grew closer and closer. She had a deep longing to be loved and so did he, but neither were willing to voice it until they met each other. It was distressing to know Clara had a tragic past without know what it was for most of the book, and then when I found out, it made me want her to have a happy ending even more. They were a well suited pair and one I greatly wanted to find love in each other's arms.
As usual, I enjoyed this book by Christina Britton, and I look forward to many more to come!
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**