I have been reading Emily's books for a few years now, and I have enjoyed every book so far - she is consistently unique, with an enjoyable writing style and characters who stick with you. I occasionally will beta read for her, which I charge a small fee for, but I loved this book so much that when I sent her my feedback, I said - no charge! I never write reviews for books I am paid to read, and this book was too good to pass up for a feature on my Favorite Books of 2020 list. It's my first for the year, and I am so happy to have read it when I did, while quarantined and desperately needing a bit of romance in my life. Haha!
Casper Brook, Duke of Rothwell, has been obsessed with a painting he obtained years ago, one that depicted a young woman who brings out emotions in him that he normally keeps hidden. Locked into a dukedom at a young age, Casper hasn't had the opportunities most young men had, because he had to grow up quickly. Faced with massive debt upon his father's debt, it's been all business and no pleasure for him...until now. Evelyn Pearce is desperate - with her sister sick and a moneylender threatening them unless they pay him back, she is forced to resort to forging a painting based on a sketch her late father completed. The sketch was meant to be a companion piece to a painting he sold years ago, depicting her but with no one the wiser to who she was at the time. Knowing the Duke of Rothwell paid handsomely for its twin, Evelyn approaches him with a proposition. One that's expected to be simple but soon turns quite complicated as they spend more time together. Neither meant to fall in love, but that might be exactly what each needs.
Casper is such an amazing hero! I loved his internal monologue, such humor showing that he never allowed to show to others. At first I got the impression that he would be a stern, unfeeling hero that would eventually grow out of it. However, instead the author gives us a hero who is misunderstood, forced into a personality by way of duty but with a kind heart just waiting to break free. As the story progressed, his character developed into his true self, and that's when he and Evelyn truly fell in love. Evelyn had such a hard life, through no fault of her own, and it was admirable to see the lengths she would go to keep her sister safe. She hated resorting to forgery, but she saw no other option and was afraid how she would reveal her deception to Casper. Thankfully, they both were very generous people, and you saw it in their relationship as they grew closer.
The secondary characters were such a joy as well! I loved Casper's family, and Evelyn's sister is going to get a story here soon. Dare I hope it's with the Prince? Fingers crossed. I can't wait to see where this series takes us.
**I received a free copy from the author and this is my honest review.**