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This book really surprised me! I have greatly enjoyed Sabrina Jeffries' past books, so the fact that it was an enjoyable read was not startling at all. However, it was a book that was slow to reel me in, and there were a few times where I was worried that I would not be able to gift this book with a five-star rating. While the story as a whole is not what I would deem fast-paced, I would say it picked up my interest in the latter half, when I was able to get to know the characters and their motivations better. Despite some dark tones to the backstories of some of the characters, it is a story that warms your heart and restores your faith in the human ability to forgive and heal.
Miss Delia Trevor is on a mission. Disguised as a man, she sneaks out every night with her trusted servant, Owen, to a gaming hell in an effort to locate the man who cheated her brother out of the last of his money, and who ultimately caused him to kill himself in despair. When she meets Warren Corry, Marquess of Knightford, she is intrigued by the charmer and her friend's efforts to ensnare them in her matchmaking efforts. Despite her rebuff of Warren, he realizes there is something odd about her behavior, and he soon uncovers her secret. He agrees to keep her secret if she stops her dangerous adventures immediately, and a battle between them ensues. In the midst of a house party, they find themselves in a compromising position, and quickly thereafter they are married. That's when Delia discovers that she is not the only one with a secret. The question now is, can her love for Warren overcome the walls he's built around himself?
While I loved both Delia and Warren, I felt a true connection with Warren almost immediately. His personality spoke to me in such a way that I feel if he were real, we would be friends. He's witty and charming, but you can tell fairly quickly that those are covers for his nightly terrors and doubts about himself. He loves poking at Delia, to instigate her fiery spirit, and it was fun to see the two of them spar. Delia had one moment that could be deemed "too stupid to live" - her solo foray into the stews of London. However, her patience and love for Warren redeemed her in my eyes, and I found myself hoping - no, praying - that they would settle their differences and learn to love each other. Warren's true nature unfurls like a blooming flower (I feel poetic today, sorry), and it was such a beautiful thing. Whoever says a sensitive man is not a sexy man has not met Warren Corry.
As always, Sabrina Jeffries has written a poignant, poetic work of fiction, and I am happy to say I give it five stars! I look forward to reading more in the future. Dare I hope that Delia's sister-in-law, Brilliana, is getting her story told next?
**I received a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**