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Every time I pick up a Christi Caldwell book, I get a smile on my face. I don’t even have to look at the first page to know it’s going to be a good read. In fact, her books are my go-to reads whenever I need a warm fuzzy book following a depressing moment in life or when I have a read a book that was not so good. Her books are magic. Now, this book was particularly interesting to me, because it’s not a storyline I see very often. I suppose you could call it a long-lost-friends-to-lovers type of story? It was a heart-warming read, and I became emotionally invested in the outcome of the characters’ story. I loved how Christi wrote such a touching story, drawing in some really dark elements but creating a sort of healing that allows for a calming of the soul. There may be a bit of a trigger warning to this book, so just to forewarn you. I’ll mention it at the very end, so skim down to the bottom if you want to know right away.
Fourteen years ago, Ophelia Killoran had made a mistake, which cost the life of a boy whom she had helped escape Mac Diggory twice before, and ever since she has dedicated her life to saving children who are prey to the wealthy lords of London. But now she has come face-to-face with her past – Connor Steele, the boy come back from the grave as the most successful investigator in England. He has been hired to find a lord’s son, who was stolen from his home seven years ago, and Connor believes Ophelia knows where the boy is now. Refusing to help him, Connor and Ophelia are immediately at odds, but that all changes when Ophelia’s brother sends her to her sister’s for a season, to find a husband of consequence. Seeing how miserable she is, Connor befriends Ophelia, and they soon become much more than past acquaintances. The trouble is, Ophelia has a dark past with many secrets, and while Connor is a master at discovering the truth, these are truths Ophelia never wants to see the light of day.
Ophelia and Connor were a really interesting couple to read about! I loved how they both came from the streets, but while one ended up being raised by a lord, the other remained somewhat in the shadows by living in a club. So Ophelia had a much rougher edge to her, and she was on the streets longer than Connor, so her experiences made her averse to developing any sort of relationship with him. But Connor was determined to help her and love her, and his innate kindness helped her through a lot of anxiety. When the darkness of her past was shown to him, he maintained his loyalty to her and refused to blame her for the sins of her father. I really liked seeing that, because a lot of books I’ve read where such a secret is revealed tends to have the hero pushing the heroine away at first. Instead we saw the true strength in their relationship through it all. Very inspiring!
I can’t say enough good things about Christi Caldwell, and her books really are ones that should be read by anyone who loves historical romance. They not only bring a lot of history to light but also bring a depth of feeling that is not often portrayed as eloquently as she does. This book could definitely be read without reading prior books, but I would recommend at least reading the first book in this particular series, just so you can have a frame of reference when it comes to the secondary characters.
**Okay, trigger warning time…
I usually don’t mention trigger warnings, but a very sensitive issue is brought up in this book, that of childhood sexual abuse. There were several instances in this group where descriptions of what happened to Ophelia were somewhat graphic in nature, and I had a hard time reading parts of it. For those of you who are triggered by such a topic, please be aware.**
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**