I find it quite wonderful that a character speaks to an author in the creative process in the way Michels describes:
'Evie was only supposed to be the beautiful and overly perfect sister in the background of (desperately seeking Suzanna), but there was something about her strained efforts at perfection that spoke to me.
I knew then that I had to write her story'.
I realized that I was glad to have read Evangeline's story
The character of Evie is startling. The secret behind her perfection is both sad and heartfelt.
The depths of her mother's ambition thoroughly obnoxious. A lesser daughter would have crumbled. Evie stands on the brink of allowing that to happen.
Michels demonstrates the entrapped Evie to perfection, her feeling of helplessness, her feelings of blame, and her efforts to transcend the creature she has been bullied into becoming. Her final release from her imprisonment and self-blame is priceless.
Ash, or Lord Crosby, is really Lord Ash Claughbane, whose family became penniless and destitute when their father gambled away everything. Ash made a promise of revenge to his dying mother. A promise he intends to keep. For seven years he has been a con artist, living off his charm and hoaxing folks into giving funds towards his false investment schemes. The latest, a steam engine.
Ash and Evie meet in the darkened library during a ball. Evie catches him ransacking the owner's desk. From there the story evolves with various twists and turns as Ash and Evie are unwisely drawn to each other. Made even more poignant when Ash realizes the object of his revenge is her family. As he struggles between his desire for retribution and his growing feelings for Evie we are drawn even deeper into this Spare Heir's story.
A small aside. I loved Michels use of the term 'mate' that Ash uses with the 'spares'. Unusual I think in historical romances but a great inclusion. I do so appreciate the use of that term, particularly coming from Ash in addressing his fellow 'spares.'
A well rounded excellent addition to the Spare Heirs series.
A NetGalley ARC