Oh my! I loved this. I adored the intelligent, stubborn Lady Emma Cavensham trying to find justice for her dead friend Lady Lena Eaton.
I was smitten with the damaged the Earl of Somerton, Nicholas St. Mauer who had been alone and rejected from an early age. It was after a terrible encounter with his father at Eaton, that Alex Pembrooke interfered when Nick was being bullied by other students. This later becomes the doorway into to a relationship with Pembrooke and Emma's family.
Rejection by his father, Drake St. Mauer, the Duke of Renton, has put Nick onto the trajectory of desiring to surpass his father’s wealth and to isolate himself from the hurt of meaningful relationships. He has decided to not marry. Nick focuses all his attention on the acquisition of wealth. He engages in trade to do with merchant ships and their cargoes, and purchases ships for new trade routes. Vengeance would be sweet. 'He could taste victory.'
I love the sometimes dim witted (where Emma's concerned), but fiercely loyal men of the Cavensham family. Their presence is a wonderful addition to the story.
Lord Somerton keeps encountering Emma on her forays into what could be dangerous, or at the very least scandalous places, and coming to her rescue, or imposing rescue on her, whichever fits the bill. His thwarting of Emma frustrates her. The repartee they engage in is amusing and invigorating. I loved Emma's thoughts after the first such encounter, When 'his laughter followed her all the way to her carriage. Insufferable cur.'
When Emma is driven to investigate her dearest friend Lena's husband, the despicable, hateful Lord Aulton, to make him pay for Lena's murder its Somerset who keeps rescuing Emma from her own fearlessness. With her brothers and father just a few paces behind.
These rescues ultimately takes a course that is in keeping with the times.
The last scenes left me somewhat teary with happiness.
As far as I'm concerned this is a rare winner in the regency romance stakes, complete with intrigue, interest and wonderful lead characters.
A NetGalley ARC