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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Monday, February 26, 2018

"What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder" (Mark10:9 KJV)

Sins of Lord Lockwood (Rules for the Reckless #6) 
by Meredith Duran

Something Anna later says reminded me of this biblical quote...and a man did indeed intervene to tear apart Anna and Liam in this fabulous new work from Meredith Duran.  A sizzling romance with a tortured hero and a wildly independent Scottish Lady, Anna, Countess of Firth and a wealthy woman.
When Anna's husband, Liam Devaliant, fifth Earl of Lockwood, disappeared after an argument on the eve of their wedding trip, she was alarmed and distressed but underneath, not surprised. After all the story of her life has been one of abandonment. That night their ship sailed without them both along with Anna's heart which would never be the same. 
Anna leaves for her Scottish island, Hawsey her haven of safety. From here she conducts her own businesses and oversees her husband's vast estates.
Four years on Anna goes to London. Hawsey is under threat. What Anna finds is her husband in residence in the London house with some seiously strange inhabitants posing as servants.
As we discover, and Anna at a later date, Liam's disappearance was not abandonment but abduction. He was taken and smuggled away from England as part of a Transportation scam. "Rich men paid...to dispatch their enemies, [and] sent to serve as slaves at Elland.” These unscrupulous persons paid to have someone disappeared from their life and transported to the New South Wales colony. A further development was that some convicts and abductees would then be siphoned off to an illegal migration mining venture. A hell hole in a continent that at time was full of hell holes of varying natures.
Liam and his men survived. Now the perpetrators are being tracked and Anna's sudden return has put her in danger. Liam's plans for revenge could be seriously undermined.
A tortured soul, Liam finds it impossible to reveal his true self to anyone, including Anna. Anna throws down the gauntlet and declares she wants an heir. Their efforts will take place in darkness. Liam doesn't want to show his scars, figuratively and literally. It seems these two find satisfaction in the marital bed and for Anna this is both a revelation and reminder of all that was taken from her with Liam's abduction.
I love Anna when she realizes what really happened to Liam, and that not only was he cruelly treated but she was punished too.  Four years of her life, her dreams were lost to her by the monstrous events and the monster responsible. As she says to Liam, "I am your wife. Whoever took you, took you from me. It is entirely my concern.” They had indeed been pulled "asunder" by man! 
The action jumps between 1861 at the time of Anna and Liam's courtship and marriage to the present. This seamlessly gives us the background and knowledge to the current state of affairs.
Broken love, mystery, death and healing relationships are all part and parcel, of this sixth entry in the Rules for the Reckless series.
A hearty, anguished read with moments of humor and delight. Victorian Noir at its best!

A NetGalley ARC


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