Gently bred Emma Chadwick always assumed she’d live and die the daughter of a gentleman. But when her father’s death reveals a world of staggering debt and dangerous moneylenders, she must risk her good name and put her talent for mathematics to use, taking a position as bookkeeper at London’s most notorious gambling hell. Surrounded by vice and corruption on all sides, it is imperative no one discovers Emma’s shameful secret or her reputation-and her life-will be ruined.
But Roderick Bentley, the hell’s sinfully wealthy owner, awakens a hunger Emma cannot deny. Drawn deep into an underworld of high stakes gambling and reckless overindulgence, she soon discovers that in order to win the love of a ruthless scoundrel, she will have to play the game…and give in to the pleasure of falling from grace.
Rating: 5 stars
This was a great regency romance. It had just enough familiarity to be like sinking myself into a world of fluffy blankets with a hot chocolate in my hand, yet also enough of a twist on the usual genre tropes to keep me turning pages at a fast pace. The story is set less in the usual stately home/locations around the ‘ton’, and far more in a gambling hall and associated offices.
The characters were well realised, and I enjoyed their interactions. I find regency romances endlessly fascinating with their social conventions that contrive to stand in the way of romantic chemistry, but Ms. Sandas makes use of them to create the most delicious anticipation. Of course, in any romance, the story is less ‘will they, won’t they?’ than ‘when will they?’ but this tension is expertly handled, and the love scenes are certainly all the steamier for it.
This is book one in a series and I will definitely watch for the following stories, as well as any other books by the author. I can be fairly choosey with my historical romance authors, but based on this book Ms. Sandas can join my select group of keepers. There were some Americanisms/modern speech patterns but not enough to distract me from the story.
I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley from the publisher in return for an honest review.