My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Regency Romance
Book Description: With devastating scars in her past, Serena Winthrop is sure no man can be trusted—especially not men like the far-too-smooth Viscount Charmichael. His reputation as a charmer and a gambler is everything she despises. And the young artist makes sure that this disreputable heir to an Earldom knows of her deep disapproval whenever they encounter one another.
Henry, Lord Carmichael, is perfectly aware of his charms to the women of the ton. He's gambled with plenty of their hearts as easily as he does their husband's money—it's all in good fun to him. But lately he's been wondering if there's more to life—and confronting the idea that his actions might not prove worthy of the admirable wives his friends have found.
When Serena's brother-in-law asks his best friend to protect his young ward, Henry promises to be on his best behavior and not woo her. But the more he learns of her, the more he realizes she might be his best reason for changing his character. Then the lady's art leads her to London infamy. Now Henry must choose between the life mapped out for him as the Earl apparent, and the love of his life. And Serena's secret may mean the end of his titled family line.
The second in a new series by internationally popular author Carolyn Miller is full of the same rich historical detail and evocative writing that readers enjoyed, and familiar characters make appearances here. The witty banter will continue to draw in fans of Jane Austen, Sarah Ladd, and Julie Klassen.
My thoughts: Miss Serena has a secret... but I haven't determined what exactly the secret is. It could be one of a few things. One of them wouldn't be horrendous in our day, but it would have ruined her in the Regency Era. She is a wonderful artist, who is not a man and very young? She has feelings for a man she deems as inappropriate or she has problems with her monthly cycle? For us today, any or all of the above would not be tragic. (All of these issues are openly presented to the reader, so I don't know how big of a spoiler my mentioning them is.)
Overall, I found this book as a fun one to read. Serena has a hard time letting anyone in to her "bubble." She prefers to be with her art, but for a time, she even looses her interest in that. Her family is mostly supportive and help her through a nightmare for a young woman. Her trust in people has been lost due to a couple of circumstances she was a victim of.
Harry has a lot to overcome in this story. He has been a gambler and gave his "affections" too freely. His story is about learning the error of his ways and finding redemption. He realizes that he is not the man that he wants to be. His change has Christian themes. It is nice to be reminded that people can find redemption and forgiveness.
There were a few time when I felt that this book lagged a bit in pacing. It didn't keep me from turning the pages and finding enjoyment in the story. In fact, I can't wait to read the third. I have yet to read the first, but I have purchased a copy!
This book contains Christian content, mention of past physical relations, a man taking unwanted liberties with an innocent young women, and the evils of gambling addiction.
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About the Author: (Taken from Goodreads) Carolyn Miller lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn's previous novels have won several contests, including the 2014 RWA "Touched by Love" and 2014 ACFW Gensis contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy.