After the man who’s been courting her jilts her for another, Lady Eleanor Murray has earned the moniker of the ice queen in the gossip rags. And due to dwindling funds, Eleanor must secure a husband by the end of the season. And ice queens do not land husbands. So she and her mother turn to a desperate plan, accept tutelage from a well-known courtesan called Lottie. Newly minted duke Charles Pemberton will do anything for his childhood friend Lottie even if that means helping the daughter of his sworn enemy become a defrosting ice queen. Charles has no interest in love or marriage, but he can’t stop himself from becoming attracted to the lovely lady Eleanor. But he can’t let his attraction distract him from his quest to find the treasure that eluded his father, a majestic ruby known as the coeur de feu. Caught between love and adventure, Eleanor and Charles must decide which will prevail.
I read the second book of the series before I read this book and I loved that book so much that it was the best book that I read in 2020. This book is right up there. It features a defrosting ice queen, a duke caught between desire and duty, a treasure hunt, a missing earl, and a rapidly approaching deadline. Full of intriguing characters including Eleanor who has been raised her whole life not to give into her emotions and now that she is seeking a husband has found that her unflappable demeanor is off-putting. While Charles is kind and truly honest about things, he is not a beta hero, not at all, but he isn’t fully an alpha hero either. Frankly, this is the kind of romance hero that we need right now. He’s gentle and considerate and passionate and determined, he’s stubborn and intelligent, the kind of hero that everybody wants and the kind of hero that gives the heart what we need. Yes, I loved him.
The secondary characters were well done particularly, Thomas, Charles's valet, and of course the cord is on Lottie herself. But I also found Eleanor‘s mother interesting and highly complex for a secondary character. The antagonists are well done and not immediately obvious so I won’t name them here. But let’s just say the ending was telegraphed well and the hints were there if you noticed them. Ultimately I truly enjoyed this book, it was a lovely read. Five stars
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