Nine years ago, Olivia and Thorn met. The attraction was immediate, electrical. They flirted. They kissed. They got caught. When Thorn was “encouraged” to make an offer for Olivia, she turned him down. Not because she didn’t want him, she did. But because he didn’t seem to want her. Olivia believes in love and in chemistry. Thorn doesn’t really believe in anything.
The two meet again… this time in the midst of what may be a murder investigation. Someone seems to have been offing his mother’s husbands, and they just need to prove it. That’s where Olivia comes in, she’s developed a process which should determine if Thorn’s brother’s father had been poisoned. The attraction between them is still there. Still strong. There’s still a spark. Unfortunately, Thorn isn’t the only one interested in Olivia… can she uncover the truth about the mystery and her own heart before the whole thing goes up in flames?
I’ve read the previous two books in this series and loved the pieces out of them. The series arc/mystery of just who is murdering… or possibly murdering… the husbands of the five siblings is very clearly reaching a climax, and I’ve definitely been enjoying the ride. The tension is strong… relevant. While you don’t have to read the first two books in the series, I would strongly recommend it… and if possible track down the anthology featuring the youngest brother Heywood (if you’re a completionist like I am).
As with the last two books, the story features an older heroine than typically graces Regency romances, and I am totally here for it. I love that we’re getting more late twenties/early thirties heroines. It’s refreshing. Olivia is also a really fun heroine. She’s principled and driven. She’s into STEM in a time when women were often discouraged from scholarly pursuits. She knows her stuff and even her thoughts regarding the hero are peppered with chemical knowledge.
Thorn is also very different from the previous two male leads. First off, he’s not nearly as endearing initially… he’s not supposed to be. He’s got some baggage which puts him firmly in the “Hero is not Nice” category. However part of his character arc is him confronting his own prejudices and learning from them. It’s a lovely change of pace. The fact that he’s writing plays that he can’t ever take credit for is amusing. He’s got all of the foibles of being an artist but can’t enjoy any of the perks. Watching Thorn grow into the man who deserved Olivia was a joy to read.
For fans of series, the two previous heroes and heroines are back as the supporting cast. But their reappearance doesn’t take away from the romance of this book. However, I will admit that I didn’t love this book as much as I loved the previous two. It’s a good book, but the other two were amazeballs. It’s kind of hard to compete with them.
That being said, this is a great, light, fun and charming read. I seriously enjoyed reading this, and I’m looking forward to the finale of the series.
Five easy stars.
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I received an ARC via NetGalley