After the death of her uncle, widowed Beatrice Poole, and also secret authoress of several popular gothic novels, seeks answers. Not just because he might be murdered, but because the future of her young cousin rests in making a good match. A match which needs a dowry. A dowry which is now in jeopardy with her uncle’s death. In order to save her family, Beatrice must seek out the reclusive Mad Monk of Monksworth, Leo Drake. An expert on ancient antiquities, Leo has no intention on helping Beatrice. Not only has she barged into his home, terrorized his staff, and demanded to see him… but she also stirs something deep inside him. Something he’s reluctant to name. After butting heads, he agrees to help. But the more they grow closer to the truth, the more it threatens to kill them… and also consume their passions.
So… melodrama aside, I really loved this book. For a novel published in 1998, it’s surprisingly modern and fresh and way more progressive than I expected. There were women supporting women. Oodles of sex-positivity. Women having agency over their lives. Sex workers treated with decency and dignity. There’s even several Bechdel test passes and even a Mako Mori test pass. Seriously… it’s better than many more recently written books… I am not going to name names… but my One-star reviews speak for themselves. Beatrice was a fun character. Slightly naïve but not totally. Nothing more than you would expect in an upper class woman of the day. I liked the little touches to her character.
Leo was also fun. Alpha but not to the point of being an a-hole. Strong, but kept getting into scrapes. Protective, but still slightly unsure with how to deal with his emotions. I was pleasantly surprised reading this book, and I’m smiling while writing the review for it. So if you like historical romantic suspense with sensuality and a good mystery. Definitely give this a go. Five stars.
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