This was my first Julia London book and I can’t say it will be my last, but I was disappointed by the execution of this romance. Immediately I was intrigued by a heroine in her 30s and a hero in his 40s. I enjoy reading about mature main characters especially historical romance.
Our hero, Hamlin, a mysterious or “dark” duke as he was described many times is rumored to have killed his first wife. Catriona or Cat is an independent and strong minded woman with a passion for helping prostitutes and displaced single mothers. Hamlin is a beta hero to the extreme. He is often steamrolled by the people in his life and comes across as weak and indecisive. Cat is a better character but her strong will and constant laughter (I swear the woman laughed more than she talked) were buried in this story.
There were too many subplots and erroneous characters detracting from the Cat and Hamlin’s relationship. At the beginning of the book we meet Cat’s large and extended family who we never discuss again besides her mother and her aunt. She spends the majority of the book at the worst house party ever. With the sole exception in her jovial uncle, the cast of supporting characters lends almost nothing to the plot and seemed like page fillers. Along with that, the supporting characters were awful people. I had no interest in reading about them.
Off the top of my head, there were 4-5 subplots throughout the novel. Many of them were relatively unexplored or too simplistically solved for the amount of attention that was paid to them. My head was spinning trying to keep track of the people and problems Cat and Hamlin were dealing with.
Overall, I think the writing was good and as I mentioned I liked the mature ages. Hamlin and Cat were low-drama characters emotionally and their love story made sense to me. Hopefully the next book in this series is a little more focused.
**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**