I really enjoy Meredith Duran and this series. I’ve read all the books in the series except one. One of the reasons that I really love Duran is that not only are her hero’s usually anti-heroes but many times so are her heroines.
The hero in this story Crispin Burke is the perfect anti-hero. He is ruthless. The second son and the least favorite, Crispin is a very skilled manipulator and he is very ambitious. He is looking to become Prime Minister and won’t let anyone or anything stand in his way. Crispin knows how to pull strings and has many of the members of Parliament eating out of his hand.
As Jane Mason’s luck would have it her guardian and also Uncle is “friends” with Crispin. Jane can’t figure out who is the worst of the two since in her eyes, they are one and the same. Jane’s father earned much of his money in a very fortunate business venture. Her uncle felt that her father cheated him out of money that he was due. When Jane is left under his guardianship when she is orphaned Jane is basically a hostage. Her uncle has plans for both Jane and her wealth. He plans to have Jane marry his son and thus have control over all her wealth. Through a series of events Crispin is attacked and almost left to die. Jane finds herself desperate and does something she never would have dreamed… she obtains a marriage certificate for her and Crispin. Jane’s luck turns when Crispin ends up living and now she has a very much alive husband.
First, I love the plot. Duran always pulls the heroine into a dilemma. Many of her heroines are always smart and crafty. Jane is definitely smart but she is burdened with guilt when Crispin loses his memory. She is ready to flee but she can’t until her funds are finally released to her. Jane keeps expecting the old power lusting Crispin to appear and regain his memory. When both their feelings turn into just a marriage Crispin is faced with his old self and his new self. Jane is also faced with the reality that her marriage although her salvation might also be the exact opposite. I loved the complexity of both these characters. The more layers that peeled off Crispin the more I empathized with him. I loved the romance between them. My one little complaint is that at times the new Crispin seemed such an opposite to the old one and also that the big moment when he regained his memory was not as dramatic as I had expected. Also, I thought that at times the chemistry between them was very neutral and they had more chemistry before he lost his memory. Nonetheless, this is another great Duran read. It was interesting and intense, although at times very weighed by historical facts and less of plot, I wanted to see how Crispin and Jane finally found themselves. I’m not sure if we get another book in this series but I’m hoping we get to see more of Charlotte.