Consummate rake Lord Sheridan Zouche is no stranger to scandal. But when his family banishes him as a bad influence until he vows to marry, he inexplicably chooses the one woman he cannot seduce: an Englishwoman born and raised in India, who has been sent home against her will to find a husband.
Arcadia Parks wants nothing more than to return to the peaceful hills of Hyderabad, far from the contrivances and strange moral strictures of the ton. But her aunt is insisting she wed, so she can’t turn down Sheri’s unexpected proposal of convenience. They’ll marry for one year—and consummate the union just once to make it official—after which time he’ll help her return to India.
Alas, the best-laid plans sometimes go awry. Will Sheridan be able to give up the woman staking claim on his heart? And will Arcadia see through to the sensitive heart lurking beneath his glib facade?
Fans of Judith Ivory and Cecilia Grant won’t want to miss this highly anticipated story!
Review: The book is set in London in the early 1800’s and although it’s book three in the series I didn’t feel lost not having read the first two books. Arcadia and Sheridan should have nothing in common when they meet under not the best circumstances – she’s just been robbed – but they have immediate chemistry. As their paths continue to cross, much to the chagrin of her aunt whom is now her guardian after her father’s death in India, their friendship and desire for one another continues to grow and they find much to agree on. Arcadia is an innocent, never been kissed, who has lived in India all her life although English. She traveled with her companion whom she has known since birth, Poorvaja or her ayah from India to England. India is reminisced about fondly by both Arcadia and her anya and I can visualize the lands, the people, the food and the smells.
Sheri, as he’s known by his friends, is a womanizer who has no problem bedding married women but he knows Arcadia is different. His brother bans him from his home and his family including his twin nephews since he’s already a bad influence on them. There are friends and family, fears, innocence, displeasure, deceit, tears, anger, happiness, balls, society’s norms and love. There are some unexpected twists to the story as Arcadia and Poorvaja navigate through a new land, meeting new people and learning new things and it’s not always good. The characters are multifaceted and Arcadia sees the good in Sheri that others never have. As they get closer they also are further apart due to an agreement they made to help each other out in order to get back in the good graces of their families. Sheri tries to be a better person whenever he is around Arcadia but doesn’t know if it’s worth it in the end especially since his reputation is so well known and he doesn’t think he’ll be believed. The epilogue gives nice closure but doesn’t go far enough especially if this is the last book in the series. There are several happily ever afters in the offing but there seems to be more story to tell. There are many Indian words that were difficult to understand and a glossary of terms would have been helpful.
Boyce is a new to me author. I do plan to read the first two books in the series, Honor Among Thieves and Truth Within Dreams to get to know the characters better as well as some of the back story. I will be adding other books written by Boyce to my always growing TBR pile.
Favorite Quote: Why did you kiss me like I was precious to you? she wanted to ask. Why did you introduce me with such pride...