Wow, I do not know where to begin with this book! If you have read the previous Notorious Ladies Of London books, you know of Tilly and a little about her heartache. I have read the entire series and have been impatiently waiting for poor Tilly’s happily ever after! If you have not read this series, don’t worry, it is written not to be lost. Either way, you will not be disappointed in this book.
I am careful because there is a lot that could be spoilers in this book. If this review seems a little vague, I apologize. I would rather it be that way than ruin the surprises. The book is divided up between present (1886) – past – present. There is a large portion of this book that takes place in the past. I was a little concerned because from reading the previous books, I know a little of Tilly’s tragic romance. But having an inkling of an idea and being fully immersed and invested in a breathtaking and heart-wrenching love story are two very different things. Tilly and Adrian fall in love during unbelievably awkward and, at that time, indecent circumstances. Their love story was one of the sweetest I have read. Their connection and passion were off the charts. I knew going in that something terrible occurs, I did not know what. Knowing that gave the couple’s romance such a feeling of urgency.
The present (1886), the second half of the book, took a tragedy to an entirely different level. It was soul-searing to see pure, elemental love turned into raw unadulterated vengeance. This couple fought unbelievable odds to come to their happy forever.
Tilly and Adrian were such tragic figures. Both pushed into a situation, not of their doing. I had never read of two characters that complimented and deserved each other more. They were both victims of a malevolent, tyrannical man. The antagonist, mostly off-page, was diabolical. He was written perfectly. I could feel the fear and suffering this man caused.
In the second half, I had difficulty reading some passages as they were so gut-wrenching. It took my breath away. There was a direct line between love and vengeance. But as we know, “love will out.” Even through the hard times, this couple’s journey was written in an organically loving way.
The plot was all-encompassing. I was swept through the past into the future lives of this couple. The passion between the two was scorching. The action moved well, even through the back story, actually especially then. The plot tackled a somber topic, prisons and prisoner abuse in that era. It was graphic and horrible to read. I was so touched by it; I researched the prison situation myself. It was inexcusable. The prisoners were treated worse than animals; their basic humanity was stripped from them. The author did her homework. The prison situation was described perfectly spot-on.
The best (and probably strangest) way to describe this book is that it is how I would want a Shakespearian tragedy to end—happily! It is horrific what this couple goes through, but they become stronger and more in love. I read the last three chapters and epilogue twice – it was that satisfying!! On a separate note, I can’t wait for Pippa’s story next! This book took my breath away. If you are a long-time follower of this author or a new reader, I highly recommend this book. It is a passionate, loving story of two people who go through unfathomable circumstances to get to healing and love. A love story that I will not forget!
I received this ARC through the author. This is my honest, voluntary opinion.
Fellow readers, this book was amazing! So breathtaking! It is the fifth installment of the Notorious Ladies Of London series. This is one of my favorite authors, as I am sure you already know by now! I tend to shy away from books with much tragedy, but this one was written so carefully and lovingly. I could feel how unique this story was to the author. Another great novel! Do not miss it!