I immensely enjoyed this unique, thought-provoking, refreshing story. The novel had discerning differences from the regular Regency novel. The book goes from India to a boat to London. I fell in love with the all-encompassing spirit of the story. This book is a love story between two characters who have to go through tragedy and adversity to shape them into brave, confident individuals.
At heart, this was a second-chance, star-crossed lovers story. I loved the characters; they were multifaceted and fascinating. Sarani was a wonderful, spunky character. I loved most her transformational outlook on life. She is caught between two worlds, truly belonging in neither. She fights hatred, prejudice, and ignorance. Although she is often forced to acquiesce to societal dictates, by the end of the book, she finds her voice and power. Rhystan was disillusioned and destroyed by how Sarani handled their doomed love affair in India. He is a stubborn, free spirit thrust into the role of Duke, which he detests. His sense of duty clashes with what is truly in his heart—both Rhystan and Sarani place family and honor over their wants and needs. The couple sees their relationship as untenable due to Sarani’s heritage. Together the couple finds the inner strength to face the injustices and prejudices of the aristocracy. Eventually, Sarani embraces all of herself, and Rhystan discovers that gossip and malevolence are quieted by those who actively choose to ignore ignorance and embrace differences.
The plot was intricate and delivered a well-thought-out love story. The story flowed well; there was a pronounced split in the middle of the book from the journey to the destination. I felt the conclusion was rushed. I would have better enjoyed a more extended section of resolution. Overall I was captivated by this story. It was thought-provoking, romantic, and passionate. The love-hate relationship between the couple was electric. I loved the epilogue. This novel was a well-rounded, exciting read.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book via Netgalley and the Publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This is, as far as I know, a stand-alone novel. I have not found any information regarding a sequel as of yet. This book had a first draft and a different title that was controversial. The author produced a second draft, and that is where I came in. It was a little confusing, not knowing what had changed in the novel. I based my review on what I read. I enjoyed the book. I do dislike when book-long issues are resolved on one page in the last chapter. It unbalances the story. It occurs in this book. However, the excellence of the writing made up for this issue. Sarani was a woman of color thrust into the cruel, narrowed-mined world of Victorian British Aristocracy. I felt her struggles and victories were handled respectfully. I recommend this book; it is a thought-provoking yet fun read.