When courtesan Sophia Martin returns to the village she fled as a young woman, she knows it won’t be a happy reunion–but she can’t refuse her brother’s request to attend his expectant wife. Trapped until the baby arrives, she must navigate the social rift she caused when she left to pursue a disreputable life–and keep the true reason for her departure from the man she once loved, the bastard son of the Duke who ruined her.
Blake Vale has never forgotten Sophia, but he can’t accept the decisions she made, the courtesan’s life she leads, or the fact she’s cast aside her true self. Plain old Sophia has to be inside this hardened woman somewhere, and he’s determined to make her see she doesn’t need rich men to be happy, and that their future has nothing to do with the past.
When the dukedom suddenly falls within his reach, Blake must come to terms with his own past and his birthright, and what that means for his future…and Sophia.
I was torn on this book when it came to rating it, while there is a heroine that I liked there is a hero that I wanted to strangle so many times and just scream. It turns out that having a heroine I liked and admired weighed more favorably that I had expected. The writing was very enjoyable but the hero just pissed me off to no end.
Sophia (Sophie) is sucking up her misgivings and heading back to her childhood haunts. She left there under horrible circumstances and never revealed the truth to any of the men that adored her due to fear and concern for their own futures. She’s made some decisions that others may not agree with but she is surviving in a time when women were nothing more than property to many families. She’s tired of playing the game but is also afraid of what her future might hold when she comes home to be there for her brother when his wife gives birth. People judge her based purely on her being a courtesan but she is so much more than just that label which she proves through the course of the book. I loved how strong she was able to appear no matter what was thrown at her and that she stood up for herself when it was needed even if all she wanted to do was curl up and hide. She’s vulnerable but as you see more of the hell she went through due to her father you learn that this is a woman who really does need to be able to let someone else carry her and be her helpmate for the rest of her life.
Blake.. now this is where I had major problems and wanted to reach in to my Kindle to hurt someone. He’s so hurt by what he sees as the betrayal of the love of his life that he can’t see the truth staring him in the face. I mean there are huge signs that something major happened to her in her past but he is so blinded to what he sees as her gold digging ways that he doesn’t listen when she does actually try to talk to him. He just says so many things to cut her to the quick and while he does seem to regret them as soon as they are uttered he just keeps doing it over and over again. It takes him getting the truth from his half-brother and her brother to finally realize how wrong he has been but he still seems to not completely accept her past even though he claims to love her.
I have to say my hope is the note from the author did prove to be the way their lives went in the future as I believe that Sophia really deserves her HEA after all the hell that she was put through. I really do hope that Blake became worthy of her and treated her with the respect and love she deserves but felt a bit sad by Blake being so damn stubborn. This was a good read if you can overlook some of his behavior. I really enjoyed it and will keep an eye out for more by the author as her writing was interesting even with my feelings towards Blake.
Thanks to NetGalley.com and Carina Press for the chance to read this early in exchange for my honest review. As always with Carina Press titles, if you find this one interesting please head out to their site via the link on my sidebar for it and other fun titles.