by Lillian Marek
Series: Victorian Adventures #2
Pub. Date: Aug. 4, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
From sensible, sheltered girl...
Safe in the embrace of her loving family, Lady Emily Tremaine longs to feel more intensely alive. Surely the magic and mystery of Assyria and the fabled ruins of Nineveh will bring about the transformation she seeks.
To the woman his heart desires...
Scarred by his past and estranged from his noble grandfather, French adventurer Lucien Chambertin desires neither a home nor the chains of emotional attachment. He seeks only to explore the far reaches of the world. But he did not know the world contained the likes of Lady Emily - whose curiosity and sense of wonder match his own.
I have been reading a lot of historicals lately, and this book was a nice departure from the typical historical romance. Although this is technically a Victorian romance, We get out of the ton and the ballrooms and the marriage mart, and have an exciting adventure through Mesopotamia! I have not read the first book of the series - but I did not feel like I was lost at all, so no worries if you are starting out of order like me.
The family dynamic among the Penworth family was very close-knit and loving. Lord and Lady Penworth were very much in love, and they were equal partners in the marriage. This set a wonderful example for their children. In this story, Lady Penworth has convinced her husband to allow herself, Lady Emily and Lady Julia to accompany him on the trip to investigate whether a railroad should be built along the Tigris River. The ladies are all very self-sufficient and mature - they were not dishwater misses acting totally helpless in the face of harsh travel conditions. They even donned the traditional dress of the Turks, Kurds and Arabs so as not to offend or stand out in the foreign society.
It was somewhat kismet that two eligible men ended up traveling with the English party, and the gentlemen both clicked with Emily and Julia. So we got two romances for the price of one! I really enjoyed the romance that slowly and silently built between Julia and Oliphant. They were both such serious creatures, worried about their family and gossip, so it was nice to see them connect with one another. Emily is drawn to Lucien for just the opposite reason, he is playful and full of life and nothing like the boring boys of the ton that Emily is used to courting her. My favorite part of the book was when Julia employed some Arabic curses that Lucien had taught the girls during the journey.
The world building and costume description in this book were very well done. I loved the descriptions of the colors, houses and environments. It was such a nice diversion from flouncy dresses and ballrooms and society scandals. I will definitely read more from this author in the future.
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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