by Lorraine Heath
Series: Hellions of Havisham #1
Pub. Date: Oct. 27, 2015
Publisher: Avon Books
In the first in a dazzling new series, New York Timesbestselling author Lorraine Heath introduces the Hellions of Havisham—three charismatic rogues destined to lose their hearts...
After six unsuccessful Seasons, Miss Minerva Dodger chooses spinsterhood over fortune-hungry suitors. But thanks to the Nightingale Club, she can at least enjoy one night of pleasure. At that notorious establishment, ladies don masks before choosing a lover. The sinfully handsome Duke of Ashebury is more than willing to satisfy the secretive lady's desires—and draws Minerva into an exquisite, increasingly intimate affair.
A man of remarkable talents, Ashe soon deduces that his bedmate is the unconventional Miss Dodger. Intrigued by her wit and daring, he sets out to woo her in earnest. Yet Minerva refuses to trust him. How to court a woman he has already thoroughly seduced? And how to prove that the passion unleashed in darkness is only the beginning of a lifetime's pleasure?
I'm not sure if this whole series is going to be a spinoff of the Scoundrels of St. James, but this first book involves the daughter of Jack Dodger and Olivia Lovingdon from Between the Devil and Desire. It's been so long since I read that book, that it took me a while to recognize the character crossover. It's not absolutely necessary that you read that book before this one, but it would give you some background on the characters if you did read it.
So Jack and Olivia's only daughter is a headstrong lass named Minerva. She has passed six seasons without finding a husband... and her blunt speech earns her the reputation as a termagant and shrew. I loved Minerva. She was quite sensible, not afraid to voice her opinion, had great ideas for business and investments, and was a good gambler. One of Minerva's quite sensible ideas is that women should not have to deny their urges when men flaunt them so openly, and this idea leaves her to the exclusive and secretive Nightingale Club, where ladies go to seek pleasure.
At the Nightingale Club, Minverva meets the mysterious Duke of Ashebury, one of a group of boys who were orphaned young and raised by a madman. Ashebury is a member of the Nightingale Club, but he never selects a woman more than once. But that is before he meets the intriguing lady in the white mask. I liked Ashebury just as much as Minerva. Though I tend to enjoy those broody heroes with tragic pasts.
This story had everything I most look for in a historical romance - a broody hero, a unique heroine, past tragedy, likable secondary characters, seduction, steam and romance. I am looking forward to reading about the rest of the Havisham Hellions... but I anticipate that Lockley may be my favorite.
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.