Harwell Heirs series, Book Two Lady Sophia is presented to Society on her eighteenth birthday and is unimpressed. Her parents encourage the suit of a duke, a man older than her father! Yet free-spirited Sophia is smitten with her brother's handsome American business partner, who introduces her to sensual delights beyond the bounds of propriety. Seeking investors for his railroad enterprise, Joseph is out of his depth among the British aristocracy. Even worse, he can't keep his hands off Sophia, a beauty far beyond his social class who is betrothed to a duke. When the duke's villainy is revealed Joseph decides to risk all to protect Sophia and he embarks upon a partnership of an entirely unexpected nature. Inside Scoop: Disobedient and excitable Sophia enjoys a bit of disciplinary spanking. Joseph likes to watch when he's not part of the action and has a taste for men as well as women-sometimes both at once. Includes references to the villain's evil: rape, child abuse and violence.
Reviewed By: Laura
Why I Read This Book: Historical settings are a double-edged sword to me. I’m still fairly new to romance books and exploring the dynamics that I like and don’t like, so this seemed like a nice introduction to a period piece. Always a sucker for a strong-headed teenage, female protagonist, I jumped at the chance to read about the untamed American who steals her heart.
What I Liked: There was so much going on all the time! This book really kept my attention with just enough details about the railroad business and society in general without boring me to tears.
The relationships and their dynamics are key in this book. I found myself truly enjoying the friendships just as much as the romantic escapades. And believe me, there were quite a few of both! I love that this book also passed the Bechdel Test, because men weren’t the only subjects these women discussed! So a novel notion.
I must also admit that I liked the variety of encounters depicted in this book. We have several couplings (including one rather shocking ménage and one M/M) to choose from and a plethora of activities that they engage in (voyeurism, back door, romantic).
What I Didn’t Like: I knew going in that there was going to be a truly evil villain but I was still a bit taken aback by just how horrid he was to the women in this book. I believe that there is a line between depicting the atrocious nature of his kind of lechery and crossing over into sensationalizing sexual assault. This book toed that line & then jumped off the cliff with a rather traumatizing garden scene. Honestly, it was real enough to make me take pause, get my heart rate under control, and then skim so I didn’t have to continue reading every gritty detail.
Overall Impression: Despite the despicable acts of the main villain, this was still a pretty good book. I enjoyed reading about English society and trying to figure out why such an evil man was being allowed to skulk about. Truly, the camaraderie between the main cast was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time and I truly was disappointed that it had to end.