Once Upon a Temptingly Ruinous Kiss (The Whickertons in Love #2)


Lady Leonora, daughter to the Earl of Whickerton, prefers to study the people around her, and is determined to record her observations wherever she goes. Unfortunately, her trust is shattered when one fateful masquerade ball leaves her haunted by the image of a masked man - and without her notebook. Drake Shaw, Marquess of Pemberton, cannot forget the horrible night he discovered the truth about his parents. Seeking to right past wrongs, he punishes those who would raise a hand against those they should protect. As a result, he develops a keen eye for the victims around him, and recognizes within their first meeting that Lady Leonora has been hurt. Intrigued by her determination and bravery so interwoven with her fear and vulnerability, Drake immediately offers her his assistance, but to aid Leonora, Drake will need to offer more than revenge.

A story well ahead of its time, this story addresses trauma from both the perspectives of the victim and that of a family member, wrapped up in a Regency setting. The second in the series it does intertwine some with the previous and following books making it best read in order, but the cast of characters and the plot threads do build the story up to a satisfying conclusion, focusing in part on the romance, and mostly on Leonora’s strength and Drake’s need for self-forgiveness. Although the actions taken by the characters to heal from their trauma does not easily fit within the rigid societal standards of the time period, and Leonora’s big monologue feels a bit forced, readers looking for a strong heroine and a survivor’s triumph will find plenty to enjoy here!

Sarah E Bradley