This is the third book in Darcy Burke’s Pretenders series, but it’s also strongly connected with the world of her Untouchables and Spitfire Society series. Now if you’re a big fan and have read all of these, you’ll undoubtedly recognise all the recurring characters and be delighted to see them again. If you’ve only read intermittently in the series - like me - you may find yourself a little bemused by a rather large cast. Honestly, just keeping track of all the hero’s identities was quite an undertaking; Rafe Bowles, aka Rafe Blackwell, aka The Vicar, aka the long lost heir to the earldom of Stone… it was no wonder Rafe couldn’t always keep track of who knew what about him, exactly, and defaulted to not telling anyone anything unless he absolutely had to, which of course leads to major conflict with his heroine. It’s never good to keep secrets from the woman you’re planning to marry.
When her first fiancé was arrested literally at the altar on their wedding day, Anne Pemberton was left to try and pick up the pieces of a reputation shattered through no fault of her own. She really shouldn’t involve herself with a man who doesn’t seem to have a past, but she can’t seem to safeguard her heart when Rafe is around.
This is a complicated plot with intertwining families and characters who obviously got major storylines of their own in previous books heavily involved. I did enjoy it a lot and I didn’t have any significant difficulty in following along as enough detail was sketched in for me to understand the background. I was fascinated enough by both Selina and Beatrix (who got their stories in the first two books in this series) that I’ll probably pick up those books to read as well if I get the opportunity. Five stars for a great read; Darcy Burke never fails to deliver, but be prepared for an enormous cast you’ll need to expend some brainpower on keeping straight in your mind.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.