Liliah Durary is the beautiful, wealthy daughter of a duke. She could marry anyone she wanted - except her father has autocratically decreed she marry her best friend, Meyer. Which might not be so bad, except that Meyer is in love with her other best friend, Rebecca. Meyer’s father has cut some sort of secret deal with the duke, and all three friends are set to have their lives ruined as a result.
Before Liliah marries, though, she wants some adventure. Sneaking into an exclusive club - so exclusive, few even know it exists - and masquerading as a courtesan for one night fits the bill. Until she is caught, by the club’s owner, Lucas Mayfield, the Earl of Heightford. Lucas lives in the shadows by choice, but intrigued by Liliah and her quiet desperation, he reinserts himself into London society in order to find out more about her.
This is the first in a new series, with the second to feature Liliah’s sister Samantha. We didn’t get to know Samantha particularly well here, and she didn’t get a face to face with the character I suspect will be her love interest, but there was enough there to have me intrigued, particularly considering how much I enjoyed this.
A lot of historical romances focus on the lack of choices and opportunities for women from the lower classes, but in some ways those from the upper echelons were even more constrained. A duke had such power and influence that Liliah had literally no ability to defy him. Even with Lucas’ help, she was only able to do so because Lucas had a bargaining chip he could hold over her father… and no reputation left to ruin.
I really enjoyed the friendship between Liliah, Rebecca and Meyer. No matter what happened, they were determined to stick together and keep fighting, and Liliah’s unwavering loyalty to her friends and dedication to their happiness, no matter the personal cost to her, was inspiring. It was no wonder she fascinated Lucas, who had undoubtedly never met a woman of such character and strength of will.
Five stars for an excellent first installment in a series!
Falling From His Grace is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.