Lord of the Masquerade by Erica Ridley
Though this is the seventh in the Rogues to Riches series, I don’t think you need to have read the others to enjoy this - I haven’t read any of them, and I had no problem following along with the plot.
Unity Thorne might be one of the most driven romance heroines I’ve ever read. She knows she’s a capable businesswoman; she’s already helped create turn around two struggling businesses and make them wildly successful. Problem was, neither of them was hers… and the men running them weren’t inclined to cut her in on the profits, so she’s back to square one. Just hungrier and angrier and more determined than ever. Her plan; create a masquerade club for the merchant class. But first she needs to check out the most successful masquerade club in London, the elite one run by the Duke of Lambley. If she can get in!
Julian might just be the most OCD hero I’ve ever read. He takes being a control freak to a whole new level. Even the suggestion that something about his masquerade might be able to be improved upon is insultingly preposterous. It’s just that there’s something about the woman making the suggestions he can’t quite look away from.
There is some A-grade banter between these two, and I enjoyed the acknowledgement of London’s diversity in the era; the Black community to which Unity belongs is some 20,000 strong. This, however, is also where the story fell down a little bit for me, because despite this acknowledgement, and despite Unity thinking herself at a greater disadvantage due to her race, not one single person actually treated her any differently than if she had been a white woman. It’s diversity Bridgerton style. Which. I mean. It’s worked for Bridgerton. But if you want to read stories which more represent the real experiences of Black women in the Regency era, you might want to try Vanessa Riley or another Black author instead. WIth that said, of course, we are already suspending our belief in this Regency of young and handsome dukes willing to marry women from far outside their social spheres, so if you’re able to let it go and just enjoy the story, I think you’ll have a thoroughly good time. I did, despite the issue I’ve mentioned; Erica Ridley writes a ripping good yarn and this one is no exception. I’m happy to give it five stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.