Sunday, September 7, 2014

New Review: Brenda Joyce’s DARK FIRES - Superb Victorian Bodice Ripper

This is another truly superb romance by Brenda Joyce.

Set in England in 1874-1876, it is the story of Nicholas Bragg, Lord Shelton, Earl of Dragmore, aka the Lord of Darkness (so called by all of London after the rumors he murdered his wife). He is an American, raised in wild Texas, with a mysterious past, who is living on his 25,000 acre estate outside of London. One day, delivered to his door is Jane Weston, the 17-year-old illegitimate daughter of an actress and the son of the Duke of Clarendon, his dead wife's grandfather. The girl is his ward, a ward he didn't know he had, a ward he doesn’t want.

Instantly attracted to the beautiful young blonde, and aware she is becoming infatuated with him, Nick decides if he's to resist her, he must take her to London and find her a husband. Of course that won't be easy as he is infamous, shunned by the ton and Jane was born on the wrong side of the blanket. Not to mention he doesn't really want her to wed.

Once in London, their attraction finds its finish and then everything goes to hell in a hand basket, so to speak. Ah, but the telling of it is just superb. I couldn't put it down.

This is the 4th in the Bragg series, but you can read it as a stand alone. There are references to Nick's past, which is a part of the earlier books, but you won't lose track or find yourself at a loss. Like a lot of people of mixed heritage, Nick is stronger for it...and more handsome. Though Jane was illegitimate, her parents loved each other and she is proud to be their daughter.

One of the secondary characters with only a small speaking part is priceless...Thomas the butler, who is there throughout the book. Unlike some romances, the conflict here comes across very naturally from the circumstances, very believable. It's a story of two people deeply in love but fighting it all the way.

I highly recommend this one!

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