Tuesday, September 22, 2015

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

Set in England in 1874-1876, it is the 4th in the Bragg saga and tells 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 marry someone else.

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.

There are references to Nick's past, which is a part of the earlier books in the series, but you won't lose track or find yourself at a loss if you haven’t read them. Like a lot of people of mixed heritage, Nick is stronger for his mixed race...and more handsome. Though Jane was illegitimate, her parents loved each other and she is proud to be their daughter. So each brings some baggage into the relationship. Their 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.

There are some wonderful secondary characters including Thomas the butler, who is there throughout the book. He is priceless.

I highly recommend this one!

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