ARC Review | Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues
Genre: Historical Romance
Publication Date: February 26th, 2019
ARC from Edelweiss

A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.

Delilah Swanpool, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?

| Book Review |

Lady Derring Takes a Lover kicks off Julie Anne Long’s newest historical romance series, The Palace of Rogues. I’ve only read one book from this author previously, and it was a five star read for me. To say my expectations were high for this book would be accurate. Did it meet them? Eh…kind of. I went on a mini historical binge for a little bit, and the first two books, I adored. They were near perfect reads for me. Then the next two hit, and I was left underwhelmed. I couldn’t help but examine the differences between the first two and second two, and here’s what I found. I am a fan of a heroine who may have been burned and while it has maybe made them more cautious about men, it hasn’t left them bitter. They’re open to finding love again even if it takes a bit for them to come around to that; they aren’t jaded and comparing every single man to the one who treated them badly. Now I want to say that I do understand why women feel this way, and of course it’s justified. It’s just not something I find appealing in a heroine. Having said that, I am more forgiving of this in an historical romance, because particularly with a heroine’s first marriage, they don’t get a choice in who they marry. Anyway…tangent over.

Aside from a single building in a seedy part of London, Delilah’s recently deceased husband has left her without a cent. So she has no choice but to pack her meager belongings and take up residence in the building, getting the idea of fixing it up to rent out rooms as a way of making ends meet. Not only was this such a fun part of the book, but the women Delilah is surrounded by – a ‘found’ family of a servant who was a ‘jane of all trades, but master of none’ and her husband’s mistress – were the highlights. These women have wonderful chemistry, and I found their relationships to be so realistic. I like that we get to see the frustrations, snippiness, and then the contrition that all happens within their relationships. And despite the fact that Angelina is the kind of heroine I don’t necessarily love writing about, I found her story as Delilah’s husband’s mistress to be compelling, and I am looking forward to her story. The end of this one definitely hooked me for hers. As for our hero, Captain Tristan Hardy, I did like him. He was a decent guy trying to do a good job, I just found his character to be a bit underdeveloped. I didn’t find his personality to be indicative of the events of his life, and I found the chemistry between him and Delilah to be lacking. Their banter could be fun at times, but it all felt surface to me. It was as underdeveloped as Tristan’s character, and it left me wanting more. I will say that there was a huge gesture at the end from Tristan that was so very thoughtful. It showed how much Tristan listened to Delilah and how sweet he was, and it hit Delilah straight in the heart. I love that he did that for her and what it meant for her future. He essentially gave her the independence she craved, even at the risk of never having her. So swoony! There was also a mystery here that I found to be quite predictable, but it since it wasn’t really the central part of the story, that didn’t really bother me. Also, there were even more characters that were guests at ‘The Palace,’ and they were, like the others, so much fun to read about. The way Delilah tried to make everyone family was so sweet, and it just made the story so enjoyable, and I love the way they became friends, even if they did things to get on each other’s nerves. I’m hoping to see more of this in subsequent books.

Overall, I did think that Lady Derring Takes a Lover was a nice read, just not for the reasons I expected. The romance may have been lacking, but everything else was fun to read about, and it made sure I’ll be coming back for more of this series.

| Rating |

Series Reading Order

8 thoughts on “ARC Review | Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Add yours

  1. I get what you’re saying about not wanting to read about bitterness when you’re reading to escape life’s uglies. LOL Ah, too bad about the underdeveloped aspects because it does sound like a unique one in ways with the dockside building and tenants and the widow and mistress teaming up. Hope the mistress’ book is a good one for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always find it interesting when I realize what my issue is with a book or genre. Overall, this one sounds kind of fun. I couldn’t imagine the wife and mistress becoming friends and would curious to read that.

    Liked by 1 person

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