Book three in the Carte Blanche Series
He needs her to believe in him a lot more than she needs his protection...
In the wake of a devastating epidemic, sheltered Emily Eliot finds herself alone, making her own decisions for the first time. When desperation leads her to sell her virtue, she walks straight into trouble.
Enter one gorgeous, golden haired gentleman bent on protecting her.
Alexander Dalton came to the Blue Duck Tavern seeking to lose himself in sexual pleasure. But when he saw the delicate and vulnerable young woman, he couldn’t turn away.
Emily is alarmed by her own intense responses as this charismatic and carnal man introduces her to erotic pleasure. Having lived as a virtual prisoner of her grandmother’s suffocating manipulation, Emily bridles under Alex’s possessive, protectiveness. And Alex’s charming smile hides a dark secret that could destroy their chance at happiness.
Will their passion burn them up or bring them together?
I’ve said this before about certain authors and I mean it just as sincerely this time—some people are just born to write and Ms Blackthorne is one of them. Her style and voice are exquisite—some may think that a rather lofty word, but you’ll know exactly what I mean when you pick up this book. I haven’t read any of her other works but plan to now. I’m so incredibly lucky in now having 3 favourite historical authors on my list, and all of them have hit the top spot here with The Golden Nib Award.
Ms Blackthorne’s attention to detail, right down to how she uses certain words and phrases, pleased me. To know she has so obviously researched and studied made me feel that she values giving her readers a close-to-exact representation of the era as she can. Superb images, wonderful emotions stirred, and a wish that I’d read this book in one sitting instead of sleep so rudely demanding I visit the Land of Nod. I didn’t want to go there, damn it, and each night this week I’ve fallen asleep with my ereader in hand because I didn’t want to give in and actually put it down and admit I couldn’t stay awake to read more. But I would have done if I could. I wish I’d managed an all-nighter.
The characters are well-rounded, very well explored, and their emotions were displayed so that I never had to wonder how they were feeling. Ms Blackthorne covered all her bases, and again I was grateful. This is a very emotion-laden tale—perfectly so—where I was drawn in, sucked under, and wandered through that time and their lives as though I belonged there and was one of them. The characters became important to me, were my friends, and that, I feel, is down to the mark of a truly exceptionally talented writer.
Emily has suffered with and survived the fever. It’s made her thinner than usual but no less feisty. She knows what she wants after being made to live how her grandmother thought she should—sheltered, away from society for the most part—away from people in general. She’s been schooled so isn’t your average historical heroine, and she’s ready to break free and try her real self on for size and see if she likes how it fits. Forced into making her own money, she goes to the Blue Duck and offers herself as an employee—and it wouldn’t be just waiting tables. She’s prepared to give herself in the most private way if it means keeping a roof over her head and getting her precious book that she’s been working so hard on, published.
There, she comes face to face with a nasty piece of work in the form of a ghastly male who accuses her of stealing his money. She hadn’t, but our gorgeous hero, Alexander, steps up to fight for her. Their paths are set, destiny taking things out of their hands, and they embark on an affair. This is as far as I will go in revealing plot—it’s too good a book for me to spoil it. Read it for yourself.
I would, however, like to talk about Alex. He’s got skeletons in his closet preventing him from fully letting go and loving Emily in the way he wants to—and God, he wants to. Those skeletons, though, they dance, jangling their bones every time he gets too close to her, and he pulls back, reminding himself of why he can’t be with her. I hoped there wouldn’t be some big hoohar about those skeletons only to find they weren’t anything much at all, and I wasn’t disappointed. I understood his reasoning of why he couldn’t open his heart and felt very sorry for him over it. He is adorable, and watching his internal struggle was both heart wrenching and pleasurable in a perverse kind of way. I wanted him to get over things, to give Emily a proper chance, and even though I knew they would get together in the end, there was a part of me that stood on the will-they-won’t-they tightrope and feared I’d fall off, devastated that they didn’t get their happy-ever-after. But all good things come to those who wait, and I was prepared to wait as long as it took to get my HEA fix.
Best Bits: The whole damn book. Every single lush word, scene, character and emotion they inspired.
Verdict: This has honestly been one of the best historical books I’ve read. It’s no secret that I love reading this genre and when I discover a true talent in this area I love to shout about it, so get your ear plugs in if you have sensitive eardrums because I’m about to roar.
NATASHA BLACKTHORNE ROCKS! BUY HER BOOKS NOW, YOU HEAR ME?