I gotta say, I was QUITE surprised by this one!
I initially had reservations about the title as I've never read this author's work, and it just seemed to scream old school regency romance...not my particular cup of tea...BUT....having been intrigued enough by the synopsis/excerpt, I went through with the sign up for the tour, set to feature a review (and giveaway!). Imagine my delight when I found the book anything but predictable, anything but old school (as in Johnny...Sarah...romantic run towards each other prior to ravishing of faces and beyond; though there is ravishing at some point!), anything but what some might call a "bodice ripper". Yes, there is build up. Yes, there are sensual times, flirtatious banter, and even some shock and awe statements tossed about. Yes, there is eventually some "bed time" and the like between consenting adults....but it's not all about that...in fact, it doesn't really occur until the latter part of the book.
What we have here is what happens when war is raged, and leaves its mark. What we have here is what occurs when people want more than their fair share, at the expense of others. What we have here is a prim and proper young lady of the ton with the given name of a warrior queen, and the heart of a champion, wanting nothing more than to take life by the...horns...and make it her own. What we have here is a man who believes himself damaged beyond repair or care, who couldn't be more wrong. What we have here is a group of ladies taking a stand and making room for themselves in a world saturated with men, alongside the men that would be their supporters as they rise above the times. What we have here is a work with heart, heat, passion, and SO MUCH MORE!
All in all, I adored Lady Betsy's fire, both in front and beyond an audience...but even more so when she let the mask fall away and became her true self. I fell in love with Lord Jeremy despite his inner darkness because his true heart was more golden than a gilt framed miniature. I treasured Lady Knowes for her larger than life personality, as well as her expert advice...she truly was a treasure. The cast of characters goes on with many worthy of mention, as well as those that would do better if left under a rock, and despite propriety being overrated at times, they achieve a proper balance, serving to add to the story of a young woman set to live her life on her terms, outside of the shadow of a wayward mother, and with her whole heart.