Durbin’s occasionally repetitive phrases and situations, particularly in character descriptions, could pull readers away from the story. The broadly sketched characters transcend stereotypical historical romance tropes, delving into little-discussed elements of the time and place. Readers will catch an intriguing glimpse into some of the effects of British colonialism and the power wielded by the wealthy through Charles and Julia’s respective histories and scandals.
Durbin’s strong focus on the effects of domestic violence, the plight of women during the period, and Julia’s celebration of her sexuality without being constrained by societal mores breathes new life into the usual fare, adding depth and novelty to what might otherwise be a boilerplate tale. Julia and Charles have passions other than each other: hers is for helping women in difficult circumstances and his, as a man of the cloth, is tending to his flock of faithful despite the sins of his own past. The complex and nuanced interplay between these two characters makes for a powerful love story.
Takeaway: This richly described love story focuses on passion and second chances, offering a refreshing take on the traditional historical romance.
Great for fans of: Georgette Heyer, Courtney Milan.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A