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imageIsolated by life and choice, John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, sees an angel in a pale mauve dress across a room and is drawn closer as lust grips firm and hard in his stomach.

The wheat-blonde hair escaping her dull dove-grey bonnet and caressing her neck lures his eyes to a spot he’d like to kiss.

She speaks with animation her hands moving. Then as if she senses his gaze the stranger turns and looks at him.

A rush of pain and longing spilled from Katherine’s heart into her limbs. It was so long since she’d seen John but her reaction was the same as it had been more than half-a-dozen years before. She loved him, secretly, without hope, but a chasm of years and status stood between them.

John has A LOT of baggage left over from his childhood. And since this is the first of Lark’s books that I’ve read, I’m not sure how much detail was provided for those issues in a previous book. I know that his mother’s story was told in The Illicit Love of a Courtesan and that some of the events of her life play a part in both this story and John’s troubles. I’m guessing that some of it is in her book, I’m just not sure how much.

Given that, and the fact that I’ve only read this one, I think that a little more about John’s treatment by his grandfather would have helped. There’s a lot about the “monster” his grandfather created and how John isn’t sure that he actually has feelings, some talk about beatings and such, but I would have really liked to have had more specifics. That sounds bad, I don’t want to know about his abuse but if it is going to play such a big role in his development then I would have liked to have more to go on so that I can get a better understanding of why he is the way he is.

But even without that, I was drawn to John and Katherine. Their relationship is proof that love knows no bounds – she’s loved him forever and she’s the only one that can remind John that he has a heart. He makes a lot of mistakes but they go back to his baggage (and one of the reasons I would have loved to have more on his childhood) and she’s amazingly forgiving. But once he finally lets himself go it has the promise of a beautiful future.