Author: Alexandra Hawkins
Publisher: St. Martins
Source: The Season
Rating: Highly Recommended
The Lords of Vice were not given their nicknames on a whim. In fact, their titles openly air their love of gambling, women and self-satisfaction. Now, the Marquees of Sainthill, also known as Saint - to the Lords of Vice – is one of the few remaining unwed Lords. When Saint unexpectedly falls for Madame Venna, the unthinkable suddenly becomes a reality and Saint finds himself deeply in love with the proprietress of London’s most exclusive brothel.
Madame Venna has a secret. Her former life leads her down a specific path that is full of success. As the owner of The Golden Pearl, Madame Venna lives the life of a wealthy and mysterious business owner, tending to the needs to London’s men. However, outside the walls of the notorious brothel, Madame lives another life, hidden from all those who know her as Madame Venna – or so she thinks. When Madame breaks her cardinal rule and falls in love, her walls are slowly torn down, threatening to expose her secrets and ruin her carefully constructed life.
I greatly enjoyed this romance. There is a little bit of mystery to the story, though the reader knows it all. The characters, however, are discovering the secrets bit by bit, while falling deeper in love with each passing day. Saint and the other Lords of Vice are well developed, well built upon characters. Those who follow the series are enabled to sit back and fall into the story as if they were meeting up with old friends. The characters are comfortable around each other and it shows. They give meaning to the phrase “Friends are the family you choose.” In addition, the author has found wonderful supporting characters for each Lord, Madame Venna is no different. She is the perfect pick for the Marquees of Sainthill, who would be quite bored without the intrigue of this woman and her mysterious background.
The story is not without its flaws. There were a few parts that were left unaddressed in the end, though they are minor and did not stick with me for long. For the most part this story kept me turning the pages at a steady pace, I found very few areas that didn’t grab and hold my attention.
On the upside this romance is full of heat. The passion between these two is electrifying. It’s visible even when they are not together, which adds to the story in many ways. Though the story isn’t my favorite in the series, it is highly entertaining and addictive. Hawkins writes in such a way that demands the reader’s attention and holds it effortlessly. I would recommend this book as well as the series to others. It’s definitely worth the read and delivers the unexpected. I’m positive this is the first Marquees and Brothel proprietress romance I’ve read.