Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca Pages: 384
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
AN EXPLORER LOST...To the East India Company, he's the ideal explorer: unwed, uncomplaining, strong as an ox and profitable. There's nothing Seth Mayhew can’t find—until his sister disappears en route to India. The expedition is the first he fears he may fail, until he discovers a valuable, and irresistible, ally sailing on the same ship to Bombay.
A LADY FOUND...But Wilhelmina Adams is on an expedition of her own—for a husband. With six sisters, no dowry and no marriage prospects in her Derbyshire village, Bombay promises a husband and security. But assisting a dangerously distracting explorer won’t improve her prospects.
A LOVE DISCOVERED…It’s an inevitable partnership, but the winds of fate are ever changing. Adventures that begin in the bazaars of Bombay can diverge to the slums of London and patchwork fields of England. And at each port of call, Seth and Mina will have to risk everything to unearth the heart’s greatest prize.
PRAISE FOR DISCOVERY OF DESIRE:KIRKUS STARRED REVIEW: "If you like your romance with the sweetness of Mary Balogh's novels, or the anguish of Sherry Thomas,' this is one to cherish..."
RT ROMANTIC TIMES: "Continuing her Explorer series with an emotional romance with unforgettable and unconventional characters, she captivates readers and ignites their imaginations." 4 STARS
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY: “[A] charming Victorian-era tale of romantic destiny… Lord incorporates entertaining and evocative period language while crafting an original story that transcends the historical-romance formula.”
¬¬Reviewed by AnnMarie¬¬
Discovery of Desire is the second book in the ‘London Explorers’ series by Susanne Lord. I haven’t read the first book in the series, so can say that this one can easily be read as a stand alone novel.
This is the story of sisters Wilhelmina and Emma Adams. Emma decided she wanted to make a safe marriage in India, and Mina couldn’t let her go on her own, so decides she should find herself a husband over there too. They have chosen to have contracts of marriage with two men they’ve never met, but who they have corresponded with, that live in the same area so that they won’t be separated.
The sisters are only two in a large group of other English ladies sailing to India for marriage. Some of them don’t have contracts, but those that do, like Emma and Mina should have men waiting at the docs for them holding up signs to ‘claim’ them. When they arrive Mina sees the man holding up the sign for her. She’s pretty impressed when she sees him even though he doesn’t look like he described himself in his letters.
Seth Mayhew is an explorer who makes his money from finding exotic plants and seeds abroad. He is in Bombay searching for his missing sister who had been in India for her art, and she ends up searching for a lost baby. Seth is a tall, well built, gentle man who has no interest in marriage. He just wants to find his sister, and he is in Bombay to get help from Tom, the man contracted to marry Mina.
Seth is the one holding the sign for Mina while Tom has his hands full with something else. So it’s him that Mina feels an immediate attraction to. He had noticed her previously, helping to organise the other women from the ship, and loves that she is so organised, in his mind he called her ‘little officer’. When he realises she is Tom’s betrothed, even though he can’t offer any woman marriage, he can’t help but feel disappointed when he realises she is taken. She’s definitely a beautiful, spirited woman.
When Mina learns that Seth isn’t her betrothed, she’s a little disappointed, but she knows Tom is a good man, and if he decides that he does want to marry her, she will happily settle for him. Or so she thinks.
Emma Adams’ contracted husband isn’t at the docks to meet her, but while they give him time to arrive, the girls take a room and take part in all the events that the other women and their possible suitors have arranged.
While all that is going on Seth, being colleagues with Tom, spends a lot of time with both women, and he finds himself besotted with Mina. She feels the same way, but both try to fight their feelings because they know they can’t be together. Mina is also worried about her sister. Colin Rivers, the man that is supposed to be coming for her, hasn’t turned up and hasn’t sent word about a delay! If Emma doesn’t marry him, and Mina goes ahead and marries Tom, there is no guarantee that they will be able to stay together over there.
Seth needs to focus on finding his sister and the baby, Mina needs to focus on Tom and her sister, but all the while they can’t help focusing on each other. Will Tom be able to help Seth get the information he needs so that he knows where he has to travel to? Will Emma’s man turn up, and if he does, can Mina marry Tom knowing that she has such strong feelings for Seth. Tom himself hasn’t been very forthcoming with his attentions, why does it seem that he isn’t too keen on marriage himself?
I really enjoyed this story, and I especially loved Seth as our hero. What a wonderful, kind hearted, true hero he is. He only wants the best for everybody, even if that means that he suffers. He’s only had two relationships before, and poor guy thinks that he was hurting the women he had sex with. When an opportunity arises where he could have sex with Mina he is so scared that he will hurt her, he is so heartbreakingly adorable. Mina is a lovely character too, she puts others first as well, and it makes her the perfect match for Seth. Their romance was so sweet to watch and at times when it seemed there was no way it could work out for them I just wanted to cry.
Emma is a headstrong, yet naïve young woman, who unlike Mina doesn’t put others before herself. At times I just wanted to slap her for the things she said and did. Especially when she finds out what has happened to Colin. I believe they will be the subject of the next book in this series, and although Emma irritates me, I do look forward to reading it.
All in all this was a book well worth a 5 star rating, the romance, the intrigue, and the adorable Seth all add up to a perfect read.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book.