on June 15, 2018
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Some secrets should never be unveiled…
Heath Grenville is the problem-solver for London's elite. Unmask the devious cretin skewering the ton with audacious caricatures? With pleasure. His success should keep the powerful happy. But when his work leads him to a young lady outside his class, surely he won’t do anything so scandalous as to fall in love...
By day, Miss Eleanora Winfield is a proper, unremarkable paid companion. By night, Nora’s skillful hands sketch the infamous penny caricatures rocking high society. Nora desperately needs the money…and her anonymity. But how can she keep them both, when she’s fallen for the one man whose livelihood and reputation requires him to expose her?
Nora Winfield straightened her shoulders and did her best to project a confidence she did not feel. They didn’t know she was no one. All their worried eyes could observe was handsome Mr. Grenville tarrying at a landau containing a Society matron and an unknown young woman near their age.
Perhaps they were even beginning to wonder whether distressingly red hair had become all the crack overnight, and their perfect blonde ringlets horribly out of fashion.
A giggle escaped Nora’s throat as she imagined painting such a scene. The soft watercolor of the debutantes’ pastel dresses, the strong, red brush strokes of her hair flailing in the wind, the charming prince smitten at first sight.
Mr. Grenville swung a quizzical gaze in her direction. “Have I missed something humorous?”
“I was just imagining red hair as something fashionable,” she stammered.
His eyes heated as he gazed intently at her person.
“Fashions come and go,” he said softly. “But lustrous hair as glorious as yours will be beautiful forever. Why else would great masters such as Titian become obsessed with painting goddesses with flowing locks the same color as yours?”
“I…” Nora’s throat dried as she gazed back at him wordlessly.
She had expected him to laugh off the idea, perhaps tease her good-naturedly about her unfortunate coloring. Instead, Mr. Grenville had compared her to a goddess. Someone important men could become obsessed with. Someone worthy of being remembered.
Her heart skipped. She had never received a better compliment.
“Don’t start again with your Italian painters,” Lady Roundtree said with a flutter of her gloved fingers. “I swear you’d be just as happy to spend a sunny afternoon cooped up in a museum as out here in Hyde Park.”
“Both are filled with beauty,” Mr. Grenville agreed. But his gaze did not leave Nora.
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
Lord of Secrets is the fifth book in the Rogues to Riches series by Erica Ridley. Although it can be read as a standalone story, my enjoyment of it was much enhanced from having read the other books in the series.
Miss Eleanora Winfield is a poor relation in London as a paid companion for her cousin, Lady Roundtree, who is recovering from an injured leg. Her ailing grandparents and her brother are left to struggle on the farm in the country. Nora hopes her wages will help to restore the farm and it’s profits to a point where they can afford to hire help and give her grandparents the much-deserved rest that they need. As a paid companion, Nora attends all the social events with her cousin. At one such event, she meets Heath Grenville.
Heath Grenville, heir to a baronetcy is renown for being a problem solver. If you are under the threat of scandal Heath is the man to ask for help. He will know your secrets, but he will never tell them, hence him being the Lord of Secrets. His family mean the world to him, and when an anonymous caricaturist targets his sister and makes her a laughing stock, he vows to find the man and ruin him.
When Heath and Nora meet there is an immediate attraction between them. Nora knows that he shouldn’t be paying her any attention, and has to admit to him that she is a paid companion, not an equal. That means, of course, that they shouldn’t mix, and definitely shouldn’t dance which is what he had asked her to do when they first meet.
These two are so obviously perfect for each other but there is more than just class distinctions to come between them. Unknown to Heath, Nora is the caricaturist that he despises and is determined to ruin. He can’t see that the cartoons don’t tell any secrets, that they are old news, not new gossip. He doesn’t know that her family’s lives depend on the money she makes from the cartoons. Can there be the slightest possibility of a relationship developing between them, or are the odds stacked against them?
This story captivated me from the very first pages. I loved watching a possible romance bud between Heath and Nora but couldn’t read quickly enough to see what would happen when Nora’s secret was discovered by him. I really enjoyed their non-courtship courtship!! I love the characters in this book and indeed the whole series. There is even an adorable pug puppy in a pivotal position in this story that you couldn’t help but want to reach into the pages to give a cuddle. Even the villains are perfect in as much as that you can’t help but despise them. This book definitely has the perfect mix of light and shade, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.