Though it focuses on a single relationship between two characters, this book made me fall in love with multiple characters across multiple relationships, all of whom had their own detailed lives and agency. Lucens balances an intricate drama of love, friendship, polyamory, and heartbreak in one of the best historical romances I’ve read to date. I especially liked the balance of lovers from multiple social strata, from the working man to the untitled third son to the earl, all of whom had original backgrounds. Bonus points are given, of course, to the subplot of women’s suffrage, and the main characters’ reactions (or disregard) to the topic.
About halfway through this book, I was thrilled that this was the first in a series. I didn’t even care whether the series featured was more of these characters or an entirely new set. I knew that I adored Lucens’ work and wanted more of it. For the first time, I both felt immersed in a historical world and simultaneously wanting to know more about it, to the point of researching places and items referenced so that I could appreciate the scope of the work.
And at the end of this book, I was devastated to learn that they had no other full-length works for me to enjoy. I hope more is forthcoming because this author has instantly become a must-read for me.