This book is a historical romance, but it has some very unique and modern elements to the story. Sapphire, now known as Cassidy Armstrong, once stole jewelry and planted it on a young Lord Devorlane Hawley. Her impulsive action causes Lord Hawley to be thrust out of his home, and he has vowed to get revenge on the beautiful jewel thief if their paths ever cross again.
Lord Devorlane Hawley returns home and finds that he has no need to search for the jewel thief that destroyed his reputation and relationship with his family. She’s in his home and lives next door. This is where he story went off the rails to me. There were so many characters at the party that was to be held in his honor that you had difficulty keeping track of them. Many of them played no part in the book after that event, but the author was so detailed about each person it made me feel compelled to try and remember everything written about them. There were some plot twists and turns, but they didn’t lead to any great revelation or add to the storyline. There were times where it was difficult to follow the convoluted storyline. For example, a man from Sapphire’s past shows up and claims to be her husband. However, she has already claimed to be a widow. The explanation for that was really weak and the man ended up dying a few pages later. Which begs the question of why even include that part? The author took great pains to include the thoughts of both characters throughout the book, but I don’t think any reader wants to know every single thought going through a character’s mind. It became extremely wordy and tedious to try to read all of their self-talk and dialogue. This was especially true because there didn’t seem to be any logic to what the characters were thinking or doing.
Both Lord Hawley and Sapphire were flawed characters. I usually love to see characters that aren’t the classic spotless knight in shining in armor, but I didn’t enjoy these characters at all. I think it’s because the story became so mired in details that the characters never really fully developed. I never felt an attachment to the characters or the story. I didn’t really care if they had an HEA because I couldn’t get past the huge deal breakers that Devorlane Hawley possessed. He was a wounded, drug addict with a penchant for prostitutes. He verbally and emotionally abused Sapphire on several occasions. He was downright rude and mean to her. Saphire showed some spunk, but I didn’t connect with her on any level. If I had connected with her I think I would have been shouting for her to run as far and as fast as she could away from Devorlane Hawley. What woman would want a carouser, abuser, and drug addict all in one? I didn’t see any redeeming features in his character. All I could see was Sapphire as a victim of abuse choosing another abuser.
It was a heavy read for me, and I really had to force myself to finish this book.
Reviewed by Michelle for Cocktails and Books