After the tragic death of her beloved, Hester Aspinall vowed never to be ruled by her passions again. Still, she is drawn to her landlord, handsome adventurer Thomas Ramsay—but she doesn't fool herself that a man of his station would look twice at a poor tailor's sister.
With the sea for a mistress, Thomas has no intention of entering into matrimony. And yet, he can't get the plain-spoken and desirable Hester out of his mind, even though she's never tried to secure his attentions as other women do.
Everything changes the night Hester's brother is arrested during a raid on a gay brothel, the infamous White Swan. With no one else to turn to, and terrified Robert will hang for his crime, Hester accepts Thomas's offer to bear the cost of the defense. A true gentleman, Thomas expects nothing in return—but Hester can no longer deny her own desires...This is a book where I will change a bit on how I do my reviews. I will do some spoiling, so be warned. I have good reason to do so, but I will warn you when the big spoils come.
She may offer her body eagerly, but can she protect her heart?
In this book we have the beautiful but plain heroine of Hester who suffered a great loss before being thrust into London with her brother to start a tailor's shop. Her brother, Robert, who is becoming a great success goes suddenly missing. Thomas, a rich gentleman who suffers a secret crush on Hester, decides to help her locate her brother who turns up at Newgate prison. Robert, is charged with sodomy and his outlook looks bleak. Thomas decides to help Hester and within the turmoil new love is found. Not just for Hester and Thomas.
Now here comes a spoiler and before I do, let me explain why. Since this was set in 1810, the charge of sodomy is considered a hangable offense. The language on how people see this charge is expressed numerable times throughout the book. It makes sense as to why it was there, it makes it accurate. However, there is so much of it, those of us who really don't like this kind of talk, it makes it hard to read. So for those of us that might want to read this book but are afraid of putting it down because of the hate, I thought I'd let you know of the outcome. I pushed through it and was glad of it. So... Spoiler (highlight to see): Even though he does not become redeemed in the eyes of society or his peers, he does find acceptance from his sister and Thomas. This prompts him to look at how he views himself. He does become much more self-accepting as well and in doing so finds love himself. End Spoiler. For me, knowing this it would have made it a bit easier to get through all the hard stuff but not by much. I hate hate.
I give this book 3 stars. To me this was 2 stories that intertwined but didn't quite mesh. However, I do think this is an important book for today. It shows how far we have come so we will understand where we don't want to venture back. It also shows how hard it is for someone to accept themselves. If you can imagine that someone is going through the same thing on a smaller scale (not legally but from "friends" and family) you can see why it is hard to take that leap and feel fine in who they are. This, to me, is the bulk of the book rather than the romance and I think it would have been a stronger book if it took that leap and made it the focus rather than split it with Hester and Thomas's romance.
I was given this book from Kismet Book Touring and no compensation for my review was given.
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