|An idealistic suffragette... |
Miss Frederica "Free" Marshall has put her heart and soul into her newspaper, known for its outspoken support of women's rights. Naturally, her enemies are intent on destroying her business and silencing her for good. Free refuses to be at the end of her rope...but she needs more rope, and she needs it now.
...a jaded scoundrel...
Edward Clark's aristocratic family abandoned him to die in a war-torn land, so he survived the only way he could: by becoming a rogue and a first-class forger. When the same family that left him for dead vows to ruin Miss Marshall, he offers his help. So what if he has to lie to her? She's only a pawn to use in his revenge.
...and a scandal seven years in the making.
But the irrepressible Miss Marshall soon enchants Edward. By the time he realizes that his cynical heart is hers, it's too late. The only way to thwart her enemies is to reveal his scandalous past...and once the woman he loves realizes how much he's lied to her, he'll lose her forever.
“I’m Edward Clark. Born Edward Delacey. Now, apparently Viscount Claridge.” He shut his eyes. “You can address me by my preferred title: you idiot.”Aristocrat Edward Delacey is presumed dead, but he instead became Edward Clark, and this man is out for revenge. His own family left him for dead years ago and he did anything he had to do to survive. He learned a trade, he learned how to forge anyone’s handwriting and he survived torture. When he learns that one of his best friends growing up is being targeted by his brother, James, Edward puts his plan of revenge against his brother into play. James’s main target is Free Marshall, a woman who runs her own newspaper written by women and speaks out for women’s rights, something that’s causing some waves. She rejected James’s proposition to her and he wants to put her in her place. Edward gets information of his brother’s plans and makes plans of his own to stop him, using Free.
What made Edward and his plans work for me from the start was while he rarely told the truth, he did to Free. He made sure she knew he was a liar, a cheat, a scoundrel and she shouldn’t trust him. That said, he did the exact opposite with her and she came to realize that she was the only person he couldn’t do all that to. It’s a struggle for him, to believe that he could be the man that Free needs, that he could be good enough for her. I loved seeing this fight within himself and also seeing what Free’s belief in him does and the effect it has on him.
I loved Free. She doesn’t let anything get her down. She speaks her mind and even though she knows she’s fighting an uphill battle, fighting for women’s rights, she keeps on pushing. When her newspaper columns are stolen, when she’s harassed and even after her home burns down, she doesn’t stop. So when Edward comes to her with proof that James is behind the recent attacks on her, instead of letting Edward take care of things, she joins him and even takes matters into her own hands. She’s strong willed and fights for what she’s believes in and while this was a side of her that I enjoyed seeing play out, what I really enjoyed most was seeing her not buy into the act Edward puts on around her. She knows from the start that he’s not telling her everything but she slowly gets him to open up about his past and what he’s gone through and she ends up understanding him better than even he does. Near the end when the possibility for huge relationship angst could have taken off, I appreciated that Free didn’t let it get out of hand. She’s level headed and reacts as such, even when Edward is giving her a run for her money.
This ended up being one of those stories that the farther into it I got, the harder it became to put down. I loved getting to know Edward, learning about his past and how that’s shaped him into the man he’s become and the man he wants to be. Free was a great heroine to get to know. She’s strong and during a time when strength in women isn’t exactly encouraged, she doesn’t let any obstacles stop her from trying to make a difference. Regardless of the big reveal Edward has about who he really is to her, these two people won’t ever fit into a perfect society box and that’s what made them so fun to get to know.
Release Date: July 15, 2014
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*eARC provided by author for review*