When famed London courtesan Alessandra Northrope passes away, her daughter Celia Pennifold inherits little more than a hopelessly contaminated reputation, a house in a middle class neighborhood, and an education that prepared her to take her mother’s place the way Alessandra intended. Celia hopes to make her own life on her own terms, however, and moves into the house only to discover one more legacy—an enigmatic, handsome tenant who knows her mother’s plans for her future rather too well.
Jonathan thinks he is on a simple mission to discover whether Celia’s mother left accounts of her lovers that might embarrass important men. Instead he finds himself embroiled in a mystery full of dangerous betrayals and secrets, old and new, that touch on his life as well as Celia’s.
I was quickly swept into Celia and Jonathan’s world with all the trials and tribulations that they had to face in rigidly strict world of eighteenth century London with all of societies rules and regulations. Celia being the daughter of a famous courtesan and Jonathan fighting for his rightful place with his family that doesn’t acknowledge his existence are both fighting to live a normal respectable life surrounded by rumors and gossip from a society who would rather see them gone. Thrust together from unfortunate circumstances Celia and Jonathan soon find themselves in a grip of raging attraction that they try to ignore but neither can. So in the mix of forming respectable names for each other they have to deal with the growing feelings that soon become a problem in itself. Will Celia and Johnathan be able to achieve their goals while continuing their romance? That burning question had me flipping through the pages to find the answer, making this story a very entertaining read for me. The romance between Celia and Jonathan was hot and sensual. They made a good couple with both of them head strong in what they wanted to do with their live despite all the obstacles in front of them.
Celia was a likable character with good head on her shoulders, even though life dealt her a challenging hand being the daughter of a courtesan and a famous one at that, she excepted and dealt with it, taking on life with her head healed high. Celia had strength and dignity for herself even though those around her didn’t. Society only seeing her as she mothers daughter and that she would automatically take up that profession I was glad to see her fight to make up her own mind about her life. Jonathan was also a strong compelling character. I was drawn to his shady past and the secrets he brought with him. Jonathan wanted answers and he would do anything to get them which caused for some great suspense and danger. Plus the hot and intense moments when he set his sites on Celia. Hunter did a wonderful job bringing together an entertaining story with beautifully described scenes, intriguing characters with intense romance and mystery. I really look forward to reading more from Madeline Hunter and would clearly recommend it to readers.