The Mysterious Lord Millcroft by Virginia Heath
Life as a duchess…
Or something much more dangerous…?
Part of The King’s Elite. Constantly told her beauty and charm is all she has to offer, Lady Clarissa is intent on marrying a duke. And intriguing spy Sebastian Leatham will help her! Only first she’ll assist him with his new assignment—playing the part of confident aristocrat Lord Millcroft. Sebastian awakens a burning desire within Clarissa which leaves her questioning whether becoming a duchess is what she truly longs for…
It takes a skilled and highly adept writer to make a romance work between two so completely dissimilar characters, each with very different aims and objectives. Yet Virginia Heath does, and expertly so. Not once during the reading of this book did I doubt the personality, attributes, or traits of Gem or Seb, or indeed any of the other characters. The author has made clever use of juxtaposing them all; the high-ranking, yet criminal aristocrats with the low-born or disgraced, yet all loyal government agents. This is also reflected the characters of our hero and heroine; the Incomparable Gem, society’s sweetheart and of the ‘first water’ with the illegitimate son of a Duke and a farmer’s daughter, considered repellent and beneath contempt. It makes for compelling reading.
Sebastian Leatham is a great romantic hero. None of that Alpha male nonsense; in society he is shy, tongue-tied around women, blushes, and hides behind a gruff exterior. He is also a highly accomplished government spy, strong and confident, and above all, an honourable man. He gives Clarissa the nickname ‘Gem’.
Clarissa Beaumont is an Incomparable. A stunning beauty with consummate social skills, especially when conversing with men, and yet she harbours secrets. She has none of the accepted accomplishments for young ladies of the day, such as drawing and music, and by her own admission she is practically illiterate. None of this can be found out as it would be the ruination of her plans to wed a Duke. She calls Sebastian, ‘Seb’.
Whilst their backgrounds and positions in society are poles apart, they each battle their vulnerabilities and shortcomings. They present the world a façade behind which they hide those parts of themselves that could be used to hurt, or even destroy them. These are two wonderful people, who are funny and endearing, annoying and aggravating, yet absolutely real and believable. The author has written their romance subtly, displaying the attraction they feel yet all the while embroiling them in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.
Virginia Heath writes with energy and style, and with a precision that slices through the extraneous to expose the crucial heart of the matter. When she describes Penhurst on his wedding day, we learn more about his character in those few words, than we should from an entire chapter dedicated to that purpose. She writes:
The switch had been abrupt and cold. Instantaneous. To such an extent, a very different groom walked out of the church from the amiable groom who had arrived.
I wasn’t going to read this at first, but I’m glad I did – this story is irresistible. Full of wit and charm, and people you will love, the hunt for the criminals is as exciting and thrilling as the developing romance between Gem and Seb.
This is the first in a new series called The King’s Elite, and I will definitely be reading the next book, just a soon as I can get my hands on it!
Do yourself a favour and read this fabulous Regency romance.
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Virginia Heath lives on the outskirts of London with her understanding husband and two, less understanding, teenagers. After spending years teaching history,she decided to follow her dream of writing for Harlequin. Now she spends her days happily writing regency romances, creating heroes that she falls in love with and heroines who inspire her. When she isn’t doing that, Virginia likes to travel to far off places, shop for things that she doesn’t need or read romances written by other people.
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