LADY DERRING TAKES A LOVER by Julie Anne Long

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The Palace of Rogues, Book 1

From the publisher:

A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.

Delilah Swanpoole, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?


In a very weird coincidence, I read two books in a row, both romances but one contemporary (Under the Table) and this one, historical, where the hero is named Tristan. This book actually came out at the end of February but somehow it slipped under my radar. I must confess to having a ridiculous number of books on my Kindle, hovering just under 3000. No, that is not a typo. I don’t know how many of those I’ve already read as Amazon has no way of me sorting them that way, but a lot! Figure a book a day for close to 3 or so years that I’ve read mostly on my Kindle so maybe about a third? (Side note to Amazon, you really should let me sort out the books I’ve read, it would be beneficial for me to be able to delete all the books I’ve read before I run out of room!) Lately I have been removing titles from my device when I finish reading them but that’s new. And sometimes I forget. Oh well.

Back to our story. So this Tristan is your basic, run-of-the-mill, tall, strong, gorgeous hero who, as many heroes are, is rather reticent in sharing his thoughts or feelings. So much so that it is a running joke throughout the book that he when he utters more than a word or two, it is commented upon. Cute.

Deirdre definitely falls into the new historical romance class of heroines who are strong, independent, and most unlikely given the time period, career driven. I don’t mind these liberties being taken in sacrifice of historical accuracy. It’s about time women were put in a better place, even if it rarely happened back then; I rather enjoy seeing it happen now.

The boundaries of realism are pushed even further when the wife and mistress of a member of the peerage end up in business and living together. It actually makes sense here so kudos to Long for writing such a believable suspension of disbelief, that is quite the coup. But best of all, it is a really good story with interesting, quirky characters, delicious humor and sizzling sex.

I started this new series with the first book – quite the coup for me, I tend not to do that for some reason – but I really have enjoyed this author’s previous books so when I saw a new one on Edelweiss (one of the homes of advanced digital galleys for reviewers) I grabbed it. I was very glad I did. This was a very enjoyable read and now I can’t wait for the next book in this series – this one ends on quite the cliffhanger! Very well done.

4/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

LADY DERRING TAKES A LOVER by Julie Anne Long. Avon; Reissue edition (February 26, 2019).  ISBN 978-0062867469. 384p.

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