Monday, April 1, 2019

The Disgraceful Lord Gray (The King's Elite #3), by Virginia Heath

Mills & Boon, April 2019

Lord Graham Chadwick, a.k.a. Lord Gray, was the younger son of a noble and titled family, in love with the daughter of their equally titled and noble neighbors. Then she broke his heart, choosing his elder brother. This happened as Gray was turning 21 and gaining control of his fortune. He didn't handle it well, managing to gamble away his entire fortune in a matter of months. He's now a member of a spy ring, the King's Elite, looking for the leader of a dangerous smuggling ring in quiet, rural Suffolk.

The evidence has led Gray and his comrades to Viscount Gislingham, whom they believe to be that leader, a.k.a. "The Boss."

Theodora Cranford is Gislingham's niece. She's an intelligent, strong-willed, often impulsive young woman, who is herself somewhat emotionally scarred. She and her father had shared a fiery temper, and one of her many arguments with him as a child had happened right before her father left on a carriage trip, in which the carriage overturned and her father died of a broken neck. Years later, after another argument, her uncle, Lord Gislingham, had a stroke. She now keeps Impulsive Thea locked up, and thinks every man is only after her considerable fortune.

Of course, these two are bound to collide.

All the evidence the King's Elite have gathered points to Gislingham as "the boss," even though he's now partly crippled by his stroke. And more evidence accumulates. Yet, the reader has some reason to suspect someone else, indefinite as the evidence is. Having access to both Lord Gray's knowledge and Thea's is a big advantage!

They are surrounded by lively and interesting characters, including Thea's older friend, Lady Crudgeington, a.k.a. Harriet; Thea's horse, Archimedes; Gray's immediate superior, Lord Fennimore; and Gray's dog Trefor. Trefor, I will note, is a St. John's Dog, ancestor of what we now know as the Labrador retriever. A lazier writer would have just called Trefor a Labrador, but that would have been wrong. I'll further note that despite all the shooting when events come to a climax, both Trefor and Archimedes survive.

It's an enjoyable historical romance with interesting characters who have complicated problems. Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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