Author: C.J. Archer
Publisher: C.J. Archer
Date of Publication: January 1, 2012
Gentleman spy, Alexander Redcliff, murdered his colleague. It’s an event he can’t remember, except in his nightmares. Suppressing them is the only way to keep his sanity, but forgetting is no longer an option.
Only one woman can save Alex from himself.
Georgiana Appleby is a most unconventional lady. Prejudice shadows the physician and scandal is never far away. Forced to take Alex as her patient, she must not give into the rogue’s advances or she will risk losing her career and her heart.
Will Alex’s fierce longing for Georgiana be enough or will he surrender to the darkness inside?
First thing’s first: when I got this book from NetGalley, I would swear it had a different cover, a woman in a pale pink dress, but I can’t find that cover any more. But, oh well. I liked that cover better than this one.
Now, onto the story. Alex has been a spy for many years, but after a mission goes disasterously wrong, he believes he killed someone and has retreated into smoking opium to avoid the nightmares that are plaguing him of the final events in that mission. He believes he’s not addicted, but of course he is. His spymaster blackmails Georgiana (the daughter of a physician who had success in treating opium addiction who’s taken up the cause herself) into taking Alex on as a patient. The spymaster needs/wants to know the truth about that final mission and believes that Alex will want to return to spying once he’s recovered.
I really liked Georgiana and her unusual career path for the period. She was a woman, yes, but she chose to help people with a drug addiction (very unusual, I would say). She made a mistake with one patient and that’s what gets used against her to take on Alex, despite Alex’s attempts to get rid of her quickly. She’s a strong character who has a lot to offer.
Alex I didn’t like quite so much, but he was also a bit of a jerk from time to time. Blame the opium addiction (I do), or whatever, but Georgiana got a lot of crap from him before they started edging toward getting together. And lord, did that take a while! Which made for a nice change. They were attracted, of course, but Georgiana had her reasons for not wanting to look at Alex as anything other than a patient, and Alex of course had his drug addiction which was more powerful than his attraction to Georgiana…at first.
I love the fact that, by the end, Georgiana didn’t let Alex replace his addiction for opium with an addiction for her. She cleared out of the area and forced him to work through his issues without her adding to the mix. He had to want her for her, not as a replacement for something else.
The secondary cast of characters rounded out the book (Alex’s little sister and his aunt were staying with Alex for most of the book). The aunt was your typical socialite who thoroughly disapproved of Georgiana staying in the townhouse with Alex and went out of her way to remind Georgiana that she was not their social equal and she shouldn’t even think about making a move on Alex. The niece was a hoyden of course, and got into trouble as part of the overall spy plot. Typical sixteen year old, really, impressionable.
The revelation as to the ultimate villain did surprise me. I sort of dismissed the possibility and never doubted that dismissal until they were unmasked at the end.
The writing flowed smoothly enough. I just wasn’t as drawn to this book as I would have needed to be to give this any higher of a rating. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good book, just not (for me) a great one. I will put Ms. Archer on my ever-growing list of authors I like though, definitely.
Thank you Ms. Archer and thank you NetGalley for letting me read this!
Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.