This is book three and the last installment in the Blackshear series, with the focus on Nick. First of all I have to agree with Narfna – the cover model is so far removed from what I imagine Nick would look like. As a barrister in London, he would definitely not be the bronzed weight lifter type!
Once again, Ms Grant has written a rather unlikeable heroine in Kate Westbrook; a young woman not as experienced in the ways of the world as Martha and Lydia from the first two books, however. Kate has been raised in a warm and happy family home, albeit one that is not as elevated in stature as she would like. Her father had been embroiled in his own scandal by marrying an actress (the horror), and his family shunned him for this. While the rest of her siblings (three sisters and one brother) seem to be quite content with this situation, Kate dreams of mending the rift and then finding a husband of good social standing to repair the family’s reputation. She’s always been considered beautiful, and even though she claims not to be vain, she still comes across as being rather shallow and your basic virgin in search of a rich husband. I admit, I had a more difficult time warming up to her character than I did with the other two heroines.
Nick has his own demons to contend with, number one being his brother Will’s marriage to a former courtesan. He has refused to see Will since that happened, and feels that his prospects for work have declined in the wake of the scandal. He is a barrister, and former protege of Kate’s father, and has always been close to their family; at one time, he even hoped to make a match with Kate, who rebuffed his offer before he even had a chance to speak of it. Since then, he has done his best to maintain a brotherly affection for her even though it’s clear he’s really still in love with her. In his own way, he’s somewhat as snobbish as Kate about appearances and wishing his family was less scandalous.
The pair engage in some heated moments, and you can tell that both of them are having feelings for each but continue to resist the idea. Kate wants her rich husband, and Nick wants a woman that can support his ambitions. Along the way, they begin to mature and their plans evolve as they realize they were wrong about some things. I appreciated that fact, and yet I found that I wasn’t as interested in their story as I was with the previous couples. I was also a little surprised at the sexual intimacy towards the end of the book; it seemed out of place for Kate’s character to be so eager to give up her virginity, and be so into the throes of passion on her first time.
Ms Grant does her usual good work with the writing, and I liked the supporting cast a lot along with seeing a few glimpses of Martha and Will and their respective spouses, but in the end it wasn’t anything novel or unconventional – Nick and Kate would get their happily ever after, and their union would never be looked down upon. It’s almost like she felt she had to include a heroine who wasn’t unconventional after the intensity of the first two. It’s still miles above what some other writers would have done with this story, it just didn’t grab me as much as I’d hoped. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Ms Grant has something new for us in the future, as this series was so well done!