This is the final volume of James’s Regency trilogy (Potent Pleasures, Midnight Pleasures) and it is a pleasure to read. The main characters are quirky and well thought out and hold the readers’ interest to the very last page. Gabrielle Jerningham, Gabby for short, is a guileless beauty with little fashion sense, sent from India by her missionary father to marry Peter Dewland, Viscount Dewland’s second son. While Gabby is thrilled by the idea of marrying such a handsome individual, Peter has agreed to the marriage only under duress. When the two meet, they have little in common. The effeminate Peter sees Gabby as “overfleshy” and lacking in proper decorum, and Gabby fears she will never measure up to Peter’s exacting standards. However, Quill, Peter’s older brother, finds Gabby to be a refreshing young lady and soon plots to win her affections for himself. Quill is thought to be unfit for marriage due to an injury sustained in a riding accident. He suffers severe migraines after performing “rhythmical exercise” such as making love.
This book is well written and fast-paced, with lots of twists and intriguing subplots. Best of all, James has created characters that truly bring the story to life.