The Rogue to Ruin (Misadventures in Matchmaking)
Set primarily in London during the 1820s, the third romance in this series about the Bourne Matrimonial Agency relates how Ainsley, the third Bourne sister, finds a husband. And he is none other than Reed Sterling, owner of the gambling hall across the street, which she is trying to close down. It seems an unlikely pairing, but he is a former prize fighter and she is being stalked by an abusive former fiancé. And, of course, despite his low social standing and formidable reputation, Reed is really quite nice, as well as very masculine.
The book raises serious issues, notably the vulnerability of women without powerful protectors, the dangers posed by abusive partners, and economic insecurity for so many. Between outbursts of frantic activity, however, the pace is slow, filled with the protagonists’ worries over their conflicted feelings for each other and painstaking details of their increasingly passionate encounters. This reads like a more tightly written novel, stretched out to meet the 384-page quota set by the publisher.