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I came late in the author’s prolific work, and so far I have only read her Distinguished Rogues series. So reading this 4th in an other series was like a new beginning. I loved the cast, from the main couple, an older woman with a younger man, to the side characters, they are no blank page, they all come with a past, more or less painful but one which lead them on their actual path. Fanny is wealthy beyond imagination, and it is perfectly understandable she is not ready give up everything she has built with her own hands in an other’s. Why relish what is legitimately hers and loose all control over it, which is the marriage’s way. And while she can’t trust a man to not abuse of his position of power if she were to wed again, she can help others less fortunate to provide for their first steps into success if it is their ambition. She believes it is enough for her, too afraid to face the pain of a dear loss again. Jeremy is her lucky new project, and for the boy raised in the slums of the city, it is like landing in a fairytale, with its magnificent castle and some villains lurking in the shadows. But he is decided to keep his end of the bargain, and nothing will sway him from his path, determined to prove his patroness she made the right choice. And he wants nothing more than to leave his murky past where it belongs, in the past. And while some blackguards try to assure themselves a place under the sun, his past talents will come in handy but also give clues of who he once was.
I loved how assured of her place in the world Fanny is, she follows the rules at her own pace, she adheres to them by some extent, and she is no shy woman in the bedroom, asking for what she likes or wants. Yet she is also flawed, blinded by her fears, she makes mistakes. Jeremy is young but stands his ground, not backing out even when the challenges look like insurmountable.
In all, it is a beautiful story of loving again, finding one’s home and having enough faith to put part of one’s destiny in an other’s hands. 5 stars