About the Book:
Author: Darcy Burke
Series: The Phoenix Club #4
Publication Date: Jan. 25, 2022
Publisher: Zealous Quill Press
Synopsis: Society’s most exclusive invitation…
Welcome to the Phoenix Club, where London’s most audacious, disreputable, and intriguing ladies and gentlemen find scandal, redemption, and second chances.
If Bennet St. James, the Viscount Glastonbury, doesn’t find a bride with a sizeable dowry, he’ll be in the poorhouse along with his interminable number of female relatives—all of whom he loves but are a drain on the negative fortune his father left when he died of a broken pocketbook. Desperate, he hatches a scheme to snare an heiress only to be foiled by a most vexing and alluring—and unfortunately equally destitute—paid companion.
Lady’s companion Prudence Lancaster is single-minded about finding her mother and filling in the missing pieces of her life. But a villainous viscount interrupts her plans, and his surprising charm and understanding tempts her in the most indecent ways. Soon, she’s dreaming of the future instead of wallowing in the past.
But when Bennet shares a dark secret, her hopes are dashed. For he won’t break the promise he made to his family, even if it means losing the greatest love he’s ever known.
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Bennet is in a dire financial situation and needs to marry a woman with a sizable dowry, which is why he plots to kidnap an heiress. However, his plan is foiled when he kidnaps the wrong woman. Instead of the wealthy heiress, her paid companion is taken. Prudence is furious when she is taken, but her anger quickly dissolves as she gets to know the burdened Bennet. As the pair grows closer, neither can deny their feelings, but their future seems impossible. Will secrets, money troubles, and more keep this pair apart?
I was so excited to read Prudence’s story, as she has been a secondary character in all of the books in the series. She has a complicated past which becomes even more complicated as she finds out the truth of her parentage. Prudence is strong and resilient, and I love that she slowly lets down her walls and embraces her feelings. I also love how supportive her friends are. She is surrounded by a strong and loyal group of people who are more like family than friends, and their unequivocal support of her shows how respected and loved Prudence is.
Bennet wasn’t the most likable character in the last book, and I was curious to learn more about him and see how he could redeem himself. He totally did. His story is compelling, and there is definitely more to him than meets the eye. He has a lot of responsibility and is burdened by the financial mess his father left. Like Prudence, he doesn’t have a lot of choice in his life, and he often acts out of duty than of desire. Though he does several unsavory things, he has a strong sense of duty to his family, and he shows regret and growth throughout the story, which endeared me to him.
Prudence and Bennet have a great forbidden romance. Since he takes her against her will, they start off as enemies, but the dynamics of their relationship quickly change. Both characters work so hard to emotionally close themselves off and protect themselves, yet that changes when they are together. They have a special bond, and their chemistry is fantastic. However, they have a difficult path filled with secrets, lies, lack of communication, complicated family and social situations, and more. It’s interesting to see how they work through everything.
Of course, I was delighted to see the major characters from the other books in the series had secondary roles in this book. I loved learning what the other characters were up to and how they influenced the growing relationship between Bennet and Prudence. The Phoenix Club also continues to be a place that connects all of the characters, which is fantastic. And Bennet’s aunts are fantastic additions to the story. I love how these women, who are often considered mentally unhealthy and less than, are some of the wisest people in the story. They offer Bennet and Prudence such sound advice and observations, and they are so fun and funny. Their perspective is refreshing, especially as they help Bennet deal with his fears and help him win over Prudence.
I thought this was a great addition to The Phoenix Club series! The characters and story are great, and the romance is lovely. The next romance is hinted at in this book, and I’m super excited to read it. I also can’t wait to have more of Lucien’s story. I find his character so intriguing, and a bit mysterious, and the more I see of him, the more I want to know!! Thanks so much to NetGalley and the author for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
- Bennett’s aunts.
- The romance.
To mistakes made and overcome and friendships forged.
Our time in this life is too short to worry over things we can’t change. Better to make the best of it and get on.
I would definitely recommend this book to readers of historical romance.