About the Book:
Title: The Lady and the Bricklayer
Author: Lisa Torquay
Series: Ladies and Strays #3
Publication Date: March 29, 2022
Synopsis: Lady Millicent, the daughter of the Duke of Haddington, is shunned by the ton for her father’s renown sadistic tastes. Weary and disillusioned, she’s counting the days to her twenty-second birthday, when she’ll receive her mother’s inheritance and escape London’s mockery and cruelty. Before that, though, she’s tasked with the refurbishing of the garden’s folie. The bricklayer in charge of it stirs her like no man ever did with his brawny and brooding looks. Torn between the need to protect her heart and the pull he exerts on her, the temptation to taste all those bunched muscles might prove too much to resist.
Martin Baker’s fury at what the duke did to his sister when she was a maid at his house knows no limits. The work at the rapist’s own townhouse affords him the chance to wreak revenge on the lecher. And why not use his haughty daughter to achieve his aim? He, however, is in danger of becoming a slave to her allure and the crave she awakens in him. But as he finally exacts his vengeance, he realises that he is the one going under. In ways he’d never imagined.
The Lady and the Bricklayer is the third book in Lisa Torquay’s wonderful historical romance series Ladies & Strays. It follows Millicent, the daughter of a sadistic duke, and Martin, a working man who seeks vengeance for his young sister’s sexual assault. When Martin obtains a job at the duke’s home, his chance for revenge seems imminent. However, Martin can’t help being drawn to the duke’s beautiful daughter. How can he fall for the daughter of his sister’s rapist? Millicent knows a relationship with Martin is forbidden, but she can’t deny her growing feelings. Can the pair work through all of the obstacles in their way?
Millicent is known for being aloof and cold, and she doesn’t let many people get too close. She has an icy demeanor, which is vastly different from the warm, caring, and passionate woman she is underneath. Burdened by her father’s reputation, Millicent is not treated well by society, nor is she treated well by her sadistic and abusive father. Though she’s had a difficult life, Millicent is a fighter. She has plans to free herself of her father’s clutches, and she’s determined to take control of her life without the influence of society and her father. I love how hard she fights for what she wants. She is such a wonderful, dynamic, and complex character, and the more Martin gets to see all of her layers, the more he falls for her.
Martin is also a complex character, intent on vengeance but beguiled by his target’s daughter. He is a strong, loyal, and hard-working man that loves his family very much. Martin takes on a lot of responsibility, and he goes on such a journey over the course of the story. Bent on revenge, he becomes confounded by his mixed feelings and struggles with his personal conflicts. I love that he and Millicent learn a lot about themselves, each other, and what each wants in life.
Millicent and Martin have a tumultuous and chemistry-laden romance. They are from different worlds – she is of the social elite, and he is a bricklayer, so theirs is a forbidden romance. However, their feelings for each other are undeniable. Their love story is rife with angst and sexual tension, and they have some pretty steamy scenes that are positively swoon-worthy! And the way Martin chases Millicent and works so hard to redeem himself in her and her friends eyes is so romantic!!
The friends that Millicent has are loyal, supportive, and protective of her, and they don’t judge her by her father’s misdeeds. I love that she’s surrounds herself with strong women, unconventional pairs, and forward-thinking peers. They show Martin possibilities that he never imagined. Other characters, like Martin’s sister and mother, are also interesting and highlight how caring and dedicated Martin and Millicent are. Millicent’s relationship with Martin’s sister is wonderful, and I like that these two women who were abused by the same man found comfort in each other.
Another aspect of Torquay’s historical romances I really like is that the stories always shed light on important issues that affected many at the time. This includes the inequity between social classes, the disparity between genders, poor working conditions, unpunished sexual assault, abuse, and more. The novel’s messages are poignant and very much affect the characters throughout the novel. These difficult themes are balanced well with themes of friendship, hope, and love.
I’m really enjoying this series. It has complex characters, great social messages, and so many swoon-worthy and steamy love stories. Though this is the third book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone. However, if you have read the first two books, you’ll be thrilled to know the protagonists from those books have secondary roles in this book. I always love when authors do this because I get to see some of my favorite couples again! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and am so thankful to the author for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romance.
- The social messages.
- The characters.
Want to learn more about the series? Check out my reviews of the first two books: