Paperback, 246 pages
Published February 1st 2014
by Kensington Publishing Corporation
Genre: Historical Romance
Laura Robinson has always been dazzled by the glamour of the stage. But perhaps acting and selling one’s favors are not so different—for Laura must feign pleasure with the men she beds to survive. Now, with her only friend at death’s door and a ruthless pimp at her heels, escaping her occupation seems impossible. Hoping to attract a gentleman, she attends the theater. Yet the man Laura captivates is no customer, but a rising star and playwright…
Adam Lacey has been driven to distraction since the moment he saw Laura. She is his ideal leading lady come to irresistible life—and so much more. Certain they can make the perfect team on and off stage, he is determined to win her heart—and discover her story. But that is precisely what Laura fears. And she has no idea that Adam harbors shameful secrets of his own. Will the truth free them to love—or destroy all their dreams…?
This was a very refreshing read. I don't think I've encountered many historical romances that don't feature members of the aristocracy (or of the the upper classes) in historical romances set during this time--which if this reader is right, is the Victorian era. Our heroine is a former prostitute who is attempting to better her lot in life, and has dreams of one day performing on the stage. Our hero is clearly from the upper classes, but has rejected the society in which he was raised, and is instead pursuing a life as both an actor and a writer of plays.
I therefore love it. I am always delighted to happen on romances that are daring in this way, especially in historicals--possibly because historical romances are my favourite in the genre. Laura is a spitfire. She's had to carve her life out of nothing, and has been able to leave the lifestyle she had been raised to, and is managing to survive and provide for her ailing best friend Bette. Even though she lives in poverty and her friend is seriously ill, Laura manages to dream and to hold her head high. She seeks employment at the theater as a vendor, and it's there that she captures the attention of Adam Lacey, the star of the show.
Adam, despite being a handsome actor, is falling on hard times. With the play about to end, and no work lined up, he has little prospects. But he does have a play he's written himself--and once he sees Laura, he knows he can bring it to life, if he can find a backer. Which isn't easy. And this is what I loved about this novel. There were no easy answers to the hardships faced by these characters. They both have to work hard to live, and make choices that hurt them as well, but which they hope will bring them to a better end. It's a darker read for historical romance, but it has characters that are innately kind and good, which lends it an air of hopeful light that I found refreshing and uplifting. For those of you daring to sample something a little different in your historical romances, I'd recommend this novel. It proved an invigorating read.
I would like to thank the author for providing me with a copy of the novel, in exchange for an honest review.