My rating: I’d go there again (4/5)
The Temptations of Anna Jacobs is the second in Robyn DeHart’s series that revisits the Jack the Ripper murders. The first the book in the series, The Secrets of Mia Danvers, begins the chase for Jack, when Mia, a blind woman, witnesses one of Jack’s murders. Mia’s close encounter with the murderer puts her in his sights, and pushes her into the arms of Alex Foster, Duke of Carrington. Relying on her other senses, Mia tries to help the authorities catch the murderer, but soon finds herself suspecting Alex’s own brother, Drew Foster, a dissolute drunkard.
Unfortunately, for Drew, his less than respectable ways make him a perfect scapegoat for the murderer, and at the end of book one, Drew has been arrested. Scotland Yard inspector, Simon Jacobs, is more than convinced that Drew is not the culprit and is able to arrange for his release and employment in Scotland Yard in book two. While Drew catches up on the case in Simon’s house, he continues to run into Simon’s younger sister, Anna. At first Anna doesn’t find too much to like about Drew, she’s heard the rumours about his past and their first meeting did not improve upon that impression. However, she is intrigued when he does not express the expected disdain for her decision to pursue a career as a doctor. The pair soon finds themselves partners in the investigation while Anna’s brother is out of town. A delightful romance ensues.
I have to admit that I wasn’t overly impressed with book one. I wasn’t particularly enchanted with the hero, but I liked the mystery concept and I’m a sucker for a hero who doesn’t think he’s good enough for the heroine. I had to give The Temptations of Anna Jacobs a shot. I loved this one! I loved Drew and Anna, combine that with a compelling mystery and I was hooked.
Anna was a unique heroine with her pursuit of a career and I liked her confidence in her interactions with Drew. She knew she wanted to become a doctor and wouldn’t let anything stand in her way. At the same time, Anna is just like anyone else. She wants that romance, she wants someone to care about her and her ambitions; she’s simply resigned herself to the fact that it may just not be in the cards for her. Then along comes Drew and she’s completely thrown for a loop and becomes a little unsure of herself. But I love the fact that she never compromises her self-respect despite her feelings.
I was also pleasantly surprised with Drew. I’m not really a fan of the dissolute hero, reformed or otherwise. But in this case it really worked. Drew was no super hero, he felt quite out of his element as an investigator (yay for a hero not being amazing at everything) and recognized that he had made a lot of mistakes in his past. It was interesting to see the hero turn his life around and it had me rooting for him throughout the book.
My one tiny complaint was the fact that Drew’s clearly a former alcoholic and his imprisonment obviously saved him from himself by forcing him to dry out. Yes, we’re happy to see him on the road to recovery, but I did not like how he often equated his attraction to Anna with drinking. It made it appear he was replacing one addiction with another and I didn’t like how this reflected on his view of Anna. I would have liked Drew to find a greater depth of self-respect as I think this would have put him on a more equal footing with Anna. But since I’m the one reading the book, I’m going to choose to read between the lines and believe that by the end Drew does value himself enough to believe that he’s worthy of Anna. I think this part of their relationship is an important, and I wish it could have been expanded a wee bit.
This was a great historical romance with a big mystery arc to it. I do suggest that you read the series in order because of the mystery element. The Jack the Ripper plot begins in book one and I we do not get a resolution of it in book two. I suspect that readers won’t be treated to a resolution until we get to next book, which will hopefully feature Simon Jacobs. I highly recommend this one to historical romance fans looking for unique characters and an engaging plot.
*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
If you like the investigative element to The Temptations of Anna Jacobs, I highly recommend Alex Grecian’s The Murder Squad series. It’s a great character driven series that may not have romance, but keeps me hooked from page one. The third book in the series, The Devil’s Workshop, is set for release and May and it also tackles the Jack the Ripper murders after it appears Jack just might be back.
For a romance read similar, give The Dark Affair a try. I just recently read it and quite enjoyed the book. There’s not a huge intrigue plot there but the hero, James, is definitely dissolute with his recovery from opium addiction. However, he does recognize that he needs to find self-respect for himself and not view his heroine, Margaret, as a replacement to the drug.
Hero of My Heart is another historical romance with a dissolute hero, and like in Temptations of Anna Jacobs, I found that it also worked here. Alasdair comes to the rescue of Mary, marries her but ultimately doesn’t plan on staying around because of his addiction to opium. Again, it’s nice to see the hero turn it all around.