My rating: Beach vacation (3/5)
I have to admit that I’m a bit picky with my historical romances and generally I will not pick one up if it features a widow. I’m not really sure why, but as soon as I read that in a description, I just feel put off. That said, I made an exception for Manda Collins’ Wicked Widow trilogy because I adored her Ugly Ducklings series, especially How to Romance a Rake. So with some trepidation I read the first two books in Wicked Widows. The first one was great, I was less enthralled with book two, but Why Lords Lose Their Hearts was the best of the bunch.
Perdita is the widowed Duchess of Ormond, and as readers learned in book one, Perdita, her sister Isabella, and their friend, Georgina, were all present the night that the Duke of Ormond died. In fact, they appear to have a had a hand in ushering the duke off into the afterlife. Not that they didn’t have good reason. Ormond was abusing Perdita, and had been since the honeymoon period of their marriage faded. On this particular evening, Ormond threatened Perdita’s life and the ladies had to do something to stop him. Now that Perdita is free from her husband she has been considering marrying again; however, she no longer trusts her own judgement and is unwilling to marry for love. If she didn’t suspect that Ormond would hurt her, how can she trust that she can make a better decision the second time around? Unfortunately, Perdita’s husband hunt is complicated by threatening letters, indicating that someone knows what truly happened to the duke and means to make Perdita pay.
Coming to Perdita’s aid is the former and current Duke of Ormond’s man of affairs, Lord Archer. Archer has pretty much been in love with Perdita since he’s met her, and now that she is free to remarry he’s starting to press his suit. Perdita certainly feels an attraction to Archer, but she’d rather have an affair and marry someone that she doesn’t actually care about. To an extent, I think Perdita’s opinion is reasonable, but I couldn’t help but view as a little demeaning towards Archer, and you can’t help but hope that Perdita will come to this realization on her own. Nothing like a death threat to bring two people together.
Archer is extremely patient with Perdita. Now that he’s aware of the abuse that she suffered at the hands of her first husband, he does feel guilty but he thankfully never goes into overbearing territory, allowing Perdita to come into her own independence once again. If you’re looking for a beta hero, Archer is your man. These types of heroes are why I like Collins’ historicals. She doesn’t write super overbearing alpha males, which is a nice change in a genre filled with the domineering rakes. So if you’re looking for a more balanced romance, Why Lords Lose Their Hearts is the romance for you.
I should also mention the intrigue plot that cropped up in the final installment of the series. Readers of the first two will know that all three women that witnessed the death of Ormond received threatening notes. In Why Lords Lose Their Hearts we finally learn who the mastermind is behind the “I know what you did last season” notes. There are several suspects offered up, and it’s not till the end that suspicions are confirmed. I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of the intrigue element, I’m perfectly happy for my romances to be about the hero and heroine falling in love and not investigating a mystery. So I personally wasn’t that invested in the intrigue plot and I could have done without it. I’d really like to see the author write something with less intrigue, since I think she conveys a great emotional relationship in her romances, sometimes I feel like the mystery gets in the way.
Ultimately, Why Lords Lose Their Hearts was a nice conclusion to the trilogy. All the loose ends were tied and everyone got their happy ending. You couldn’t go wrong with this one if you’re looking for a romantic read with a side of mystery.
*Review provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
When reading Why Lords Lose Their Hearts I was immediately reminded of Lorraine Heath’s The Last Wicked Scoundrel. Like Perdita, Winnie was abused by her husband and is resistant to entering a relationship once again. Luckily, she has a handsome and patient doctor waiting on her.
Like Perdita, Prudence of the forthcoming What a Wallflower Wants has a traumatic past that she has to deal with in order to move towards her happily ever after. It’s horrible what happened to Prudence, but like Archer, her heroine also has the patience and respect and willingness to wait for her.
Lastly, I’ll recommend Mary Balogh’s The Escape. There is something in the tone that each book strikes that is very similar. Like Perdita, Samantha takes her time in coming to terms with the idea of a new relationship after the death of her husband. As always, Balogh writes quietly but has a huge emotional impact.