Review: Hellions of Havisham series – Lorraine Heath

This is a four book series (one of them is acctually a novella) with the stories of the duke of Ashebury, the earl of Greyling and the viscount Locksley (the fourth one is about the marquess of Marsden). What bring this characters together is a tragedy: when they were children, Nicholson Lambert, the duke of Ashebury, and Albert Alcott, the earl of Greyling (and his twin brother, Edward) lost their parents. Due to that, the boys were sent to live with the marquess of Marsden, a madman, and his son, Locksley.

And I can’t say how much I loved this premise! The fact that these boys, these friends, love each other as they were brothers. So much could come of that!

The first book of this series, Falling into bed with a duke (in brazilian portuguese: Codinome Lady V), was my first contact with Lorraine Heath. In fact, when I bought it, I almost forgot it was on my Bookshelf. It was only last month that I decided to read it. My friend told me she loved the story, and I have to check it out, right? And wel… I loved it too!

Take a look at the synopsis for the english version (the brazilian portuguese synopsis is a little bit different):

After six unsuccessful Seasons, Miss Minerva Dodger chooses spinsterhood over fortune-hungry suitors. But thanks to the Nightingale Club, she can at least enjoy one night of pleasure. At that notorious establishment, ladies don masks before choosing a lover. The sinfully handsome Duke of Ashebury is more than willing to satisfy the secretive lady’s desires — and draws Minerva into an exquisite, increasingly intimate affair.​​​​​

A man of remarkable talents, Ashe soon deduces that his bedmate is the unconventional Miss Dodger. Intrigued by her wit and daring, he sets out to woo her in earnest. Yet Minerva refuses to trust him. How to court a woman he has already thoroughly seduced? And how to prove that the passion unleashed in darkness is only the beginning of a lifetime’s pleasure?

So, in short: Miss Minerva Dodger is sick and tired of fortune-hungry suitors that doesn’t care about her at all. She’s not becoming any younger (and we’re talking about the 19th century), so she decides she deserves a night of passion, that she deserves to feel wanted for at least one night in her life. With that in mind, she goes to the Nightingale Club, a club for both women and men who want pleasure – and no attachments. The rules are: women wears masks and men dress up as they would for a social gathering. In this club, Minerva soon is drawn to the duke of Ashebury… and the attraction is reciprocal.

And this is how their love story begins…

Minerva is such an amazing character! A strong-minded woman, clever and fun, who’s not afraid to say what she thinks and act to persue her own happiness. I also loved her background and her family. Sadly I didn’t read the book about her brother – who also happens to be a duke – but it seens like a great one, and I’m pretty sure that Minerva must appear in it. Anyway, she’s got all these qualities, but there’s room for some insecutiry too. Due to her dowry, Minerva captured the attention of a lot of suitors… but none of them ever seemed to acctualy like her. It made her think that she doesn’t have anything to attract men…

But Nicholson Lambert, also known as the duke of Ashebury, proves her wrong. He is instantly fascinated by Minerva – even thow he doesn’t know who se is. She’s wearing a mask when they first met, but everything about her intrigues him: her body, her voice, her mouth, her hair, her smell. He soon discovers who she is, but instead of telling Minerva that he found out her secret, he continues to pretend he doesn’t know she’s the woman from the club. And in real life he starts the courting.

But of course not everything is this simple. For starters, Minerva is constantly doubting Ashe’s attention. And it doesn’t help when she finds out that her beloved duke is broke. So Ashe must do what he can to prove to Minerva that he loves her, and that he would have her no matter what – having Money or not.

It’s a great book. Fun, sexy and also very touching. I mentioned it already, but can’t hurt to say one more time. Ashe suffered a great loss when he was a child, but because of that loss, he gained three brothers. Their relationship is explored during the whole book and it’s one of the best things of the story. Also the chemistry between the main couple. It’s like Minerva and Ashe were meant to be together: they complete each other, fulfill each other. Where one is empty, the other is full. Looks like a relationship that would totally work in real life (if men like Ashebury existed lol).

Also, is this first book we’re introduced to the main characters of the second one, The earl takes all, that, for me, is even better than the first one! In fact, I think this one turned out to be one of my favorite historical romances ever (and yes, you totally have to read Falling into bed with a duke to read The earl takes all).

Let’s see the synopsis:

One summer night, Edward Alcott gives in to temptation and kisses Lady Julia Kenney in a dark garden. However, the passion she stirs within him is best left in the shadows as she weds his twin, the Earl of Greyling. But when tragedy strikes, to honor the vow he makes to his dying brother, Edward must pretend to be Greyling until the countess delivers her babe.​​​​​​​​​

After her husband returns from a lengthy sojourn, Julia finds him changed. Bolder, more daring, and more wicked—even if he does limit their encounters to kisses. With each passing day, she falls more deeply in love.

For Edward the embers of desire sparked on that long-ago night are quickly rekindled. He yearns to be her husband in truth. But if she discovers his ruse, she will despise him—and English law prevents him from marrying his brother’s widow. Yet he must dare to risk everything and reveal his secrets if he is to truly take all.

​​The synopsis alone makes you wanna read this book so much (I’ll confess that for me, a huge fan of the mexican soap opera A usurpadoraThe usurper, this book is almost like everything I needed hahaha. By the way, if you didn’t watch this soap opera, you should).

I was very curious to find out how the book was going to end, since Edward and Julia could never marry (the law said so) and most of the historical romances we read and love end up with a wedding. All I can say is that, although a little predictable, is a very good ending for a really great couple!

Edward Alcott, the twin and younger – by one hour – brother of Albert, the earl of Greyling, always felt something for his brother’s wife, Julia, which started when Edward kissed Julia in a garden, before she got married to Albert. And, as far as Edward knows, the only thing he can do about it is to misstreat Julia, so no one ever finds out about his feelings.

Julia is also moved by Edward’s kiss, but it doesn’t stop her from marrying Albert – who she loves – and she remain happily married until her husband dies during a trip to Africa. But Julia thinks that her brother in law is the one who died! She notices that her husband is a little different, but convinces herself that is all because of the grief Albert is going through. The only problem is that she kinda like the “new husband” more than she liked the “old one”… and it messes up with her when she discovers that this new Albert is actually Edward, the twin brother who has always hated her.

Ok, I’ll confess: I find very hard do believe that a woman would not recognize her husband and his twin, but we’re talking about fiction, so everything is possible. And that said…

It’s really a great book! I enjoyed pretty much everything in it: Edward, Julia and the fact that we are compelled to like and miss Albert, but not so much as to make us unlike Edward. Another thing: I never felt like it was a book about betrayal, although many people could see it like that (and that, in real life, I’d problably get pissed if the sister I don’t have married my widow husband). Julia’s feelings for both the twins are special and unique on their own ways.

If your looking for a fun, sexy, dramatic and surprising book, this is the one for you! 😊

Now I’m waiting for the third book, the one about Locke (it hasn’t been published here in Brazil yet), so I haven’t read the whole series… but as far as I can tell, it’s totally worth it!

Hope you enjoyed,

With love, Roberta.

Posted by Roberta Ouriques

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