Thanks to NetGalley and Central Avenue Publishing for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: January 12th, 2021
Synopsis: In the twilight of a November evening, Sir Henry March, a man of wealth and charm, comes across a badly beaten Eliza, desperate to escape her cruel stepfather. Realizing she has nowhere to go, Sir Henry takes her home to Mayfair.
There, as she recovers, Henry introduces the lovely Eliza to a world of art and literature she never knew existed. But Eliza’s brutal world follows her to London where the salons of the aristocratic elite co-exist with the back alleys of the criminal underground.
Thankfully Henry, a secret agent to the crown is able and willing to deal with the man Eliza’s stepfather had sold her to, and the pimp who plans to enslave her.
As romance blossoms between them, Eliza unearths an old secret that leads them into the dark sadistic world of sex trafficking, and finally allows Henry to identify the traitor responsible for selling military secrets to the French, causing the death of thousands.
A natural at the spy game, Eliza proves herself a worthy partner in their fight for truth and justice. But with time running out, and the fate of one girl hanging in the balance, Henry and Eliza must find a way to outwit a nasty pimp and eliminate a dangerous enemy agent.
The Innkeeper’s Daughter caught my eye both for the beautiful cover, and because the premise seemed reminiscent of My Fair Lady, albeit a much darker version. I sped through this in two sittings, so obviously it was fast-paced and kept me reading. Henry and Eliza are both quite affable and I enjoyed the dialogue between them. I wish Eliza had been written a little older though, even just by a couple of years. A romantic relationship between a man in his early thirties, and a girl barely eighteen, left me a little unsettled, especially given the graphic sex scenes. The secondary characters are equally well-written and had very interesting backstories which added immensely to the main plot. The best part of the story though, was the political intrigue and mystery and that’s what kept me engrossed. Although the villain was revealed fairly early on, there were enough exciting twists to keep me guessing. The ending wraps things up neatly and sets the stage perfectly for the next book, The Gentleman’s Daughter which will be released in July 2021. As you can tell, The Innkeeper’s Daughter isn’t your usual frothy Regency romp. The romance between the two main characters I could have done without, and there are some extremely dark themes here including: sex trafficking, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. In addition to the steamy romantic escapades, there are a couple of graphic sexual torture scenes that made me cringe a bit, but overall I found this to be quite unique in such a crowded genre and I found the story and characters both memorable and entertaining. I’ll definitely be reading the next book.