Thanks to NetGalley and Central Avenue Publishing for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: July 6th, 2021
Synopsis: The Gentleman’s Daughter is the second in a darkly entertaining historical romance mystery series set in Regency London…
Sir Henry, secret agent to the crown, must marry a lady above reproach to afford his illegitimate daughter entrance into society. After narrowly escaping marriage to a highborn bigot, he takes an assignment in Brighton, leading him to an abandoned abbey full of dark whispers, and a sinister secret society, the very one Henry has been investigating for three years.
Isabella is as beautiful as she is talented, but falling in love isn’t part of her plans. She only wants to paint, forget her painful past, and keep her overbearing mother at bay. But gaining one’s independence isn’t easy for a woman in 1823, so Isabella embarks on a fake courtship with Sir Henry. Soon, love and a painting career no longer seem so utterly incompatible.
But when the man Isabella fears most kidnaps her, all appears lost. Realizing the kidnapper is part of the same organization he is investigating, Henry chases after them. Entrapped in a web of secrets, both Henry and Isabella must face old enemies, and fight for their happily ever after. (Goodreads)
The Gentleman’s Daughter is a wonderful sequel to The Inkeeper’s Daughter, that much to my delight, surpasses the first book in The Gentleman Spies series.
I was immediately pulled into the story and easily finished this in two sittings. Like its predecessor, this is not your typical frothy Regency romance, as it deals with much darker themes such as: sex trafficking, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and espionage.
My main issue with The Innkeeper’s Daughter was that I was uncomfortable with the romance between Henry (who is in his 30s), and Eliza (who is barely 18). Thankfully the age difference between Henry and Isabella is not such a yawning chasm. Although their romance is a slow burn through much of the book, I almost immediately loved them as a couple and was rooting for them the entire time. There are some fairly steamy scenes between the two, but they’re well written and believable. While I thought the middle of the book was noticeably slower than the rest, this wasn’t a huge issue and it didn’t take long for the action to pick back up. The ending wrapped up any loose ends ends which left me quite pleased.
Although The Gentleman’s Daughter is the second book in this series, you needn’t have read the first as this does an excellent job recapping without taking away from the current storyline. What I love about this series thus far is though it maintains the Regency setting which I love, Bianca Schwarz is unafraid to go deeper and darker, which makes The Gentleman Spies series quite unlike most others of its genre.