Series: Dark Regency
Author: Chasity Bowlin
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: January 7, 2015
Publisher: Chasity Bowlin
Lord Michael Sutherland, Viscount Ellersleigh, is infamous amongst the ton for his powers of seduction and his prowess as a lover. Running from his own ennui and a lover who fancies herself his future wife, Michael retreats to the country and a crumbling, haunted castle won in a game of chance...a castle occupied by an innocent and oh so tempting young woman, Miss Abbigail Barrows.
But country life proves to be anything but quiet. At a debauched house party, Michael finds himself confronted with an unfortunate quandary, marry Abbigail, an innocent, or hang for murder.
Residing at Blagdon Hall, Michael's faced with the dilemmas of seducing his new wife, who seems to be impervious to his charm, and unraveling the mystery of Blagdon Hall's resident ghost and the nefarious goings on at the neighboring estate.
Lord Michael Sutherland, Viscount Ellersleigh, flees London to seek solitude in a derelict property acquired through a game of cards. But before he can relax in his new home, he has to evict (for propriety's sake) his new home's young female resident, Miss Abigail Barrows, cousin of the previous owner. At least, she has a place to go—the neighboring estate, to live with her stepsister and her husband.
Michael accepts the stepsister's invitation to a party the next day, but only to see for himself that Abby is well. Unfortunately, the party turns into a barely-veiled orgy, Michael has to fight off the stepsister's advances, save Abby from the stepsister's husband's advances, while also acquiring an alibi for the murder of his new home's previous owner.
But marrying Abby, who provided the alibi, is the least of his problems. And just the beginning...
While the previous story was well-paced in terms of the main plot, paranormal elements, and mystery, intrigue and chills, this one wasn't so lucky. Nothing was jarring, because nothing could be, since everything moved at a snail's pace. It wasn't boring, but it wasn't swift and overly interesting either. The least interesting aspect turned out to be the mystery, since there was nothing mysterious about it—everything was out in the open; no red herrings, no misleads, no mysterious villains lurking in the shadows, no obscure motives. Everything was clearly laid out, resulting in a very flimsy suspenseful subplot with a sluggish, heavy pace.
The paranormal element was also barely present—one measly ghost. And a benign one to boot. Meh.
The only saving grace were the characters. I've loved Michael from the first moment he appeared in his friend's book, and I adored him in his story as well. He was a bit stubborn and high-handed at times, but nothing overly boorish. His heroine was likeable, when she wasn't acting slightly TSTL-ish and argumentative for arguments' sake, but that's pretty much all the impression I got. She was pretty bland and generic. I'm looking forward to Spencer's story—he's redeemed himself in my eyes in this one, and I'm curious to see what makes him tick. It was lovely seeing Rhys and Emme again, and their two scenes together truly livened up the story.
This one would've worked better with a little more meat to it, with a little less overt suspense/mystery element, and a more hefty resolution compared to the rather easy fix that was the end of this story.