Honeycote, Book 1
Synopsis: Some rules simply beg to be broken…
A dressmaker in London’s busiest shop, Miss Anabelle Honeycote overhears the ton‘s steamiest secrets—and (occasionally) uses them to her advantage. It isn’t something she’s proud of, but the reluctant blackmailer needs the money to care for her gravely ill mother. To make up for her misdeeds, Anabelle keeps to a firm set of rules:
• Never request payment from someone who cannot afford it.
• Never reveal the secrets of a paying client.
• Never enter into any form of social interaction with a client.
Her list keeps her (somewhat) honest—until she encounters Owen Sherbourne, the Duke of Huntford. Not only does Owen nip Anabelle’s extortion plans in the bud, the devilishly handsome Duke soon has the sexy seamstress dreaming of more than silks and satins. With Owen, Anabelle enjoys pleasures she never imagined . . . until a scandal from the past resurfaces. Now her rules could mean his family’s ruin. Owen’s searing kisses carry the promise of passion, but how will he react when Anabelle’s most devastating secret is finally revealed?
Review: I had this novel for some time but I never took the time to read it. Yet I have a special attraction for historical romances so it was with pleasure when I took the time to get into the story. I did not remember the opinions about the novel, and that’s without preconceptions that I started the story. I can tell you that finally I’m happy about this first volume because I had a great time with the story and its characters. Before starting it, I’m always a bit anxious to have a fairly common history but I always look forward to see if the author has managed to present something different from what we would expect and I think that Anne Burton has completely succeeded in her challenge here and even more than that!
We find in the first chapter Annabelle, a young seamstress who is trying to provide for her family … Alas, her salary can not meet the pecuniary needs of her sister and her seriously ill mother. So to supplement her account, our beloved heroine has found nothing better than to sing influential people thanks to the gossip of her shop. The little she recovers manages to finance the precious medicine she wants, or it is in any case the case until she attacks someone stronger than her and that she finds herself caught by her victim. The deal: to avoid prison she has to come to work for the Duke of Huntford to make dresses for her two younger sisters. But now, Annabelle did not expect to fall in love with her employer and vice versa. Alas, even if the duke is looking for a wife, Belle can’t claim the title due to her origins. In addition to this, our seamstress is also at the heart of a story she can’t extricate herself from and which portrays the sisters of Duke. Telling them the truth could help, but she promised before not to do it….
I loved the idea of a young woman who is trying to defraud people especially when we know how she is and we wonder how she did it with her so nice and sweet temperament. What surprised me the most was the Duke’s desire to be with her without more between them and that despite the consequences he did not even try to hold back. It is thanks to this where we can assist to some very funny moments and lively discussions. In terms of Belle, we understand her desire for more, especially since she is now considered as an equal and no more like a servant. This is also why her relationship with Olivia and Rose is very touching, especially when we see that she really wants to do the best for them and that the two young women had become very dear to her heart. Yet her past catches up and she will also have to make difficult choices.
As I said, I had a great time with the story, the four main characters are all lovely and I took a great pleasure in discovering them. The new ideas added were interesting and I was really curious to see how the author would present us everything. In any case everything is very well written and I struggled to put the book down before the end. I’m curious enough now to read on and discover the Daph’s history, Belle’s sister!