Inescapable, undeniable and impossible to resist!
In a Mayfair ballroom, beautiful Emma Northcote stands in amazement. For gazing at her with eyes she’d know anywhere is Ned Stratham – the man whose roguish charm once held her captivated.
But that was another life, in another part of London.
With their past mired in secrets and betrayal, and their true identities now at last revealed, Ned realises they can never rekindle their affair. For only he knows that they share a deeper connection – one that could make Emma hate him if she ever discovers the truth…
Gentlemen of Disrepute
Rebellious rule-breakers, ready to wed!
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A meeting of two worlds
This story finds a reversal of fortunes for both the leading characters and it really keeps up an edge to the whole thing.
You have Edward Stratham a self made man. Growing up in Whitechapel and now living in one of the most exclusive addresses in London. Ned has used hard work to get him out of the slums and East End of London. He however still goes back, so he can think, rest and eat and drink his favourites, Pork Chops and Porters.
Enter into his life with a bang, Emma de Lisle a woman out of place in a Chop House in Whitechapel sounding like a lady. Emma’s family had fallen hard into poverty. The only ones left of her family are Emma and Bill de Lisle her father, who work hard to make a life for themselves. Emma is a waitress at a Chop House and William works in a warehouse near the docks. De Lisle is not the family name and when it is exposed it certainly adds colour to the story. Real names Emma and William Northcote. This name has importance for Ned.
Anyway, Emma is accosted and Ned comes to her rescue on more than one occasion. This strikes a deep friendship between the two of them. Ned reveals he has to leave for a few weeks but will Emma wait and she said, she would but then she has the offer of a job of companion to return her to the world she is most familiar with. Soul searching very deeply and persuaded partly by her father she accepts the position with one the ton’s greatest gossips, Lady Lamerton. Everyone thinks that her family had retired to the country to retrench but their turn of fortunes were such that they had nothing left. So Emma had to keep up the pretence of her father being in the country.
Emma and Ned meet in the ton world and sparks fly in more than one way. Emma is upset and so is Ned when he finds her true identity out.
Add to the mix, friends of Emma’s brother Kit who is missing and Ned’s friend from Whitechapel Rob, their worlds clash time and time again. Kit’s friends including Devlin are not the nicest of people. All with titles and grown up in privilege they take a dislike to Ned and especially when he gets close to Emma. There is a fair amount of advance and retreat in the story, which was OK at the beginning but got a little tiresome nearer the end. Things really happen fast perhaps too fast at the end. The story has a lot of merit and the later chapters are definitely tissue box moments but things are left in the air which I hope will be covered with Kit’s story next time.
It was wonderful of the author to tell us that Kit’s story is coming soon but I hope the wait is not too long and that we see Ned and Emma again soon and Rob and William too. The story takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions but it has a beautiful ending but it leaves you wanting more.
Mrs McPhee continues to impress with this traditional Regency with an interesting and fresh slant.
Set both in a a seedy and salubrious area of London the characters are highly appealing - Ned a wonderful hero but with a seemingly dark and tortured side and Emma strong and determined although somewhat impetuous.
The author skilfully interweaves an intriguing hint of mystery into the plot - you can feel the attraction between them but something is keeping them apart and the denouement will be a surprise! Even the "villain" is not all he seems!
A delightful and engrossing Historical - more in this vein please, M&B.
Ten out of ten
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