ROMANCE

Lady Derring Takes a Lover

Avon. (Palace of Rogues, Bk. 1). Mar. 2019. 384p. ISBN 9780062867469. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062867476.HISTORICAL ROMANCE
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OrangeReviewStarLeft destitute by her debt-ridden husband's death save for a derelict building on the London docks, Delilah Swanpool, Countess of Derring, sees hope and independence under the dust and grime and, with the aid of her late husband's mistress (a quirky turn of events), sets about transforming the former Palace of Rogues into a respectable boarding house, the Grand Palace on the Thames. But there is more to her husband's past than she knows. The cigar smuggling trail leads Capt. Tristan Hardy to her door, and she has no idea that the far too attractive sea captain she has just rented a room to is eying her and her staff with suspicion. A resourceful, forthright heroine intent on living life on her own terms and a duty-bound hero give in to love and breathtaking passion in a story so lyrically written that parts of it read like poetry.
VERDICT Sparkling banter, deep character insights, and a colorful supporting cast bring a clever scheme to life, setting up a series to savor. Historical readers will rejoice with Long's return to the subgenre and will be intrigued by hints of the next "Rogues" title. Long (First Time at Firelight Falls) lives in Northern California. [An editor's pick, p. 21.]

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