Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Series: The Palace of Rogues #1
Also in this series: Angel in a Devil's Arms
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler » No « Hide Spoiler
Content Warning: View Spoiler » Sexual Situations, Sexual Assault « Hide Spoiler
Genres: Historical Romance
Length: 9 hours and 13 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
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A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.
Delilah Swanpoole, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.
But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.
They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?
Lady Derring Takes a Lover is the first book in Julie Anne Long’s Palace of Rogues series. I’ve been waiting years for JAL to return to historicals and y’all, I am not disappointed. This book was everything I needed it to be.
When Delilah Swanpool, the Countess of Derring’s husband unexpectedly dies, she’s left completely destitute. Even the gloves she’s wearing were bought on credit and not paid for. The only thing she’s left with is a building on the docks. With help from a most unlikely source, she decides to turn it into a boarding house. A respectable place where guests feel like family.
Captain Tristan Hardy is hunting for a smuggling ring at the King’s request. He’s ready to retire as the King’s man and he’s having a ship built, but he has to finish this job first. When signs point to Lady Derring’s late husband as a player in the smuggling ring, he decides to investigate. He’s sure The Palace of Rogues – newly renamed The Grand Palace on the Thames – is somehow involved, but he isn’t sure if the lovely new proprietors are smugglers or not. He takes a room to investigate and finds himself oddly smitten with Lady Derring herself.
I absolutely adored the unlikely friendship between Delilah and Angelique. I cannot say enough about the two of them forming a partnership and how empowering that was. I loved the romance, but these ladies 100% made the book for me. Delilah’s personal growth and the way her friendship grows with Angelique was also lovely to read about.
Tristan and Delilah had boatloads of chemistry, and I loved their wit and banter. Their connection came through as strong and special.
I’ll be honest, as much as I loved the romance, the book could have focused solely on Delilah and Angelique and I’d have been happy.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5