Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
In the Dark with the Duke by Christi Caldwell
Narrator: Tim Campbell
Series: Lost Lords of London #2
Published by Brilliance Audio on June 9, 2020
Genres: Historical Romance
Length: 10 hours, 8 minutes
Eight years ago, Lady Lila March retreated to the safe shadows of her family’s estate after a devastating tragedy. Weary of being a whisper of her former self, she is determined to brave the dangers of the outside world again. No man is better equipped to train her in the art of defense than the Savage Gentleman, East London’s undefeated street fighter.
Hugh Savage reigns as king—of the underworld. Physically invulnerable, emotionally battered, he has his reasons for bare-knuckle brawling. Though Hugh longs to break free of the ring and leave behind the brutal world of violence, he’s intrigued by the challenge Lady Lila poses. A mysterious lady of the peerage willfully descending into the dangerous rookeries? That bespeaks a woman with secrets of her own.
As their unconventional pact progresses, Hugh comes to admire the resolve in Lila’s heart. And beneath his hard surface, she sees a tenderness that touches her to the quick. They’ll soon discover how much they need each other—to face their pasts together, and to fight for a future they deserve.
I definitely like the concept of the Lost Lords of London series, where sons of the gentry were stolen away and presumed dead so others could inherit. In the Dark with the Duke is the second book of the series and follows another boy brought up in the underbelly of London only to find out later he is noble born.
This is one of those Historical Romances that I really wish I knew more about the time period. The heroine has been in isolation since she was part of the crowd at the massacre of Peterloo. I really didn’t know anything about the events of that day in English history and so it felt like it took forever to get to why she was basically a hermit for almost a decade. Lila has a pretty severe case of PTSD but to help her sister re-enter society, she wants to feel like she can defend them if another tragedy should strike. Who better to teach her than the undefeated champion of the underground fighting rings?
Savage was taken at a young age and doesn’t remember his life before being in a thieving gang. He was sold into fighting a few years after that and only barely escaped the life before he got killed. Now he fights for his own reasons and to help the kids he left behind, now men, find the gentry responsible for running the ring. He doesn’t need the distraction that is Lila, but there is something about the woman and her tenaciousness he can’t seem to forget, that sings to him. What harm will it be to help her learn a few things about fighting?
Overall, I liked the slow burn of the story. Lila really struggled with social interactions and sarcasm was totally lost on her. It was a little endearing to be honest and made me like her character in her struggle to re-enter the world. Hugh Savage is also a pretty likable character, he has been through some hard times and is trying to make up for his past in the only way he knows how. There are a few things about his character that aren’t very believable but like most romances I read I pretty much let them go and didn’t let it derail my reading.
Like most historical romance, you don’t need to have read any other books in the series or by this author to jump into it.
Tim Campbell is no novice to the narration of Historical Romance and brings a very nice voice and tone to the book. I’m sure my enjoyment of this book was greater due to his narration. I listened to this at my usual 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Robin Audio20