Review copy was received from Author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Envy and Favor by Faye Hall
Series: Sins of the Virtuous #6
on July 19, 2019
Genres: Historical Romance
For years Atol Livia has desired only one thing—to move north, far from the corruption of his father's business, and start a life with the woman he loves. That is if Anna Jenel can look past his poverty and will agree to marry him. When Anna informs him that she gave her heart to him long ago, never once caring about any wealth he might have, he's elated. But their plans are delayed when Atol's father is found murdered. Once Atol has finally settled his obligations and is able to leave town, he goes to collect Anna but discovers that she is gone.
Anna doesn't understand why her father whisked her away in the middle of the night to travel north. When they arrive, she finds a fully operational cattle station, and an associate of her father's willing to do anything to gain possession of it—even marry her.
When Atol arrives up north, all he can think of is being reunited with Anna. But he soon discovers that the man who murdered his father now has his eyes set on Anna and will do whatever is necessary in order to have her as his wife. This man is determined to gain possession of Anna's cattle station and the orange sapphires hidden there.
Their fathers are business partners in a club with shady goings on, but they have grown up in two different worlds. Will their love withstand parental expectation and a dark plot of revenge? I am always eager to try a new to me author particularly when her spicy historical romance is set in 1865 Australia.
Envy and Favour is the sixth in a series of standalone romances and I had no trouble jumping in with this book.
Atol is a young man who is grown now and beginning to make his own way as an accountant while working as the bouncer at his father’s club. He’s young and untried in many ways, but he has learned through bad experience that he doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps and he is burdened to help his sister who works at the club and prostitutes herself for her drug addiction. His life is further complicated as he develops romantic feelings for the gorgeous, willful daughter of his father’s more prosperous business partner. It can never work out for them as she has been groomed to fit into the genteel, wealthy society of the town.
Anna has been kept sheltered and given a gentle woman’s education, but her spirit feels suppressed and the constraints of the life her father wishes for her. Her eyes stray to Atol who is gentleman in action and unlike all the sons of the social set. He sees her as naïve and somewhat spoiled and she can’t understand his serious need to hold her at arm’s length.
Meanwhile, one of her father’s associates has his eye fixed on both marrying Anna and acquiring the wealth of her inheritance- a cattle station in the north. He ruthlessly puts his plan into motion and dark secrets slowly are revealed that will endanger Anna, Atol, and their families.
Envy and Favour has the flavor of a gritty, Old West-style story though set against the Australian backdrop. It was fun coming across different terminology and descriptions that made it clear this was Australia. Revenge, rough men, murder, trafficking, drugs, and loot with shades of gray characters make for a suspenseful tale I read swiftly to the finish.
I wasn’t keen on Anna in the beginning but as she encountered tough, hard facts and learned from them my respect grew so that I liked her as much as poor Atol, who was a true blue sort and was stuck with a slightly shady parent and a sister fighting her addictions.
There were some confusing moments when I wasn’t sure how things got where they were and the characters and relationships were sketched in lightly, but overall this was an exciting historical romantic adventure that left me satisfied and curious to try more of the author’s books. Those who want a fast-read action-packed historical romance should definitely give this book/series a look-see.
Available for purchase at 4th Avenue Press.
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