My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The third of Courtney Milan’s Turner series, her Regencies following the Turner brothers, turned out to be just as entertaining as the first two. And in some ways, I found it the most satisfying of the three!
Of the three Turner brothers, Smite’s the one who engaged my sympathies the most when it came to the name he’d been saddled with by his Bible-obsessed mother: “‘The Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every living thing, as I have done.'” Between this, the nightmares he suffers as a result of his childhood, his near-perfect memory, and his absolutely perfect committment to justice in his work as a magistrate, Smite’s a deeply compelling character. And with Miranda Darling, a seamstress raised by actors, who’s pulled into the shadowy dealings of the mysterious figure known as the Patron, Smite’s got an excellent heroine to stand with him in the plot.
Miranda is desperate to keep her young charge Robbie away from the temptations of working for the Patron–even if it means putting herself at risk by working for the Patron herself. And when the opportunity arises, she leaps on the chance to become Smite’s mistress and gain his protection for both herself and Robbie. Their relationship is a stormy one indeed. And one of my very favorite things about this book is how Ms. Milan handled Miranda’s reaction to Smite’s childhood trauma, i.e., with a refreshing lack of angst. I grinned outright at Smite’s line to Miranda about how there’s a limit to how much sentimentality he’ll tolerate in a day, a line that exemplified the delightful lack of mawkish angst between them.
And of course, because this is a historical romance and this is how things must go, Miranda’s troubles with the Patron are not at all easily resolved. Yet again, though, Ms. Milan excels. In many other books I’ve read, much of the plot conflict would have been handled by Miranda having to hide her troubles from Smite. Instead, here, she reveals them up front and they work together to get them dealt with.
Throw in some fun side resolution with the Turner family nemeses the Dalrymples, and some fun scenes involving Smite’s lively dog, and all in all this was an excellent conclusion to the Turner trilogy. Four stars.