by Kate Worth
Genres: Historical Romance
When pastry chef Jane Gray tries to sell a locket to an upscale Victorian boutique, she becomes the unlikely subject of a massive police hunt and fodder for London's salacious tabloid press. Secrets unravel, lies are exposed, and Jane finds the last thing she expected... love. Jane works tirelessly to provide a good life for her adopted daughter Pip, but her peaceful, predictable existence is shattered when the Duke of Rutledge demands custody of his niece. Charming and handsome, the duke's younger brother Finn spends his leisure time between the sheets of London's most beautiful, wanton women. The seasoned rake is perplexed by his growing attraction to demure, virtuous Jane... definitely not his usual type. If she were any other woman, he would simply make her his mistress. Instead, he is forced to consider more honorable means of achieving his desires. While eagerly plotting her submission, he fabricates excuses to spend time with her. It soon becomes evident there is more to Jane than meets the eye, and Finn longs to possess the passionate, sensual woman hidden beneath her modest facade. When a scandal rag threatens to print false stories about the duke and his "love child," Finn offers marriage under the guise of protection, but his true motives are less altruistic. Jane's marriage draws the attention of a madman from her past. When his beloved wife is threatened, Finn enters London's dangerous underworld in a heart-stopping race to save the woman and child who have become his whole world.
The author gifted me a copy of The Promise and I was immediately intrigued by the synopsis. While the cover whore in me said, “Meh.” Well, let me assure you that the tale within was positively delightful. I laughed, I cried and I giggled. Worth spun a tale that I consumed in a single afternoon and I have the dirty laundry to prove it!
Pastry chef Jane Gray works in the bakery and lives in the apartments about. She is twenty-four years old and mother to five-year-old Pip. When an outbreak occurs from poor drinking water, Jane becomes concerned for Pip’s future and decides to set up a trust fund. She tries to sell Pip’s locket at a fine Victorian jeweler and finds herself the center of a police hunt, accused of stealing a Duke’s jewelry and featured on the cover of a tabloid press. She realizes that the only way to handle her predicament is to go and speak with the Duke of Rutledge. She and Pip make the walk to his mansion and the tale that unfolds was positively delicious. Filled with suspense, mystery, secrets and a swoon-worthy romance I found myself completely captivated.
Worth introduces us to some delightful characters. Jane, despite her attire, and status as a pastry chef reminded me of a young Audrey Hepburn. (At least that is how she appeared in my head) She is level-headed, tough as nails, feminine and a wonderful mother to Pip. I loved how confident she appeared on the outside. Pip was positively adorable and had such a bubbly wonderful personality; I just wanted to squeeze her. Finn is the younger brother of Cameron the Duke of Rutledge and convinced he will never marry; as he likes an ever-changing menu in his bedchambers. The Duke, ah the Duke he comes off as a snob but cares for his family. This is not Cameron’s story, but the author assures me that we will get his tale soon. *sigh* I loved the banter between Jane and Finn. I found his awakening to his own feelings for her endearing. I loved the Duchess and laughed at this meddling mom. A cast of secondary characters add to the tale, and I especially liked Peckman.
I really enjoyed the tale Worth spun and found the flow of the tale to be engaging. How Jane came to possess the locket and have the status of an unwed mother was fascinating; as was Jane’s backstory. From the moment she stepped into the Rutledge home I become completely swept up in the tale. While I would have liked to get a better sense of Finn I adored watching the romance with Jane unfold. There was no insta-love, and the romance developed slowly with tension and excitement. Twists, suspense, villains, and secrets added to the tale making a tried and true formula feel original.
I recommend The Promise to fans of historical romance with a side of mystery and suspense. I have added Kate Worth to my author’s list and cannot wait for the Duke’s story. Her next book The Art of Desire: A love story is due to release soon.
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