The Lord I Left (The Secrets of Charlotte Street, #3)
He’s a minister to whores… She’s a fallen woman… Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham is an evangelical reformer charged with investigating the flesh trade in London. His visits to bawdy houses leave him with a burning desire to help sinners who’ve lost their innocence to vice—even if the temptations of their world test his vow not to lose his moral compass…again.As apprentice to London’s most notorious whipping governess, Alice Hull is on the cusp of abandoning her quiet, rural roots for the city’s swirl of provocative ideas and pleasures—until a family tragedy upends her dreams and leaves her desperate to get home. When the handsome, pious Lord Lieutenant offers her a ride despite the coming blizzard, she knows he is her best chance to reach her ailing mother—even if she doesn’t trust him.He has the power to destroy her… She has the power to undo him…As they struggle to travel the snow-swept countryside, they find their suspicion of each other thawing into a longing that leaves them both shaken. Alice stirs Henry’s deepest fantasies, and he awakens parts of her she thought she’d foresworn years ago. But Henry is considering new regulations that threaten the people Alice holds dear, and association with a woman like Alice would threaten Henry’s reputation if he allowed himself to get too close.Is falling for the wrong person a test of faith …or a chance at unimagined grace?

The Lord I Left (The Secrets of Charlotte Street, #3) Details

TitleThe Lord I Left (The Secrets of Charlotte Street, #3)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 27th, 2020
PublisherNYLA
Rating
GenreRomance, Historical Romance, Historical, Historical Fiction, Adult

The Lord I Left (The Secrets of Charlotte Street, #3) Review

  • Jite
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars! Short form one sentence summary: OMG this book is FABULOUS!!!! I love this author!!!! I’ve been awaiting this book ever since The Earl I Tempted and the Christmas novella that followed that but I was also a little nervous because I’m Christian and my faith is important to me and I was worried that I would feel offended or like this book was anti-faith or something. I should have known better. I should have known that this author knows how to take a controversial issue, something 4.5 Stars! Short form one sentence summary: OMG this book is FABULOUS!!!! I love this author!!!! I’ve been awaiting this book ever since The Earl I Tempted and the Christmas novella that followed that but I was also a little nervous because I’m Christian and my faith is important to me and I was worried that I would feel offended or like this book was anti-faith or something. I should have known better. I should have known that this author knows how to take a controversial issue, something polemic, present it in a way that causes argument or discussion and leave you questioning your stance on things you were clear on before hand.Entering into this novel, yes, it DEFINITELY is heavily religious in theme and some of it feels inspirational but at it’s core, this is an erotic religious taboo romance that feels even hotter, sexier and more spicy for the tension and internal conflict the Methodist minister hero experiences, than if it had been a love scene-a-minute. I admire the author in taking on this kind of romance because I think there’s a lot of potential for it to be disliked. People who are Christian might be offended and people who are not, might feel like this has too much religious content. I would most definitely read the content warning / trigger warning at the beginning before jumping in (it’s probably visible in the book preview on any vendor online if you’re not purchasing in person) before getting this to see if this might be your thing. As a caveat, I was almost discouraged from reading by the CW but I went for it anyway and I’m so glad I did.The premise is that Henry, a Methodist minister (he was in the first couple of books as a very minor character), who would kind of be analogous to an evangelical Christian today, is the Lord Lieutenant of the House of Lords who has been appointed to look into vice, specifically prostitution, in the city. Alice, who works at the whipping house (BDSM club?) On Charlotte Street has taken an instant dislike to him because of his judgey ways. But when the two are thrown together on a perilous trip to the country, sparks fly and their lives are changed forever.I love that the author took on difficult topics like prostitution and the legality of it and how it is discussed and I also love the exploration of how it’s a conversation led by men, how society views it, the alternatives for women and most of all, how religion views it. I don’t think this was the most complete and most rounded take on these issues but I think for making these narratives and conversations be seamless and interesting on a romance novel, this was absolutely fabulous. I think as a person of faith, there’s a lot to pick at here- the author’s message with Henry and his journey as a character did not always align with my doctrine and beliefs as a person of faith like Henry but I felt like his conflicts were realistic and the message she had was important for anyone who ever wants to feel pride in what a perfect person of faith they are. This is a feminist romance and I like that the heroine wasn’t ever presented as the person that needed reforming and that she was strong in personality, funny and unashamedly who she was. Her swearing skills are beyond creative and I say this as a non-swearer! She had me on the floor. Also if you like the virgin hero trope, THIS IS IT done super realistically- Henry is not some kind of sexual savant and definitely Alice takes the lead and she’s also very open and unashamed of her rake-level experience. However, the weakness in this book, to me, is that this often felt like Henry’s book. He went through so much growth and transformation in this whereas the heroine, Alice, didn’t seem to have that experience. I liked her but I would have liked to see some growth from her as well in some way. Henry takes you on a journey with him whilst I feel like she started and ended very much in the same place. Is this for everyone? NO. I think a non-religious person reading this has to have some patience or interesting in religious taboo tropes or motifs and a religious (Christian) person reading this has to be the sort not to feel like their faith is threatened by divergent opinions and also be willing to think about the balance of legality and Grace in Christianity. But if you like a romance that will challenge you and that will make you think and have opinions and change your mind about certain things or further entrench you in what you already think or upset you in some way, Scarlett Peckham is your author. I highly recommend this if you like religious taboo or like “religious themes but make it sexy” in your romance.I think one thing Scarlett Peckham is absolutely brilliant at is writing books that push people. These aren’t books that are extraordinarily fluffy nor are they especially dark, but they’re challenging to existing mental models and push romance fans to re-examine stances on cheating (in The Duke I Tempted), find sympathy for a dead wrong, difficult heroine (in The Earl I Ruined) and overcome religious discomfort (with the amount of religious content or with the doctrine, depending on your POV) in this latest book in the Charlotte Street series, The Lord I Left. And this is my favourite thing about this author. That she pushes you but not for the sake of pushing you, but because she understands the complexities of human nature and in a romance, writes them soooooo sooooo very well!I received a free advanced copy of this through a competition on the author’s newsletter with no obligation to review. This was honestly SOOOO good though! I’m still floored!
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  • Niki
    January 1, 1970
    Henry Evesham's fiery evangelical writings have seen him made a Lord Lieutenant by the House of Lords and tasked with producing a report detailing his investigations of London's flesh trade, along with his recommendations for curbing vice. He truly wants to help those who've lost their innocence and been corrupted by or forced into a world of vice, even as he is tempted by that world and struggles to keep his moral compass in place and not slip up, again.Alice Hull is hoping to leave behind her Henry Evesham's fiery evangelical writings have seen him made a Lord Lieutenant by the House of Lords and tasked with producing a report detailing his investigations of London's flesh trade, along with his recommendations for curbing vice. He truly wants to help those who've lost their innocence and been corrupted by or forced into a world of vice, even as he is tempted by that world and struggles to keep his moral compass in place and not slip up, again.Alice Hull is hoping to leave behind her country roots and make a go of it in London as an apprentice to a notorious whipping house mistress. Her plans are derailed when mother suddenly falls ill and Alice must rush home with all possible haste. Given the difficulty of winter travel, Alice finds she cannot refuse the handsome but judgmental Lord Lieutenant when he offers to allow her to travel with him. She knows she can't trust him, but she must take her best chance at arriving in time to see her mother again.Their travels through the wintry countryside are fraught with mishaps which only serve to bring these two closer and make their mutual longing more apparent. Alice challenges Henry to examine his own heart more closely and he winds up inadvertently causing the same soul searching in Alice. But as a minister, Henry's reputation means everything and his association with Alice would ruin him thoroughly if he allowed himself to pursue his true desires.Wow. Y'all this book gave me all the feels. While it's not considered an inspirational, it explores tenets of faith that, as a Christian myself, I found to be very moving and well done. This was a difficult and ambitious topic to take on and I think the author did a fantastic job with it. Henry was so hard on himself and it was nice to see him realize he could still maintain his faith and enjoy some of life's pleasures as well. This book made me examine my own faith a bit as well and I really felt for the characters as they both grew and developed and managed to choose each other without compromising their principles but rather, by establishing what those principles truly were as they both developed in their faith. This book was an emotional powerhouse and as such won't be for everyone, but I enjoyed it and found the author to be very talented. I will continue to read her work and look forward to the next installment in this series.I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Elise
    January 1, 1970
    This was so great; review to come. Alice This was so great; review to come. 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥✝️Alice
  • Miccaeli
    January 1, 1970
    (3.5)This book (and series) is playing fast and loose with the standard conventions of the historical romance genre in a way a lot of people won't like but I'm actually really enjoying. I like that the male character is the inexperienced one and that the woman is confident about what she wants, both in her career/life and her desires. I like that it's set in a completely different time period (the 1750s?!?!? we're pre revolution here people!!!) and there's a very harlots-on-hulu aesthetic/vibe (3.5)This book (and series) is playing fast and loose with the standard conventions of the historical romance genre in a way a lot of people won't like but I'm actually really enjoying. I like that the male character is the inexperienced one and that the woman is confident about what she wants, both in her career/life and her desires. I like that it's set in a completely different time period (the 1750s?!?!? we're pre revolution here people!!!) and there's a very harlots-on-hulu aesthetic/vibe going on. The characters were well fleshed out and there's genuinely nothing that will bond you quicker than a quick trip through the old familial trauma. The ending was too schmaltzy for me, but then again they nearly always are. VERY excited for the next book with elena and that dude who just wants to make an honest woman of her!!!!
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I adored the first two books in this series, really, but was worried because Henry Evesham is introduced there and his character and actions make it unclear how he can ever be successfully matched in a series that centers around a London whipping house. That is, I saw that Henry, at his core, is not a bad person, but remained unconvinced he could find happiness with the sorts of characters (irreverent, moral individuals who are not obviously people of faith) who tend to populate Peckham's books. I adored the first two books in this series, really, but was worried because Henry Evesham is introduced there and his character and actions make it unclear how he can ever be successfully matched in a series that centers around a London whipping house. That is, I saw that Henry, at his core, is not a bad person, but remained unconvinced he could find happiness with the sorts of characters (irreverent, moral individuals who are not obviously people of faith) who tend to populate Peckham's books.Suffice it to say, I was not precisely expecting an incredibly sensitive, deep exploration of the boundaries between faith and love and an individual's duty to both God and their fellow man. I don't think I even knew to hope for one, that it would be probable or even possible. A gentle blend of unusual kink, deep faith, and historical romance. How refreshing. I love that Henry's deepest fantasy has a sexual element, absolutely, but is rooted in his desire to have someone take care of him. From that perspective, it's not bizarre at all that his desire manifests in a way that relates to his faith. I am sure that he and Alice's appointment will raise stodgy eyebrows, should they ever bother to read it, but I felt they came together in a beautiful way that was true to both of their natures. I am happy that Alice held out for a time when Henry could accept her without shame. I love that they both refused to live according others' expectations, despite what they were sure would be dire consequences, and both came out hale and hearty and together on the other side of "disgrace." I also love that they waited until they were married, although Henry surely did rush the wedding, lol. I recently read an essay by Jennifer Cruise that, among other things, pointed out the power of a romance where opposites attract. But when, and ONLY when, the differences cause the individuals involved to grow and change, and when the two are supremely compatible at their cores. In other words, soul mates whose souls find very different routes of expression. Alice and Henry are wonderful examples of this lesson: a genuinely faithful servant of God replete with emotional and sexual hang ups, and a randy whipping governess-in-training who lost her faith long ago. Or, two kind and giving people used to being on the outside looking in, melded together by music and a desire to care for the other.In an attempt to make a long review somewhat shorter, I'll simply say that Henry and Alice's story gave me far more than I expected to find. It is mature and fearless. It has religious, moral, and ethical chops for days. But also warmth, humor, and frank talk about sex. Peckham was already on insta-buy status, but this vaulted her into my exclusive cannot-wait-for-the-next-one-please-please-please realm. In the interests of full disclosure, I received an ARC by entering a contest run by the author. 
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  • Aila
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars out of 5 "Love is where the spirit of God and the nature of man meet. Tenderness, compassion, care, affection, kindness - here is where the best of the carnal meets the highest promise of the spiritual.In love, we can burn double." I've been a big fan of this series since the first book, and am happy to say that each book has gotten better and better for me. I enjoyed The Lord I Left from beginning to end, and afterwards, the only thought I had, was that I wanted more! Peckham really 4.5 stars out of 5 "Love is where the spirit of God and the nature of man meet. Tenderness, compassion, care, affection, kindness - here is where the best of the carnal meets the highest promise of the spiritual.In love, we can burn double." I've been a big fan of this series since the first book, and am happy to say that each book has gotten better and better for me. I enjoyed The Lord I Left from beginning to end, and afterwards, the only thought I had, was that I wanted more! Peckham really pushes the boundaries of feminist historical romances, in which she explores a lot of themes that the typical HR book wouldn't even come close to. This whole series revolves around the BDSM club on Charlotte Street, so immediately you have a unique premise. But this third book revolves around a Lord Lieutenant working for the church to report the best way to handle prostitutes on the streets and a girl actually working to become a Madam at the club on Charlotte Street. Opposites attract + hate to love + FLAMING CHEMISTRY = very excellent read. Henry is a deeply religious, deeply disciplined man who limits his behavior and controls his temptations on an enormous scale. Lots of self-derision in this one. Alice, on the other hand, is a free soul who is happy to use her body however she wants and says whatever she wants. On the surface level, they seem totally incompatible. But when a storm brings them closer to each other and they start opening up, they find that the other understands them in a way that nobody else can. And UGH if that doesn't pull at my heartstrings. Both characters deal with some character development, although Henry's is far greater. He goes from someone who hates his all-too-human desires to reconciling his religion and his love (as well as, yes, lmao, his kinks). I thought the religious aspects were handled quite well... the book never felt like it was pushing Henry's religion on the reader, and yet readers can still see how much he resonated with the words of God. I enjoyed how despite how religious Henry was, it didn't really quite change Alice's stance on religion (she's not as devout), which I think shows how the purpose of the religion aspect wasn't towards conversion, but more as an in-depth characterization of Henry. I loveddd the steamy scenes (my only wish is more of them!), and thought that Alice (who really understood Henry's temptations) empathized well with him, and he with her. Alice's character growth comes from accepting who she is, rather than hiding her job in London from her family. The dialogue is all very progressive, and I loved both characters. Henry was super sweet and charming (tbh shy guys are soo cute), while Alice was spunky and kinda wild (but a good kinda wild). They both provided an excellent foil to the other, making their chemistry super hot and dialogue very productive. Also, Alice was so empowering!!! She definitely had weaknesses, but her progressive stances during the time made her a welcome character.While the ending added an odd dramatic factor (really not sure why one scene was thrown in, but overall neutral about it), it follows the typical HR formula of forgiving and growing. All in all, the character tensions in this book and chemistry make this my favorite Peckham book yet. I can't wait to see what else she was in store for readers!
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  • Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5* This is the third book in Scarlett Peckham’s debut series and, like the others, it pushes boundaries and tests assumptions. It’s a delightfully odd hybrid of inspirational - hero and heroine come to know their love for one another in the light of God - and BDSM erotica, in which (amongst other things) the heroine masturbates on a bed post and the hero fantasises about Mary Magdalene. It’s what you get if you mix together tried and tested romance tropes (road trip, there’s only one bed, oops 4.5* This is the third book in Scarlett Peckham’s debut series and, like the others, it pushes boundaries and tests assumptions. It’s a delightfully odd hybrid of inspirational - hero and heroine come to know their love for one another in the light of God - and BDSM erotica, in which (amongst other things) the heroine masturbates on a bed post and the hero fantasises about Mary Magdalene. It’s what you get if you mix together tried and tested romance tropes (road trip, there’s only one bed, oops we’re snowed in) with moral theology. Henry Evesham, a Methodist minister and writer, has been tasked by parliament with writing a report on eradicating vice in London. His work takes him into the city’s brothels and dark alleys, where he strives to bring the light of his faith. On the outside he is the very picture of virtue and morality. The inside is another matter. Years of restraint, self denial, prayer and vigorous exercise haven’t changed the fact that Henry is burnt up with sinful lust. He allows himself no release, not even at his own hand, but yet his body won’t stop wanting what it wants. He is sorely tested by one woman in particular: Alice Hull, housekeeper and mistress in training at Elena Briarley’s Charlotte Street whipping house. Henry has been to the house several times at Elena’s invitation, in the hope that he might learn something of the benefits of safe, consensual sex work. Instead he leaves haunted by religious sexual fantasies of the dove-eyed Alice, of her ministering to him like the prostitute to Christ in the gospel of Luke. He’s determined not to think of her, except as a lost lamb to lead back to god, but that proves increasingly difficult when the two are forced to travel together, alone, in a very small chaise. Alice’s mother has been taken gravely ill and Henry offers to drive her home on his way to a family reunion. Bad weather, bad luck and salty banter work to waylay them. The pair have a mutual and undeniable attraction but how can they navigate it, when Henry is determined to resist it and Alice is scornful of his chastity? Their understandings of the moral law governing sex are so vastly different, it’s hard to see how they might come together without guilt or recrimination.Peckham explores Henry and Alice’s central conflict with a sympathy and grace that acknowledges both Henry’s faith and Alice’s sexual experience. In doing so she centralises one of romance’s great questions: how might we come to own our desires (for sex, for care, for love), and through owning those desires become more truly ourselves? More challengingly, how might two apparently opposite people do this together to create a partnership, in such a way that their autonomy and differences are respected? Highly recommended. Although I would suggest reading both The Duke I Tempted and The Earl I Ruined too (because they’re brilliant) there is no need to read this one in order. The pairings from the previous books make a cameo towards the end, but knowing their stories isn’t necessary.
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  • Heather Clawson
    January 1, 1970
    In the third book in her Secrets of Charlotte Street series, Scarlett Peckham tells the story of a minister who preaches to prostitutes and a woman who aspires to be a whipping governess - a most unlikely duo, but somehow Peckham weaves a tale that is both believable and full of emotion.The most striking thing about this novel was how real the characters felt while you were reading. Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham, a Methodist evangelical, who had appeared as an antagonist in the previous book in In the third book in her Secrets of Charlotte Street series, Scarlett Peckham tells the story of a minister who preaches to prostitutes and a woman who aspires to be a whipping governess - a most unlikely duo, but somehow Peckham weaves a tale that is both believable and full of emotion.The most striking thing about this novel was how real the characters felt while you were reading. Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham, a Methodist evangelical, who had appeared as an antagonist in the previous book in the series (The Earl I Ruined), is in this novel humanized as a man who is constantly struggling between faith and earthly desires. Both from his point of view (full of parenthetical asides that add needed levity to an otherwise heavy book) and from snippets of his journal, we see him grappling with himself and his faith in a way that feels fully authentic. The heroine, Alice Hull, who is a housekeeper at the highly secretive Charlotte Street whipping club, also deals with her own issues of lost faith and balancing one’s own desires with doing what one believes to be the right thing. Overall this is another excellent book by Scarlett Peckham. As in the previous two books in the series, this novel is especially angst-ridden, and it is a hard-won battle for the protagonists to get to their happy-ever-after. In the end, though, the struggle (and the read) is worth it! Can’t wait to see what this author does next!
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  • Jess (The Lives of A Reader)
    January 1, 1970
    Wow Wow Wow. I did not expect this to become a new favorite, or for it to be even be that good at all. Hardly any books that sound amazing lately turn out to be anything more than forgettable garbage. That’s why I haven’t been able to finish anything in months. But this . . . was so unexpected. I came across a promo of this book the day after it came out, I believe. And well, this is what sold me on it. Which is OBSCENE, but I loved it ^_^ and I immediately bought and devoured it. The only Wow Wow Wow. I did not expect this to become a new favorite, or for it to be even be that good at all. Hardly any books that sound amazing lately turn out to be anything more than forgettable garbage. That’s why I haven’t been able to finish anything in months. But this . . . was so unexpected. I came across a promo of this book the day after it came out, I believe. And well, this is what sold me on it. Which is OBSCENE, but I loved it ^_^ and I immediately bought and devoured it. The only things that could have been remedied was that the author used a good amount of . . . uncommon words. Words that I had to keep visiting the dictionary for time and time again. And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for learning new words while reading; it’s an amazing byproduct of reading and educating yourself but it gets in the way of storytelling when it gets to be more than a couple of times. Other than that, I think the only other thing I can think of is: I just wanted more sexy scenes lol. The slow-burn was top notch, some of the best I’ve ever seen but after the anticipation has built, I just wanna see a little more action ;).
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  • Timitra
    January 1, 1970
    The Lord I Left is a sensual and sexy read that deals with faith and vice. Both of the main characters, Henry and Alice come from different spectrums in so many ways especially their professions, so much so that you wouldn't think a romance between them could work, that it could be believable but it is. They complement each other on pretty much every level. I loved that and I enjoyed their journey and I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series as well as the previous The Lord I Left is a sensual and sexy read that deals with faith and vice. Both of the main characters, Henry and Alice come from different spectrums in so many ways especially their professions, so much so that you wouldn't think a romance between them could work, that it could be believable but it is. They complement each other on pretty much every level. I loved that and I enjoyed their journey and I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series as well as the previous books.Copy won in a contest hosted by author
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  • Monique
    January 1, 1970
    I'm still stunned after reading this. The writing was beautiful, but not overdone. The lines from 'The Song of Solomon' really added to the overall tone of the story. I LOVE the H/h! Alice was a creative, musical oddball, and Henry was very altruistic (in addition to being a hot, shy preacher - lol). They were real and relatable.'The Lord I Left' is the fourth book that I've read by Peckham; she has a way of creating truly unforgettable, three-dimensional characters. I'm dying to read the next I'm still stunned after reading this. The writing was beautiful, but not overdone. The lines from 'The Song of Solomon' really added to the overall tone of the story. I LOVE the H/h! Alice was a creative, musical oddball, and Henry was very altruistic (in addition to being a hot, shy preacher - lol). They were real and relatable.'The Lord I Left' is the fourth book that I've read by Peckham; she has a way of creating truly unforgettable, three-dimensional characters. I'm dying to read the next book!
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    This isn’t a proper review. I just needed to explain that, even though I’m trying not to rate books anymore now that I’m published, oh my god, this was a perfect historical romance, and I just can’t help myself. I broke my own rule. That’s how good this is.
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  • Alexa Rowan
    January 1, 1970
    Two genres that aren’t paired too often are inspirational romance and erotic romance. And yet, even though I tend to avoid inspirational romance as Not My Jam, when these two genres are combined, they can be transformed into something that works for me in a big way. (Craving Flight, I’m looking at you!)The Lord I Left does this brilliantly. Scarlett Peckham respects her characters, treating them with grace, compassion, and honesty on their individual and combined journeys of faith, love, and Two genres that aren’t paired too often are inspirational romance and erotic romance. And yet, even though I tend to avoid inspirational romance as Not My Jam, when these two genres are combined, they can be transformed into something that works for me in a big way. (Craving Flight, I’m looking at you!)The Lord I Left does this brilliantly. Scarlett Peckham respects her characters, treating them with grace, compassion, and honesty on their individual and combined journeys of faith, love, and self-acceptance. It’s fantastically tropey: opposites attract, virgin hero, snowbound, just one bed. And yet it’s also anti-tropey, subverting traditional inspirational romance themes and arcs in favor of a faith that is no less heartfelt, no less Christian for its incorporation of physical as well as religious ecstasy.
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  • Liv
    January 1, 1970
    objectively it was a good book, well-written and well-developed, and the subject was so promising, but it just didn’t click for me, i guess? it’s really an it’s-not-you-it’s-me situation, so yall shouldnt put much stock in this rating
  • Izzy
    January 1, 1970
    I’m such a sucker for finding faith via sex/intimacy. Probably because I’m not religious but this was incredible. Peckham prose is amazing.
  • Megs
    January 1, 1970
    I have adored all of the books in the series, but this is by far and away my favorite to date. I read it in one setting, and immediately connected with both characters. The (tortured) attraction and chemistry is palpable between the MCs. I’ll admit that I panicked in the first half of the book when I was sure there was no way Henry and Alice could settle their huge and fundamental differences, but the author wove a beautiful ending that was emotional, believable, and happy. I received an ARC I have adored all of the books in the series, but this is by far and away my favorite to date. I read it in one setting, and immediately connected with both characters. The (tortured) attraction and chemistry is palpable between the MCs. I’ll admit that I panicked in the first half of the book when I was sure there was no way Henry and Alice could settle their huge and fundamental differences, but the author wove a beautiful ending that was emotional, believable, and happy. I received an ARC from the author for being on her mailing list, but I’ve also preordered my own copy.
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  • Maureen Lubitz
    January 1, 1970
    The Lord I Left by Scarlett Peckham This is the third book in the Secrets of Charlotte Street series of Georgian-era historical romance novels. I was eagerly awaiting its release since I enjoyed the first two books in the series. Alice has been working as an apprentice at an exclusive London whipping house, but she aspires to a more active role at the establishment. She’s already sending all of her money home, and would not turn down any opportunity that would provide her with more income to her The Lord I Left by Scarlett Peckham This is the third book in the Secrets of Charlotte Street series of Georgian-era historical romance novels. I was eagerly awaiting its release since I enjoyed the first two books in the series. Alice has been working as an apprentice at an exclusive London whipping house, but she aspires to a more active role at the establishment. She’s already sending all of her money home, and would not turn down any opportunity that would provide her with more income to her widowed mother and sisters- who have no idea what she is actually doing in London. Speaking of which: Alice receives a letter that says her mother is very ill. It will take days for her to get home via coach, but fortunately, Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham is going to be traveling in the same direction, and Alice agrees to travel with him- only because she is desperate to see her mother before she dies. Henry is an evangelical former, who is supposed to be ridding the city of vice. He’s more interested in helping sinners reform than punishing them through legal channels, and so he is familiar with the establishment where Alice works. And now they’re traveling in a curricle together, trying to reach Alice’s house in the middle of winter. It would be a gross understatement to say that Henry has a problematic relationship with the lurid details of his work, but we’ll have to leave it at that for now. This is one of the slowest of slow burn romances, but that’s what makes it so exquisite. Henry and Alice are so wonderful together. The slow process in which these two diametrically opposed souls find common ground is a wonder to behold. Henry’s strict adherence to his faith is treated with compassion and understanding, much in the same way that Alice’s laissez-faire attitudes about morality are not scorned. Henry is legitimately afraid of going to hell because of his physical desires, and nothing will convince him otherwise. I’m making this book sound very serious, but it’s not as grave as it sounds. There are plenty of lighter moments; despite their differences, Alice and Henry have a wonderful rapport together, and their banter is top-notch. They have several interesting conversations together, and even though they don’t agree on a lot, they support each other. One of my favorite scenes occurs relatively early in the book when Henry and Alice are obligated to stop at his family’s house because of the weather, and Alice has objections to the way Henry’s father and brother treat him. I would absolutely recommend The Lord I Left. This book was pure perfection, and is easily my favorite in the series so far. Not only does this book deserve full marks, it also deserves bonus points for being a cut above the rest. I will certainly be looking out for more of Peckham’s books in the future; I’m especially looking forward to her Rakess book due out later this year. Originally posted on You Have Your Hands Full
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  • M. Nguyen
    January 1, 1970
    The Lord I Left is the 3rd book in the Secrets of Charlotte Street series by Scarlett Peckham, featuring Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham we’ve met in The Earl I Ruined and Alice Hull, the housekeeper/apprentice at the secret club (whipping house). I’ve enjoyed Ms Peckham’s beautiful writing so much from her first two books and been waiting for this one to come out. And once again, she’s swept me away with her lyrical prose and captivating story plot with forced proximity trope. She’s made me feel The Lord I Left is the 3rd book in the Secrets of Charlotte Street series by Scarlett Peckham, featuring Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham we’ve met in The Earl I Ruined and Alice Hull, the housekeeper/apprentice at the secret club (whipping house). I’ve enjoyed Ms Peckham’s beautiful writing so much from her first two books and been waiting for this one to come out. And once again, she’s swept me away with her lyrical prose and captivating story plot with forced proximity trope. She’s made me feel all the psychological tension and internal struggles within both characters🥰!Alice Hull was a petite woman with a big, bold personality and a musical talent. She always spoke her mind, with special fluency in expletives🤣. It made me laugh every time she made the too-proper Henry wince with her colorful foul language🤣. She was a brave woman, stood up for what she believed in and stayed firmly to her convictions. She expressed her sexual desires, enjoyed the physical aspects without being ashamed.Henry Evesham was an honorable minister/evangelist. His faith in God basically defined who he was. I loved the constant debates in his mind between who he truly was and who he was disciplined to become. He’d tried to live his life in self-denial without much indulgence, no meat, no alcohol, and of course no sex! You’ve got it, we have a virgin hero, who blushed easily😜! As Henry was in charge of investigating the reality of prostitution and the flesh trade in London, he came to Charlotte Street as part of his inquiring process. Having Alice show him a tour of the whipping house had caused a stir in him, something he was in a constant battle within himself and trying hard to suppress.One may argue that he was a boring character with all his prayers and preaching, but I’ve found the contrast in their life experiences and beliefs necessary to make their effort to resolve the differences more worthy. And to make their relationship work, one needed to change for the other, and who would be willing to take the sacrifice🤔?One of my favorite scenes is the forced proximity when they were stuck in the snow storm. It was so sweet and hilarious as he was trying to maintain the physical distance and she was pushing his boundaries 😂. After all, she was experienced and he was a novice, which made it all the more refreshing and fun😛. There was no BDSM element in this book, as in the first two, but we’ll get a glimpse of another activity in this house. Overall, I have enjoyed this book so much, it’s toothachingly sweet😌, funny😂, steamy🔥, swoony🥰, the character development is beautifully done, and it’ll keep you glued to the page until the end! The reappearance of the previous characters also adds to the excitement here. It’s a 5-⭐️ read for me and I can’t wait to read Mistress Elena Brearley’s story next❤️!*Special thanks to the author for sending me the ARC even though I couldn’t guess the name of her next book correctly😅.*
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  • Phoenix
    January 1, 1970
    This was the third instalment of Scarlett Peckham's series about an 18th C BDSM club and it was different then the 2 that came before it in that neither of the MCs are nobility. Instead, we get Henry Evesham, the Methodist minister who featured rather prominently in the 2nd book, which I have vague recollections of since I read it last year, and Alice, a servant/governess-in-training at 23 Charlotte St.In hindsight, I wish I'd re-read at least The Earl I Ruined to get a better sense of Henry's This was the third instalment of Scarlett Peckham's series about an 18th C BDSM club and it was different then the 2 that came before it in that neither of the MCs are nobility. Instead, we get Henry Evesham, the Methodist minister who featured rather prominently in the 2nd book, which I have vague recollections of since I read it last year, and Alice, a servant/governess-in-training at 23 Charlotte St.In hindsight, I wish I'd re-read at least The Earl I Ruined to get a better sense of Henry's evolution since I remember not liking him very much for his self-righteousness. In his story though, we get to see his true character and that he behaves the way he does because he is so tortured with what he's always believed to be sinful like the simple pleasures of enjoying a sweet. I find it funny that he's basically a super-buff virgin ginger who's channeled his improper feelings into a fitness regimen and vegetarianism. Alice is, of course, the perfect match for him and he for her. She makes him see that the whores he's condemned aren't driven to sin because they're weak but rather, because the misogynist patriarchy the live in often leaves them with no choice. She's funny for her creative swearing, and the trick that her mother played on her, letting her believe that she was on her deathbed so that she would rush home and marry the man who had taken over her father's busy was a twist that I did not see coming.He sees her, that music is her prayer, it's what gives her comfort when she is lost or sad or troubled, just as his prayer serves the same purpose for him and he gives her that comfort and recognition which is so loving.The erotic hair/foot washing sin at the end was beautiful and speaks to Henry's devoutness that his kink is related to a story in the bible because of course it is.There were definitely shades of Sierra Simone's Priest given how Henry struggles with reconciling his religion and his desires and the scene in the church where Alice plays the organ for Henry and....well, it's not nearly as sacrilegious as Father Bell and Poppy, but it's close enough given the era, and the innocence of our virgin Reverend.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham is an evangelist who has been tasked with investigating the flesh trade in London to make recommendations to the crown on new policies and laws to put a stop to vice and sin and the city. Alice Hull is a fallen woman, working for a whipping house in the city when she suddenly receives word that her mother is on her death bed. Alice must rush home to be at her side, luckily Henry is heading in the same direction and who better to save the day then the man tasked with Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham is an evangelist who has been tasked with investigating the flesh trade in London to make recommendations to the crown on new policies and laws to put a stop to vice and sin and the city. Alice Hull is a fallen woman, working for a whipping house in the city when she suddenly receives word that her mother is on her death bed. Alice must rush home to be at her side, luckily Henry is heading in the same direction and who better to save the day then the man tasked with saving her soul?Let me just say, I got the notice that my preorder was in this morning and I will confess a great deal of work was neglected today so I could read it as quickly as possible. With previous books, I've really appreciated Peckham's focus on sex positivity and kink acceptance in Victorian England when those two things were not the done thing. With the Lord I Left, she up's the ante with a deeply religious hero and a heroine involved in the sex trade. Henry's faith is a huge part of this novel, his rigid moral standards seems to conflict with his compassion and belief in salvation. He has a lot to work though and I really liked how Peckham writes about Henry's faith a great deal, without making his chapters feel preachy. She also sold me on the opposites attract trope in Alice & Henry's relationship and how, through this relationship Alice finds strength in herself and Henry learns to accept/forgive his need for love and sex. There is a lot of chemist, great sexual tension, and even after Alice and Henry reveal their feelings for one another, the conflict that keeps them apart seems very real and important. Peckham's writing is excellent and her characters are unique and well realized. I'm afraid this series will be a trilogy, but I REALLY hope we get a romance with Elena Brearley down the line.
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  • Daron
    January 1, 1970
    To say I was anxious about this book is an understatement. Henry was not exactly a likable person when he appeared previously in the series. I found him preachy and self-serving.But MAN did Scarlett Peckham redeem him. Nothing will make me love a hero more than him acknowledging his mistakes, apologizing to the heroine through meaningful deeds and proclaiming his undying devotion and love for her over and over again. I came out of this book thinking Henry was beyond previous. I adored him. The To say I was anxious about this book is an understatement. Henry was not exactly a likable person when he appeared previously in the series. I found him preachy and self-serving.But MAN did Scarlett Peckham redeem him. Nothing will make me love a hero more than him acknowledging his mistakes, apologizing to the heroine through meaningful deeds and proclaiming his undying devotion and love for her over and over again. I came out of this book thinking Henry was beyond previous. I adored him. The issue was the sheer amount of religious content in this book. Granted, you know going in that it's going to be a lot. Henry is a Methodist preacher after all and his goal in life is to try and redeem himself along with all of humanity. It's.... a lot. And Alice was a great foil for him, though at times to the detriment of her character growth. This is very much Henry's story. Part of that is because Alice has already done the work to figure out who she is and what she wants out of life. It pretty much falls on her to hold him by the hand and lead him out of this forest of guilt and confusion he's built around himself.But man, their chemistry is something else. I loved their dialogue. I loved every interaction they had because it was just so steeped in angst, but still fun. Honestly, just a chef's kiss all around.I'm not, however, a religious person, so in the end there was always going to be this barrier between me and fully appreciating Henry's journey, despite the skill with which Peckham wrote this. It's a REALLY high 3 stars, but between what I've just discussed, the hurried, saccharine end and the sex scene as coda (which seems like it's a Peckham standard at this point) I just can't find it in myself to rate it 4 stars.Still, I'm definitely going to keep reading whatever she writes next.
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant. Positively Brilliant.The Lord I Left is a glorious slow burn romance that will make you believe that it has stolen your heart, but you will in fact give it up freely. This book is the third in Scarlett Peckham’s Charlotte Street Series — Let just say, GO! GO! GO! Get your hands on the first two books, they are downright fabulous. Scarlett Peckham does an amazing job of painting scenes, where everything simply comes alive in your mind’s eye and you could swear you are reading the book Brilliant. Positively Brilliant.The Lord I Left is a glorious slow burn romance that will make you believe that it has stolen your heart, but you will in fact give it up freely. This book is the third in Scarlett Peckham’s Charlotte Street Series — Let just say, GO! GO! GO! Get your hands on the first two books, they are downright fabulous. Scarlett Peckham does an amazing job of painting scenes, where everything simply comes alive in your mind’s eye and you could swear you are reading the book with all your senses. I love her use of words that are of the time and I relished the opportunity to expand my vocabulary. While Henry and Alice might just be on opposite sides of the oldest debate, over the oldest profession, deep down, they are very much alike. Each is looking to find their way in the world while familial expectations breathe down their respective necks. It’s on a journey to get home to their families that they face challenges that was nothing short of a voyage of the damned. Alice Hull is a revelation. She is unapologetic about her pleasures and profanity. I loved her. While many brushed her aside because the sin of her gender, her musical talents were pure magic. But her wit and grace are the absolute showstoppers. Henry Evesham is a dear, sweet man with an evangelical faith that has him blinded to all that he is worthy of. He is trying to save the sinners, but in a way that subjects them to worse poverty and judgement. The beauty of this story is how Henry and Alice respect what each is hoping accomplish. Does it always go smoothly? Nope. But in their frustrations, we are rewarded with a love story for the ages.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    4.75 stars!!Scarlett Peckham you've done it again!! The Lord I Left did not disappoint and for that I am so grateful! This entire series thus far has been awesome and I love how with each book Peckham goes at it with a different angle. The Lord I Left is really Henry Evesham's book. And I was 100% okay with that. I love how much growth he had not only in this book but in the previous two as well. Honestly, I love him so much that I was literally shouting the whole time I was reading this 4.75 stars!!Scarlett Peckham you've done it again!! The Lord I Left did not disappoint and for that I am so grateful! This entire series thus far has been awesome and I love how with each book Peckham goes at it with a different angle. The Lord I Left is really Henry Evesham's book. And I was 100% okay with that. I love how much growth he had not only in this book but in the previous two as well. Honestly, I love him so much that I was literally shouting the whole time I was reading this "ALICE DON'T YOU DARE HURT HENRY!!" Peckham made a character that started out an antagonist in the first into a really sympathetic and sweet hero. There is also Alice Hull who is a maid in the Charlotte Street whipping house. Alice was a really great heroine and really suited Henry. She pushed him when she needed to but she also knew when to just be there for him. I will say what kept this from being 5 stars was the fact that the romance between Alice and Henry progresses to love very fast. And while I think that Scarlett pulled it off really well I still would have liked a bit more page time between the two to discuss what their marriage would look like and to just be together a bit more.However, all in all The Lord I Left was great and I highly recommend it! Also I cannot wait for Elena's book!!
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  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    I had high expectations due to the fact that the two previous books in the series were solid 5 star reads. This one didn't quite do it for me, but it was very well written, occasionally laugh out loud funny, and deliciously angsty during the bleak moment.The hero is an evangelical reformer and I was a bit wary of his strong religious faith. His POV is often exasperating, but I was charmed by his earnestness and goodness, and I really enjoyed seeing him undone by the heroine (by the time they're I had high expectations due to the fact that the two previous books in the series were solid 5 star reads. This one didn't quite do it for me, but it was very well written, occasionally laugh out loud funny, and deliciously angsty during the bleak moment.The hero is an evangelical reformer and I was a bit wary of his strong religious faith. His POV is often exasperating, but I was charmed by his earnestness and goodness, and I really enjoyed seeing him undone by the heroine (by the time they're huddling for warmth I was cackling with glee).The heroine's POV was hard to read in the first half of the book due to a spoiler*, but when that element of the plot changes I was able to relax a bit more. She's fun loving, swears inventively, stands up for herself and her chosen profession, and in one glorious scene stands up for the hero to his family.The reason this is a 4 star read is due to the divine providence elements of the plot, and the religious symbolism in their relationship, which just didn't work for me. Also, while it was a great bleak moment from the hero's POV, I didn't quite feel the heroine's heartbreak as much as his.*(view spoiler)[the heroine thinks her mother is dying and she is preemptively grieving. This turns out not to be true (hide spoiler)]
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  • Rhode
    January 1, 1970
    God bless Scarlett Peckham for being so uniquely herself as an author. She’s both wonderfully feminist and true to the spirit of the era she is writing about, including the discomforts of travel (open carriages in chilly winter), absurd wigs of nouveau riche men, characters singing charming lyrics of IRL songs, and women with a wide range of agency despite limited economic opportunities. Plus she included two things you rarely see in this genre, a disapproving mention (glancing but still) of the God bless Scarlett Peckham for being so uniquely herself as an author. She’s both wonderfully feminist and true to the spirit of the era she is writing about, including the discomforts of travel (open carriages in chilly winter), absurd wigs of nouveau riche men, characters singing charming lyrics of IRL songs, and women with a wide range of agency despite limited economic opportunities. Plus she included two things you rarely see in this genre, a disapproving mention (glancing but still) of the carribean slave economy and a (far lengthier) exploration of religion, faith and prayer. This is not a ‘Christian’ book but the hero is a Methodist minister and his faith is an important aspect of the plot in a way I found meaningful and lovely even though, like the heroine, I always found church IRL a bore.Plus, honestly this book is hot. The smexy scenes feel so ripe and real I almost worried about having to sleep on the wet spot. And I genuinely liked both lead characters and truly believed and rooted for their adversary-to-love progression.
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  • Brianna Harmon (Faith + Fern)
    January 1, 1970
    Note: I haven't read the two previous Charlotte Street books and still thoroughly enjoyed this one, in case you're on the fence about entering the series at an odd spot. What a delightful, addictive one-sitter. I mean: Hellllllo forbidden flame and witty debate. I appreciated the content warnings/trigger warnings but none of the material made me feel that uncomfortable. And the hot bits? HOT. RE: Henry - Once I had Sam Heughan in my head, there was no going back. Every time someone described his Note: I haven't read the two previous Charlotte Street books and still thoroughly enjoyed this one, in case you're on the fence about entering the series at an odd spot. What a delightful, addictive one-sitter. I mean: Hellllllo forbidden flame and witty debate. I appreciated the content warnings/trigger warnings but none of the material made me feel that uncomfortable. And the hot bits? HOT. RE: Henry - Once I had Sam Heughan in my head, there was no going back. Every time someone described his build and his "looks"- that's all I could imagine. And imagining Sam ain't ever a bad thing, youknowhatimsaying? He was a well developed character and, once he softened, I was hooked.RE: Alice - What a woman. She was the kind of MC I love to read about in romance. Appreciated Henry's good looks openly, craved intelligent banter, could stand on her own...I just really liked her. This is my first Peckham but I’m thinking it won’t be my last.
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  • Marie
    January 1, 1970
    Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham is a minister and is trying to get rid of the sex trade in London. When he goes to Charlotte Street where Mistress Bearly has what is called a "whipping house". It is so much more. Dreams and fantasies about your desires can be had without anyone finding out. Mistress Bearly asks Alive who is the young woman who answers the door to show him around. She is also in training. When she shows Henry Haversham around, he is OK, until he reaches a certain room and runs out Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham is a minister and is trying to get rid of the sex trade in London. When he goes to Charlotte Street where Mistress Bearly has what is called a "whipping house". It is so much more. Dreams and fantasies about your desires can be had without anyone finding out. Mistress Bearly asks Alive who is the young woman who answers the door to show him around. She is also in training. When she shows Henry Haversham around, he is OK, until he reaches a certain room and runs out of the house. Until that time he would never admit that he has desires of his own that include Alice. When Alice receives word that her mother is dying, she must go back home. It seems that Henry has the quickest vehicle there and he is going close to there to visit his father.  When Alice gets home, she has been deceived about her mother. Alice knows she can tempt him even though he denies himself the things he loves. There is deep attraction and and possibly more between them. He can write about Mistress Bearly's and maybe shut the place down or he can advocate for doctors and midwives for them. What will be do about this and what will he do about his desires and Alice? Very steamy scenes. Great reading. Great author
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this! Alice Hull (a housekeeper and apprentice in Elena Brearley's whipping house) needs to get home to her family after receiving news that her mother is ill and Henry Evesham (an evangelical Methodist who has been tasked by the House of Lords with investigating the vice trade) offers to take her since her hometown is near where his family lives.I adored Alice from the get go! While Henry at various points comes across as a bit too preachy for my taste, I suspect some of that I really enjoyed this! Alice Hull (a housekeeper and apprentice in Elena Brearley's whipping house) needs to get home to her family after receiving news that her mother is ill and Henry Evesham (an evangelical Methodist who has been tasked by the House of Lords with investigating the vice trade) offers to take her since her hometown is near where his family lives.I adored Alice from the get go! While Henry at various points comes across as a bit too preachy for my taste, I suspect some of that is by design (he is a minister by training), and partially due to my complicated feelings about Christianity (and the current UMC). I do that that he is sincere in his goals re: doing good, and that he listens to what Alice says and takes it to heart. I love that the narrative doesn't judge Alice for being sexually experienced (and that Henry's a virgin).I'm definitely looking forward to the next book in this series!
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  • Katherine Locke
    January 1, 1970
    Argh. I'm frustrated. I loved the other two books in this series a lot. But this book did not work for me. But I think the author DID do what she set out to do! It was simply too religious, too Christian for me. I did not want to participate in this narrative. I didn't feel like the author was trying to convert me Christianity thankfully but it's such a vital aspect of the romance that I couldn't really connect with the plot in any way. (For readers stumbling upon this: I'm Jewish. This isn't a Argh. I'm frustrated. I loved the other two books in this series a lot. But this book did not work for me. But I think the author DID do what she set out to do! It was simply too religious, too Christian for me. I did not want to participate in this narrative. I didn't feel like the author was trying to convert me Christianity thankfully but it's such a vital aspect of the romance that I couldn't really connect with the plot in any way. (For readers stumbling upon this: I'm Jewish. This isn't a complaint that the book is too liberal or progressive but rather that it engaged too much with Christianity at all for me to feel totally engaged and comfortable with it. There's nothing the author could have done better and still written the same book.)3/5 for me, but if you really want progressive Christian values in your historical romance, this might be a great fit for you.
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  • Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    I’m not sure if I can properly gush without giving too much away. But I will try. This is so angsty in the best of ways. Heading into this book I was uncertain because Alice was a new character (and I somehow confused this book with Elena’s story which is coming next) although we’ve seen the religious vitriol of Henry in the previous books. There were a multiple of impossible obstacles to an HEA. Even in the last pages, I was baffled as to how this would resolve itself without tossing the I’m not sure if I can properly gush without giving too much away. But I will try. This is so angsty in the best of ways. Heading into this book I was uncertain because Alice was a new character (and I somehow confused this book with Elena’s story which is coming next) although we’ve seen the religious vitriol of Henry in the previous books. There were a multiple of impossible obstacles to an HEA. Even in the last pages, I was baffled as to how this would resolve itself without tossing the convictions of either hero or heroine out the window. But the author crafted this so well that I realized in the end that the resolution was purely in line with their characters and convictions. Satisfying, albeit the end seemed a bit rushed into scene clips - the pacing was far faster than the rest of the book.Beautifully done!
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