As the sister of London’s most notorious gambling hall owner, Helena Banbury leads a surprisingly sheltered life. She spends her days bookkeeping for her brother, then stays locked away in the private quarters of the club at night. Her life is completely boring, until one night the Marquess of Westfield, Lord Robert Dennington, drunkenly wanders into her bedroom. His actions change everything, forcing Helena to leave the safety of the gambling hall, and move into the glamorous London society. Although Helena has always felt out of place in the gambling hall, she definitely doesn’t fit in with the members of high society. The only time she truly feels like she can be herself is when she’s with Robert…
This book seemed so promising to me: a smart woman from the streets having to join high society, being taught everything she needs to know from a rogue, and eventually falling in love with said rogue. Unfortunately, I just didn’t really connect with the characters or the story.
Our heroine, Helena, is meant to be confident, brave and smart. She was beaten as a child and lived on the streets for years with her brothers before they eventually created the gambling hall. I expected her to be strong and fiery and wanted to see her grapple with the sexist and snobby traditions of the upper class. Instead, she just mopes about analysing her relationship with Robert. Robert, who I didn’t find charming or worthy of romantic hero status. As this is a historical romance he, of course, must have a tragic backstory. Now normally these backstories are super dramatic and heartbreaking and explain the hero’s roguish behaviour, but Robert’s wasn’t. He basically spent the last 10+ years of his life moping and hating women because his teenage girlfriend cheated on him. Obviously it’s a horrible thing to have happen to you, but does it really excuse him neglecting his duties? The book was by no means bad (it’s Goodreads page is full of 5 star reviews), but I can’t fully enjoy a book if I don’t at least like the characters.
As you can tell from the title, this is the first book in a series. The second book follows Ryker Black, Helena’s brother. I wasn’t going to bother reading the sequel but I found Ryker to be an interesting character with a lot of potential, and decided to read it. Thankfully I enjoyed that book a lot more, and will share my review with you later this week!