Despite a dark secret and aware his father the duke will likely disinherit him for marrying below his rank, Rupert Marquis of Ranchester is nonetheless determined to wed his mistress. But Caroline Lady Somerville, an old flame of Rupert’s has returned from India a widow, and has every intention of once again leading him into vices of the flesh, gambling and the dream smoke.
Nervous but happy about imminent wedlock life becomes Hell for Estelle, when one man’s inner desires lead to blackmail, betrayal leads to revenge, and a string of murders place the duke in the frame as the killer. But what possible reason could the Duke of Leighdon have for terrorising Estelle, for killing the duchess, a portraitist, a whore and Caroline?
This is my first review gratis Suzy at Romance Reviews Magazine.
The Dark Marquis – Regency Romance & Murder Mystery Series
A well-written intelligent Regency Romance. It was a refreshing change to read a romance where the opening scene is missing the ubiquitous angst driven heroine bleating and berating the hero. Ms Howarth instead focuses reader attention with a duel at dawn and a chilling outcome. The hero survives his injury as he must for the story to continue. The death of his opponent however is totally unexpected. The action-packed start sets the pace for further macabre deaths leading to
a deeply disturbing murder mystery with several of the leading characters as the prime suspects. All have committed vile deeds in the past. Heartfelt defence put forth failed to exonerate their actions. Although the heroine [Estelle] has a feisty nature she’s loveable and vulnerable as all women were to the rules and regulations of Regency society. Mistresses within the haute ton conducted themselves in discreet manner. Mistresses from the lower order of the ton crossed the divide at their peril. Estelle has no title. Lady Caroline does. One is a lady, the other not. They both want the same man. I really did like the Marquis of Rantchester. His love for Estelle touches the heart in so many ways and I forgave him his one misdemeanour while in company with Caroline as does Estelle. He redeems himself with true heroic gallantry and the seductive Lady Caroline meets with a suitable humbling end. Without a shadow of doubt I rate this Regency Murder mystery a five star read all the way from beginning to end. The characters are strong. The plot is tightly woven. The murders are cleverly linked leading to a surprise villain. The romance is enduring. The voice of the narrative is unique
in portrayal of Regency England 1819.