Saturday, April 2, 2016

Why Lords Lose Their Hearts - Manda Collins (St Martins - Aug 2014)

Series: Wicked Widows (Book 3)

Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormonde, keeps a dangerous secret -- the truth of how her brutish husband died. But a mysterious avenger seems to know it, too, and when anonymous threats turn into public attacks, there’s only one friend she can turn to for help -- her husband’s former secretary, Lord Archer Lisle. The man who witnessed her every heartache. The kind of man whose love she can only dream of …


The youngest of the Duke of Pemberton’s five sons, Lord Archer Lisle is used to waiting his turn. For years, he could only stand by, seething, as Perdita suffered at the hands of her husband, but now she’s under threat from another source -- one who will stop at nothing to make her pay for the late duke’s death. But the good-natured Archer can be dangerous when crossed -- and he’ll do anything to keep the woman he’s adored for so long safe in his arms…

Good conclusion to the Wicked Widows trilogy. It all started with the death of Perdita's abusive husband, as he held a knife to her throat. Only Perdita, her sister Isabella, and their friend Georgina know exactly what occurred - or so they thought. In the first book, someone starts tormenting and threatening the three women, claiming to know what happened and threatening to expose them. Isabella and Georgina are saved from their stalkers with the help of the men they love, but the person behind it is still unknown.

The stalker has moved on to attacks on Perdita, and the only person she can go to for help is Lord Archer, her late husband's private secretary. Unknown to her, Archer has been in love with her for years, but had been unable to help her before. Now he is determined to keep her safe.

I really liked Archer. As the youngest in the family he learned how to read people, keep calm in chaos, and wait patiently for his chance at what he wants. I loved the way that he has been watching out for her since the trouble began. Knowing some of what she's been through, I really liked the way that Archer was sensitive to the way that he made suggestions. I also thought that he was incredibly patient with her stubbornness in dealing with the threats against her, but when it was time to take action, he did it.

I liked Perdita, too, but there were times I wanted to shake her. Because she had been in love with her husband before they married and he showed his abusive side, she now has no confidence in her ability to trust her judgement of whether someone is a good man. She is taking the time of being unmarried again to try to develop some confidence in herself again. She is considering the idea of marrying again, but refuses to allow herself to fall in love with any man,  sure that it would impair her judgement once again. 

I enjoyed the development of their relationship. Archer finally made his interest in Perdita clear to her. Perdita finally admitted her attraction to him, but refuses to consider being anything other than lovers. Of course, Archer wants more, but has the sense and patience to try to bring her to his way of thinking. Their physical relationship was great, with plenty of heat, but also some fun. I did get frustrated with the way she would frequently push him away. Fortunately, she does start to believe that she can have it all, thanks to an unexpected conversation with Archer's mother.

The suspense of the story, as it continued from the previous two books was really good. I could definitely feel the creep factor several incidents portraying her as a murderer occurred. When the attacks turned physical, the intensity increased, especially as Perdita resisted all suggestions for her safety. Even when Archer took her to the safest place he could think of, trouble still found them. As this book went on I had a couple of suspicions of who the bad guy was, but it wasn't obvious who it would really be. My initial suspicion turned out to be right, but the reason behind it was completely unexpected and definitely high up in the ick factor. There was an interesting twist at the end regarding Gervase's death.

I liked seeing the couples from the first two books and how their involvement continued in this one. As all three women had previously been victims of abusive husbands, it was lovely to see them with men who loved them. I really liked the way that Isabella and Georgina didn't hesitate to tell Perdita when they thought she was wrong, and I loved their part in getting her to safety. 

I also loved seeing Archer's family. His parents were great. I really liked how they obviously cared about their boys. I loved the part where his mom asked Perdita her intentions toward Archer. His brothers were also terrific. There was plenty of sibling rivalry and teasing, but when the chips were down, their support was instant and complete. As they are all unmarried, I hope to see them getting books of their own.

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